Web.com today announced a new eCommerce platform meant to give SMBs a single source to manage online sales as a component of their overall website mix. This represents an ongoing trend to expand web service bundles to all corners of online presence and promotion.
But before going into the strategic angle for Web.com and its owner Newfold Digital, what’s the new eCommerce platform all about? It features store building and management – including all the trappings of web.com’s drag-and-drop website builder – as well as tie-ins to other key website functions.
For example, the platform integrates with SMBs’ social media channels to promote and send traffic back to a given online store. Beyond front-end features like storefronts and social marketing, the platform comes with features to manage order fulfillment such as payment processing and shipping.
“eCommerce comes with a lot of moving parts, Newfold Digital CEO Sharon Rowlands tells Localogy Insider,” and side hustlers and small businesses want a one-stop platform to manage everything.”
Time and Focus
Going deeper on the platform, the key terms above are “one-stop-shop” and “drag-and-drop.” Everything is built around those design targets. This includes a fast and intuitive way to launch an online store, including product display, images, pricing and all the back-end stuff noted above.
Additionally, it offers an “online marketplace manager” which lets merchants amplify their reach beyond their own website. It lets them establish and manage their presence across popular eCommerce destinations and marketplaces including Amazon, eBay, Etsy. So it’s more bang for their buck.
For example, merchants can list new products and update listings without having to log into each marketplace separately. And an “automated inventory sync” feature lets them update quantities, attributes and prices in one place, which will then propagate across third-party marketplaces.
Stepping back, the whole point is to hit the main target when it comes to SMB digital marketing: saving time. They’re too busy being chefs, roofers and dentists to also handle onerous digital marketing and eCommerce management. So saving them time and focus is the name of the game.
“Web.com’s new eCommerce plans simplify online store building and management with a powerful toolset for beginners and advanced users looking to grow,” said Rowlands. “With features like an intuitive drag-and-drop builder to selling on the most popular marketplace and social media platforms, Web.com’s platform saves online sellers time, so they can focus more on growing their business.”
Back to the strategic angle for Web.com and its owner Newfold Digital, this is just the latest in a string of feature expansions to create a more comprehensive set of website services. As we’ve examined, the name of the game in the website world is to offer a one-stop-shop for website-adjacent functions.
There are a few reasons things have gone in this direction in the past few years, leading to lots of M&A activity as companies build and buy their way towards greater bundles. One fundamental driver is greater revenue per user and lifetime value, given a broader range of interlocking parts.
Beyond unit economics, a broader bundle can also boost retention rates. In addition to websites, a wider range of services – everything from eCommerce to CRM – anchors a given website provider in an SMBs’ operational functionality. These things have considerable switching costs for any business.
But another reason has to do with competitive dynamics in the website world. The sector has experienced race-to-the-bottom competitive pricing for core revenue streams like hosting. So those have been positioned as the tip of the spear that leads to a wider range of higher-margin products.
We’ll continue so see lots of buying and building to make this happen, especially from Newfold Digital, which is in the midst of quite a power play. In fact, today’s move follows its acquisition of WordPress and WooCommerce powerhouse YITH, which similarly deepens its positioning in eCommerce.
We’ll get to unpack all of the above next week on stage with Newfold Digital at Localogy 2022. Hope to see you there.