Is Amazon really hurting small business?
We’ve been hearing talk for years about how Amazon is hurting small business as the online retail giant continues to grow. It now seems you can get just about anything on Amazon.com, including some prescription medications.
The question becomes, however, is it all as big of a deal as people think?
We’ve written before about how businesses of various sizes are trying to stay competitive with Amazon and we want to provide a few additional thoughts and share some of the latest research on the topic.
As Amazon expands into a growing number of industries including grocery and prescriptions, more and more industries are having to consider how they will respond to the “Amazon Effect.” In a recent article on BusinessInsider.com, Amazon is being credited with forcing changes in 10 industries. Those industries have either suffered or have been forced to change to stay in the proverbial game.
We believe this phenomenon will continue as Amazon dips into more industries. However, that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Even general industries such as manufacturing have made changes to how they operate to stay ahead of the e-commerce game.
At On Time Logistics, we’ve adapted to various outside forces that drastically affected how we do business. In the more than 11 years that we’ve been in business, we’ve changed business operations, added services, stopped offering services that were no longer necessary, and made other changes in how we do things in an effort to remain relevant. Many of our changes, including our recent rapid growth, has been due to the rise of e-commerce, including Amazon.com and Walmart.com.
While many small businesses have also been forced to either close or adapt to stay in business in the age of e-commerce, we are realizing that is not necessarily a bad thing. It’s actually given ways for new companies, new services, and new methods to come about that allows new small businesses to emerge.
Take, for example, Shopify, which is creating technology solutions for businesses as the retailers try to find other ways to compete with Amazon. According to this recent MarketWatch article, other companies are finding ways to help small companies compete by providing affordable tech solutions.
“I think it can become real in the next five years that smaller companies can compete with Amazon. The industry fully understands what an Amazon-driven environment looks like and Amazon will get a counterpunch or a counterpunch by a thousand cuts from the community,” said Tom Bonney, senior managing director at CBIZ CMF, in the article.
Finally, we want to draw your attention to recent studies that have examined how the Amazon Effect is affecting small businesses. According to the studies, the effect has not been as damaging as was once thought. For example, a growing number of small companies are becoming resellers on Amazon.com. They are not only still in business, but they are thriving (anyone order an InstaPot recently?).
Also, as Amazon is now the “big box store” of the internet, small, niche specialty stores are making a comeback. Small companies that can provide something unique and a valuable customer experience that cannot be matched by even the quickest delivery are becoming popular again.
So, it does seem like industries and individual businesses will continue to be affected by Amazon. But if companies are willing to adapt to the changing market, they can continue to thrive. Just ask any business that has been operating in some capacity for 30, 40, 50, or even 100 years.