The eCommerce wars are heating up and definitely worth keeping an eye on. But you’ll need to pay close attention because it’s complicated.

First, let’s break it down in general terms. Over the last six months several things have happened:

  •         Several major online retailers have upped the ante by changing the ecommerce platforms they use to support others and expand their marketplaces.
  •         Big companies from social media and search are aggressively expanding their ability to support third party online shopping.
  •         Buy buttons are being added to websites and social platforms to enable consumers the direct ability to buy products.
  •         eCommerce platform providers whose services are deployed as software as a service (SaaS) are gaining in popularity and gaining endorsements from the biggest ecommerce players.

Now let’s get into a few of the specifics:

Amazon and Shopify: Last week Amazon announced it would be supporting Shopify’s ecommerce platform allowing the Shopify merchant to more easily add their products to the Amazon marketplace. As Amazon prepares to shut down its Amazon Webstore technology platform next year, the online retail giant is working to help migrate merchants to Shopify’s ecommerce platform. The two companies have been working together to create migration tools so that merchants who want to move to Shopify won’t have to do things such as  recreate their product catalogs or rewrite product descriptions.

Shopify, Facebook, Instagram,Pinterest: In June Pinterest introduced “buyable” pins on the same day that Facebook-owned Instagram announced plans to roll out a Buy button. Facebook first revealed it was experimenting with Shops in Facebook pages, enabling brands to transact e-commerce directly from the Facebook platform, back in July.The new Shop section builds on Facebook’s previous introduction of a “buy” button by giving products their own section on the vendor’s main page, adding product discovery for a more complete shopping experience. Shopify just added a “Buy Button” functionality making it even easier for any kind of website to easily offer products for sale from any platform: WordPress, WIX and more.

Facebook is also testing a new mobile ad format that allows users to interact with several layers of advertiser content without leaving Facebook’s app; demo versions of the new ad showed users engaging with in-depth product profiles.

The Rise of the Buy button: Those announcements came on the heels of Google announcing plans in July to let shoppers buy directly from a Buy button on search ads displayed on smartphones.

Twitter, Tumblr and Wanelo have also introduced Buy buttons in recent months.. After a limited test period beginning last September, Twitter is also rolling out its new “Buy” buttons more widely through a partnership with Shopify, as well as other ecommerce platforms.

Shopify Growth

Shopify, which is based in Canada and went public in May, reported in July that revenue grew 89% year over year and that 175,000 merchants use its services, which include payment processing through Stripe. Six of the e retailers ranked in Internet Retailer’s Top 500 and Second 500 Guide say they use Shopify’s services.

And don’t forget Bigcommerce. Bigcommerce has introduced an Enterprise Solution which is catching the eye of mid-size merchants as a replacement to Magento.

All of this means we are in exciting times in the eCommerce retail sales channel with merchants having more solutions than ever before.