Is Amazon Actually Hurting Small Business? Perhaps Not.

Amazon There's no denying that the online retail giant has altered much of the way we go about our lives, between shopping and having our goods get to us in 2 days, or [easyazon_link identifier="B06XCM9LJ4" locale="US" tag="scriptnotes00-20" localize="y"]having an intelligent assistant[/easyazon_link] provide us the latest news and information.  Lately, Amazon has been receiving grief for the downfall of many of America's retailers, with the latest being Toys R Us.  However, a new survey shows that many small businesses are utilizing the Amazon platform to sell their goods and services, and feel the company has actually aided their sales.

More than two-thirds have been helped

More than two-thirds (68%) of small business owners that sell a product online say that Amazon has positively impacted their sales, according to a poll of more than 2,400 business owners conducted by Insureon and online small business directory Manta.  However the remaining 32% said the online leader led to a negative effect on sales.

Other Highlights:

  • Of the small businesses that sell products online, 24% use Amazon as a sales channel.
  • The only other company that broke double digits was eBay at 22% while the majority of retailers (66%) reported using their own website.
  • 81% of the retailers that do sell online reported at least a moderate increase in revenue.
  • 43% of small businesses selling online said they have "experienced significant revenue growth," while 38% experienced a moderate revenue increase.
  • Only 19% said they did not experience any change.

Is stagnation to blame?

As Motley Fool argues:

Amazon has advantages in pricing and scale. A small business probably can't afford to be a technology innovator when it comes to delivery. It also can't, in many cases, purchase goods from vendors at the same prices its larger rivals do.

That's why small businesses need to differentiate in other ways in order to compete. That may mean offering better customer service or serving a niche that's not well-served by Amazon or any of the bigger players. In some cases, a small business can thrive based on building customer relationships and providing an attention to detail Amazon can't hope to achieve.

What a small business can't do is expect to operate as it always has and be successful. That type of thinking has brought down many large retailers.

It's easy to blame Amazon for the so-called retail apocalypse in the same way malls were blamed for the death of downtown areas. In reality, the online leader is just the current threat to business as usual. Companies that adapt can not just survive, but thrive.

What do you think readers?  Are retailers just not changing their status quo?  Feel free to leave a comment below!