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Retailers can stand up to Amazon

My wife loves Amazon.

Doorbell rings it’s another Amazon delivery.

What is it this time? Hand towels? Dish washing-liquid? Groceries?

Personally, I only use Amazon for products I can’t find in local stores.

Yet my wife is not alone. Every day Amazon processes more than 20 million orders – from computers to cucumbers. Many of these items can be delivered to your door by Amazon within a few hours.

Some predict this trend spells doom for brick-and-mortar stores.

Don’t believe the hype.

Amazon’s growth is impressive, but it’s not the be-all and end-all when it comes to retail sales.

To survive brick-and-mortar retailers shouldn’t panic. They need to get smart.

As a brick-and-mortar retailer, what can you offer that Amazon can’t?

  • Seeing is believing. Amazon’s online catalog and customer reviews are very good. But nothing beats being able to see and touch the product. How big is it? How durable? Many people have questions and they would love to get immediate answers from a real person who is knowledgeable about your products. Sure, some people will visit your store to see an item and then order it from Amazon. But what if your business offered a slightly better price, or some other extra to enhance the sale. In many cases Amazon can deliver products within a few hours, but nothing beats the instant gratification of being able to take the product with you from a brick and mortar store.
  • Service, service, service. Try calling Amazon. It’s not easy to find their number. When you call, I hope you like talking to computers and getting transferred from this one to that one. As a brick-and-mortar retailer you can bring in customers and keep them coming back by making your shop welcoming and fun to visit. Your team members should be knowledgeable and friendly. Be willing to do whatever it takes to keep customers satisfied. And you should be collecting the e-mail addresses of customers, so you can keep them looped into special offers. Hope your store is playing Christmas music and you’re offering complimentary eggnog, cider and candy canes.
  • Amazon doesn’t carry everything. You should be looking out for unique products in your field. Who are the makers and innovators in your community developing? Those makers are looking for a marketplace to debut their products. Why can’t it be your shop? Imagine the success experienced by the first Model T Ford dealer!

Amazon is here to stay. If you’re smart, your small business can be here to stay, too.

Encourage your customers and friends to #ShopSmall by clicking here to view and share this video celebrating Central Florida’s small businesses.


David D. Porter leads David Porter Communications Inc., an Orlando-based firm offering a wide variety of communications and marketing services to small businesses.