Ecommerce sales in the USA were an estimated $450 billion in 2017, and that amount is expected to rise to more than £500 billion in 2018. The traditional retail sector would dream of that kind of growth, and clearly online is the place to be.

Nobody knows that better than Square Inc. Last week, the company announced its intention to purchase website builder Weebly for $365 million. This is just the latest in a series of acquisitions by the company that is best known for its online payment solutions, and provides further confirmation of what most commentators intuitively knew – the ecommerce landscape is becoming increasingly competitive as the sector continues to grow year on year.

For those who operate within, or are considering entering, the ecommerce market, it makes it more important than ever to choose the right platform and get the most effective infrastructure in place from the start.

The perfect time to start selling online

If you have a small business and you are not selling online, it makes sense on every level to develop an ecommerce strategy and get started sooner rather than later. The news that Square Inc is entering the fray with the acquisition of Weebly makes this an even better time to get started. The first step to building an ecommerce presence is to have the right platform in place, and if you look at this independent assessment of the best 10 website builders, you will see Weebly is right there in the mix.

Square has stated that it’s strategy is to provide a “cohesive solution to small businesses looking to combine online and offline sales.” That sounds like a strategy that will appeal to any fledgling ecommerce enterprise, and you can bet that the other providers will be looking closely at what Square has to offer. Increased competition by suppliers can only mean good news for buyers looking to get the best possible deal.

Factors to consider

It is important to bear in mind that your website building needs are very different when you are contemplating an ecommerce site compared to a basic website. Of course, any site can be developed to support ecommerce activities, but when you are starting from a clean sheet, it is worth looking at a website builder that is specifically tailored for ecommerce.

Clearly, this will put Weebly close to the top of your list, but it is also worth contemplating something like Shopify, particularly if ecommerce is going to be the primary function of your site – it is highly scalable, and has a sliding scale of charges. But on the other hand, blogging functionality is not so strong.

Ultimately, you need to weigh the usual factors when choosing the right platform. These will include cost, ease of use, scalability, design themes and mobile friendliness. The good news is that with new players like Square entering the market, the various suppliers will be falling over one another to offer better deals that tick all the boxes.