Amazon is still looking to sell more than any other retailer in the oncoming holiday season. It’s old news, but mom and pop stores, even brick and mortar stores in general are suffering more than ever. If you’re an Amazon service subscriber, be it Prime or simply made a purchase within the year 2011, it’s likely that you received a promotional email informing you to download and take your new Amazon app into brick and mortar stores to scan codes and check prices. This new app usage also gives users 5 percent off of their next online purchase. Richard Russo summed up these sentiments in his 2011 op-ed for The New York Times :“People have to understand that their short-term decision to save a couple bucks undermines their long-term interest in their community and vital, real-life literary culture.”
This business idea, removing brick and mortar shops from the buyer-seller equation has been described as scorched earth capitalism. Despite the convenience of online selling there does seem to be something more sinister at work here. Let’s keep in mind that this promotion took place in 2011. So how do businesses compete with an entity like Amazon in 2015?
Building a website and creating content is part of making a micro niche. You can sell car parts online but buyers will only know you for the amount of knowledge and care you put into writing about it. You should always have a blog to update what’s happening with the business so that news is funneled to the readership or possible consumers. Not only will you be creating a micro-niche, you’ll be the “go to” when consumers need knowledge on the industry as a whole.
Shopping as an Experience
There’s one thing key thing missing from the Amazon website: the experience. There’s plenty of convenience, sure; however, they aren’t making the customer feel like they’re a part of something larger.
Despite Amazon consuming a large amount of online business, Tasting Room has been offering an online experience for wine connoisseurs to choose monthly wines in styles they like, based on a palette test. You can customize the order size, and even down to the red/white wine combination. Furthermore, you are rating every bottle you receive and this feedback is helping pick next months order. As it only costs ten dollars to join, it’s sure that wine enthusiasts are going to enjoy this service, as it has already been doing quite well. This is an ongoing experience that is giving other wine sellers and distributors a run for their money.
Stock a Superior Product
For some reason, Amazon isn’t always the one supplying the best and cheapest product, and this is really their downfall. A certain underwear provider has developed an excellent marketing campaign that combines the kind of experience mentioned prior, but also uses an extra soft fabric that when compared to the Amazon selection, is not only cheaper but better-quality. How is this possible? Amazon simply doesn’t have the capacity to beat out every micro-niche yet.
As described previously there are simply too many niches for Amazon to cover all the bases. Companies like Tasting Room have found a loophole in the e-commerce vacuum, or maybe a hole in the very fabric of e-commerce space. Simply offering something new that Amazon doesn’t have the ability to provide is enough now. An underwear company providing modal fabric works is also going to shine through when Amazon simply cannot foresee a demand for such products.
Support Healthy Employment
Happy employees are the key to a successful business, enough said. If your employees feel demeaned or taken advantage of their time may be spent looking for an escape route rather than produces quality work. Small company lifestyles can provide in ways that many monolithic companies cannot. If you’re a small business take the extra steps to provide workplace wellness where possible.
While Amazon isn’t the be all end all of shopping online, it certainly has it’s share of conveniences. Many small businesses have things to offer that this giant does not. By focusing on that there will be plenty of opportunities for entrepreneurs to find their specialty and gravitate toward it. Hats off to you small business, may 2015 be the holiday season you wished for!