Fighting Amazon; What Small E-Commerce Providers Are Doing?

January 21, 2012


In my last posting, "Amazon and the Small Retailer" I wrote about the challenges being faced by small ecommerce providers. They fight a similar fight with Amazon that bricks and mortar specialty retailers fight with Wal-Mart. Might there be a commonality of interests between the two channels of trade? Shouldn't they be talking to each other?

According to The New York Times, small ecommerce providers feel overwhelmed by Amazon and its ability to provide apps, deep discounts and free shipping. In fact, sometimes Amazon prices below cost. Sound familiar?

In a time when many bricks and mortar providers are opening ecommerce sites, it may be time to take a look at how internet and bricks and mortar companies see each other. Perhaps it's time for more cooperation and coordination.

In order to help move the dialogue forward I have listed some of the things that, according to The New York Times article, "Rooting for the Little Guy," small ecommerce and hybrid retailers are doing to fight back against Amazon. Some are familiar, some may not be so:

Some small ecommerce providers are refusing to carry products that are carried by Amazon. They just don't want to be embarrassed (sound familiar?).
Others are asking for different brand names to be put on products in order to foil apps that do pricing comparisons.
•One retailer, Lesley Tweedie, that she has started a "Buy It Where You Try It" campaign to foil those who use her store as a showroom for internet shopping.
•I found it interesting that "Powell's Books offers a subscription service through which it chooses a new book and includes an extra item like a related book or candy - personalized touches that it says big sites can't match."
•And how about, a website that features independent stores of all types; kind of a virtual mall.

If you are a bricks and mortar retailer, tell us how you feel about your ecommerce competition. Are you sympathetic to the smaller guys? If you are a small ecommerce provider, how do you feel about bricks and mortar specialty retailers; are they friend or foe?