Competition in the Small Business E-Commerce Spa

I have been away from the board for a while because of dealing with my aging parents. Time away usually cause me to step back and ask myself some big picture questions about industry segments in which I invest.

I have stumbled in past investment thesis when I just paid attention to daily news and quarterly results. As I was doing catchup reading of recent events a few thing caught my attention that I have not seen the members here discuss. I like many of you have investments in fast growing companies that serve the small and medium business e-commerce companies. Some of you guys may think this is irrelevant others may think it is worth paying attention to. As it develops, it could have an impact on growth rates.

The acquisition of Weebly by Square, Amazon introducing a payment system, Shopify’s payments intentions are triggering macro level questions and thoughts about where competition is heading for companies vying to be the business systems provider to small and medium businesses. By business system provider I mean the provider of multi channel customer contact management, order processing, order fulfillment, payments, business management, inventory management, business analytics, logistics of shipping, financing, etc.
Allowing SMB’s to focus on core business without dealing with the capex and human resource requirements of sophisticated IT systems can make many more successful.

IMHO, companies that simplify, consolidates, and economizes these functions will be the leaders and survivors.

with all that said are we looking at Amazon, Shopify, Square, and others going head to head to be the single end to end system provider for the SMB market.

Has Amazon looked at the success of Shopify and said we better not let them do to us what Bill Gates did to IBM? Are they rethinking referring SMB customers to Shopify? Are they on a path to getting a Square like payment system and then roll out a Shopify like application through AWS and couple it with their best in class logistic system. Where are they headed with SMB financing?

Is Square looking to Weebly to have a Shopify like suite of applications and multimedia presence to couple with their well established payment systems, growing SMB finance options. Where are they headed on logistics, warehousing, shipping, ect.

How does Shopify create or leverage payments, business analytics, etc?

The questions go on and on. Who else is lurking?

I realize much of this is unknowable and not actionable in the next few weeks or the next few quarters. However, starting to think about it now will better prepare us to make informed decisions before we see a large percentage drop after an earnings call and guidance session.

I will steal lines from Tinker and Mike Myers “Coffee talk” - discuss.