There is big news coming from two major companies that provide services to small businesses that sell products online. Shares in Shopify (that powers ecommerce and offline point-of-sale transactions for both large and small companies) have been met with enthusiasm by investors since the company went public earlier today on the NYSE.

And yesterday, Matt Mullenberg, the founder of Automattic, the company behind the open source content management system (CMS)* WordPress, announced (not surprisingly, on his blog) that Automattic has purchased WooCommerce, an ecommerce “plugin” that powers an estimated 650,000 storefronts for independent sellers. (The co-founders of WooCommerce also blogged the announcement here and here.)

“We’ve watched and engaged with massive eCommerce, payment and tech companies – as well as venture capitalists – on an ever-changing backdrop of significant IPO and acquisition announcements, strategic partnerships and tech investments in competitors and allies. It’s an exciting jungle out there,” wrote one of the co-founders Mark Forrester.

Ecommerce solutions for small businesses are viewed as a big growth opportunity since most small companies–even successful bricks-and-mortar retailers–have not added ecommerce to their business model. In an international study commissioned by MasterCard, while nearly 90% of small and mid-sized merchants have some type of online presence, only 20% have ecommerce capabilities.

With more-and-more people shopping online, especially via mobile device, standing on the sidelines of ecommerce is no longer an option–no matter how small you may think you are.

(Look for more coverage of ecommerce options for small businesses in the coming days.)

*WordPress started as a “blogging” software, but during the past decade has evolved into a robust content management system that powers major websites like CNN.com and, come to think of it, SmallBusiness.com.

(Image: Ma.tt)