Amazon on Tuesday confirmed that it has acquired Australian small-business platform Selz, saying in an emailed statement, "We're excited Selz joined Amazon to continue its mission of supporting small businesses and delighting customers." An Amazon spokesperson didn't respond to questions about the purchase price or other terms.
The company's founder also announced the deal in a company blog post dated a month ago. Selz is "not taking new sign-ups at this time," according to a banner featured on its website Tuesday and Wednesday.
Nothing will change for merchants using the Selz platform, or for their customers, according to an Amazon spokesperson, who followed up after an inquiry emailed to Selz.
Amazon has apparently changed its mind about selling multichannel services for small and medium businesses, an area it abandoned more than five years ago.
At the time, that left Shopify and others to meet what in 2020 became an especially pressing demand, a user-friendly way for smaller businesses to enter or add e-commerce. Online sales have surged during the pandemic and have become an essential channel even for small, local chains, and mom and pops that normally stick to selling through brick-and-mortar stores.
More than half the goods sold via Amazon are from its third-party marketplace sellers, but third-party digital storefronts are only found on Amazon, and not all sellers have one.
Climbing back into the multi-channel business was probably easiest done via acquisition, and, having raised just $11 million so far and in need of distribution, Australian startup Selz was an easy target for the e-commerce behemoth, according to Rick Watson, founder and CEO of RMW Commerce Consulting.
Selz's notice that it won't take new sign-ups could mean that new digital storefronts will only be found on Amazon, and the Selz brand could disappear if the move is intended to poach Selz's expertise, Watson said.
But it's "likely Amazon saw Selz as a viable way to enter the market faster," Watson said by email, adding that most cloud-based e-commerce tech isn't unique any longer. The "special sauce," as Amazon sees it, "could be the combination of this cloud eCommerce platform with either its marketplace, or advertising and fulfillment offerings — or all 3!"