Amazon has long been viewed by many in the small business world as an industry killer. To its supporters, on the other hand, the online juggernaut is merely an unstoppable innovator giving consumers what they really want.
Perhaps the truth lies somewhere in the middle. Amazon’s Small Business Impact Report asserted that the company so many people love to hate actually created more than 900,000 jobs for small- and medium-sized businesses in 2017. And more than 20,000 of those businesses topped $1 million in sales using Amazon last year.
As part of their small business initiatives, Amazon has launched a new portal dubbed Storefronts. As reported by TechCrunch.com, Storefronts is designed to celebrate the mom-and-pop shops that account for half of all sales on the website.
It should be noted that Storefronts isn’t going to benefit everyone right away. Amazon has chosen 20,000 merchants to participate in the early going. Later, it will expand to the other 300,000 American small businesses that sell on their platform. It will also expand to other countries, whereas this first batch of small businesses is all domestically based.
Many in the industry see Storefronts as a way for Amazon to lure more merchants away from other marketplaces like eBay. The chief way it could accomplish this is by bringing unique personality to the sometimes stale world of ecommerce. For example, participating small businesses will be profiled with engaging videos, so potential customers can get to know the owner and see a selection of their products.
“Amazon first invited businesses to sell on Amazon nearly two decades ago, and today, small and medium-sized businesses are a vital part of Amazon’s large selection and commitment to customers,” said Nicholas Denissen, VP for Amazon in a released statement. “We’re championing their success with this new store and a national advertising campaign featuring a successful Michigan business selling on Amazon to customers across the U.S. and worldwide.”
Beyond the aforementioned profiles, Storefronts also offers customers a more curated shopping experience. So instead of simply browsing categories like Halloween, Back to School, Kitchen, Pet Supplies, or Books, you can shop using themes like “family-focused businesses,” “women-owned businesses,” or “artisans.“
How Storefronts ultimately affects the mom-and-pops of the world is yet to be seen, but for the time being, it appears to be a step in the right direction. After all, small businesses often stand to benefit when they strategically partner with the mighty market share of Amazon.