Amazon has taken its fair share of criticism for impacting negatively on small business. Amazon has been blamed for causing small businesses – especially intermediary suppliers who don’t make a product of their own – to go out of business. Now, Amazon has introduced its own version of a row of charming boutique shops – Amazon Storefront.
The concept is relatively straightforward, Storefront allows customers to buy from small businesses and artisans, and get to know the business owners and creators more intimately. From the business’s point of view, it is a way to compete on a more level playing field, rather than being forced to fight on the main Amazon site.
Storefront has a different “feel,” to the main site. There are numerous categories, such as pet supplies, toys and Halloween. There is also a section for business owners to tell their stories, and features on certain businesses and industries. In fact, the new site is more like Etsy than Amazon, and that is obviously what the point was; creating a clear differentiator from the traditional Amazon “search engine for products,” offering.
This will give small business owners confidence. Storefront will open the doors to numerous marketing opportunities, and no doubt create an ecosystem all of its own. With small business owners being able to compete with each other, the financial barriers to entry should be reduced, and a positive, inclusive environment should be created. However, it should be noted that Amazon hasn’t mentioned how they will ensure larger suppliers don’t hack the system by posing as smaller businesses, or how the community itself will be policed. Regardless, this is a positive step from Amazon and one that will be well received, both by small business owners and customers.