Amazon’s Webstore Shutting Down

Amazon is telling online-merchant customers that it will shut down its Amazon Webstore service on July 1, 2016, eCommerce newsletter Tamebay reported on Thursday (March 19).

The Webstore platform, which enables retailers to create and run online shops with a minimal amount of technical complications, was already rumored to be informing merchants that they should make other plans according to multiple news reports on Wednesday, although the Amazon Webstore home page was still offering new customers a 30-day free trial.

But by Thursday, a notice at the top of that page read: “The Amazon Webstore service, an eCommerce solution to build your own standalone website, is no longer available to new sellers,” and Tamebay reported that some sellers had received letters from Amazon confirming the shutdown.

“We are writing to let you know that, effective July 1, 2016, we will discontinue the Amazon Webstore service,” the letters reportedly read. “Your ability to sell on and your Selling on Amazon account will not be impacted by this change. We realize your own website is important to your business. We will support the Webstore service until July 1, 2016 to give you 15 months to prepare for the change. Please make sure you secure all relevant data from your Webstore by July 1, 2016, as you will not have access to Amazon Webstore content or features after this date. Amazon Webstore’s data export features can be used for this purpose as you migrate to a new platform. You can find more information about what steps to take to properly export your data and close your Webstore account here.”

Amazon ended support for the service in Germany in 2014, Tamebay reported.

While the Webstore platform is designed for small merchants, at least a few larger retailers use it for some of their eCommerce operations, Internet Retailer reported, adding that ChannelAdvisor CEO Scot Wingo said Amazon apparently began notifying customers of Webstore’s demise on Wednesday. “We have about 100 customers that utilize the Amazon storefront technology,” Wingo said. “We are working with them to find new solutions.”

Amazon has steadily been shifting away from being a passive eCommerce service provider for other retailers to taking a larger role in — and a larger cut of — their business. Amazon is also increasingly dependent on its Prime membership service to make its business profitable.