Is Amazon Good or Bad For Small Businesses?

Either way, users are liking that Price Check app

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Is Amazon Good or Bad For Small Businesses?
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Amazon has pissed off a lot of small businesses. I’m not even going to get into all of the Internet tax stuff, but earlier this month, the company launched an app. The app is called Price Check, and it allows users to go into a store, scan a product, find it for a cheaper price through Amazon, and purchase it immediately. Oh, and Amazon gave users discounts of up to 5% when using the app on some items last weekend.

Brick and mortars were and continue to be furious, but Amazon maintains it actually helps small businesses.

The categories available within Price Check include: Books, Textbooks, Movies, Music, Video Games, CDs, Electronics, Home & Garden, Automotive, Baby, Beauty, Camera & Photo, Cell Phone & Services, Clothing, Computers, Grocery, Health & Personal Care, Home Improvement, Industrial & Scientific, Jewelry, Kindle, Kitchen & Dining, Magazines, Music Instruments, Office Products, Patio & Garden, Shoes, Software, Sports & Outdoors, Video, & Watches.

User reviews in the Android Market are pretty positive. The average rating is 4.3 out of 5. At the time of this writing, it has 120 5-star reviews, 32 4-star reviews, 15 3-star reviews, 9 2-star reviews and 8 1-star reviews.

Here’s a sampling of what people who have rated it 5 stars had to say:


A very simple and easy UI. Allows you to make quick comparisons, so you can make the best decisions when out shopping.

Love this. Love Amazon! What more is there to say, it’s Amazon.

Awesome app. Works great.

Will definitely find a better price.

Here’s a sampling from the 1-star and 2-star reviews:

This doesn’t benefit the user any more than any barcode scanner. All it does is turn users into tools of amazon researchers.

Everything it does, the original Amazon app does as well, including barcode & camera search, and wishlist & account management. Completely redundant.

I hate the limited interface. I am used to reading reviews and comparing similar products. This app feels like a small prison. The bar code scanner is waaaaaay too finicky, unlike other android scanner apps. Overall 2 stars rating from me.

Some other ones indicate there are bugs and crashes.

Again, however, the majority seem to be pretty pleased with it. And why not? Really, what’s not to like from the user perspective? Especially in this economy. Consumers want to save a buck wherever they can.

But that doesn’t mean small businesses are pleased. There has been outcry about this from businesses since it was introduced.

Republican Senator Olympia Snowe, recently spoke out about the app in favor of small business’. She is quoted by Bloomberg BusinessWeek: “Amazon’s promotion — paying consumers to visit small businesses and leave empty-handed — is an attack on Main Street businesses that employ workers in our communities. Small businesses are fighting everyday to compete with giant retailers, such as Amazon, and incentivizing consumers to spy on local shops is a bridge too far.”

As previously reported, the Retail Industry Leaders Association’s VP of public affairs, Katherine Lugar, said:

“Retailers compete on price 365 days a year, and at no time is that competition hotter than during the make-or-break holiday shopping season. However, by continuing to evade collecting state sales taxes, Amazon’s exploitation of a pre-Internet tax loophole is resulting in a 6-10 percent perceived price advantage over their competitors on Main Street.”

“Amazon’s aggressive promotion of its Price Check App shows the lengths they are willing to go to exploit this tax loophole, and is a stark reminder of why Congress needs to act to protect retailers on Main Street. A failure to act is an implicit endorsement of a subsidy of Amazon, a subsidy that distorts the free market and puts jobs on Main Street at risk.”

“Main Street retailers have been forced to compete on an uneven playing field for too long. Retailers cannot afford another holiday season where they are forced to compete on an uneven playing field.”

Obviously, Amazon doesn’t think it deserves all of this harsh criticism. The New York Times shared a statement from Amazon spokeswoman Sally Fouts this week, who said the controversial app was “primarily intended for customers who are comparing prices in major retail chain stores,” and that Amazon’s third-party sellers, which she says includes “more than two million individuals and businesses of all sizes that sell on Amazon” benefit from the app as well.

The promotion in question may be old news at this point, but the app is still fresh, and has received a lot of attention. Clearly, based on the reviews above, users like it. Combine that with the brand power of Amazon, and one has to assume that this thing is going to be on a whole lot of smartphones, being used by a whole lot of consumers in a whole lot of stores.

Just because the that promotion is over, doesn’t mean people won’t be tempted to look for cheaper prices on Amazon. Of course they could’ve been doing this already, but having an app specifically for this purpose makes it more convenient than ever. And it’s not as if Amazon can’t launch similar promotions in the future.

Is Amazon Good or Bad For Small Businesses?
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  • Kay R

    Amazon has successfully pitted small businesses against each other by creating price wars on the product pages. The only one winning the war is Amazon because they get a commission on every sale even if the vendor makes nothing. Small businesses are hardly making any profit and many are being put out of business by their predatory practices. If Amazon sees that an item is selling very well, they go to directly to the supplier and start selling it themselves. They make sure they “win” the “Buy Box” and put the prices lower than the other vendors so they get the most sales. Amazon is definitely hurting small businesses!

    • http://www.thecollectorshub.com The Collectors Hub

      Amazon is the online version of Walmart. They use predatory pricing tactics to drive small businesses out of business. How would Amazon like it if brick and mortar stores told their customers to use Amazon to research products then come in and will give you a better price?

      • http://www.medlawplus.com/forminfo/llc.htm llc guru

        Nice comparison of Amazon to Walmart. The one difference though is that Walmart actively pressures vendors to lower prices in return for access to its stores. Amazon, on the other hand, will basically let anyone sell. However, the sales platform is so ridiculously hyper-competitive that it is a race by the vendors down to zero profit. Amazon takes its cut and does not care whether the sellers make a profit or not. Both venues crush product sellers in any event.

    • Anthony

      Yes so true . The big wants to keep getting bigger and the way to do it is to “kill” the small fish.

  • http://SpecialtyJava.com Kevin Kapaun

    It will be wonderful when the world only has just one company! So much easier. Life will be wonderful indeed.

    • Frank

      Hopefully we can all work for this one company, and sit around after work and watch all the wars going on around the world for entertainment(1984)

  • Mark

    Both Amazon and Walmart are bad for small business. Amazon wants such a huge cut that the merchant is left with what amounts to table scraps. As such, being a small business, I RARELY shop at these two stores ( perhaps once every year or two ) and only when there is no alternative.

  • Charles

    I sell on Amazon. The others are right, they just pit you against other sellers and a price wars goes on. I’ve been outpriced by pennies and of course lost the sales. There are many times that Amazon makes more money on a sale than I do.

  • http://wredlich.com/ny Warren Redlich

    I was in Barnes & Noble the other day (my wife was shopping for something and bought it). Browsing, I came across a book that looked interesting. It was $17. I wasn’t ready to pay that much for it.

    I pulled out my iPhone and used the Amazon app (the original store app, not some new thing). It has a bar code scanner and the item came up at about $11.50.

    I wasn’t going to buy it at $17, but I did buy it at $11.50.

    Did this hurt a small business? Barnes & Noble isn’t small (and my wife bought something anyway). And the author is probably happy he sold a book that wouldn’t have sold at $17.

    • http://www.dirtworks.net john

      Maybe but the question wasn’t, “Is amazon’s business model always wrong and should they even exist.” It was is it bad for small business and overall it is. I have a small business and I’m very much in touch with this question everyday. This doesn’t mean they don’t and shouldn’t have a place in the market but the deck is stacked in their favor and they do it by exploiting labor and providing little in the way of personal customer service.

    • Charles

      I think bookstores are often overpriced anyway. There is something wrong when a bookstore has a book for double what Amazon wants.

    • http://www.mspecials.com Jenny Berg

      Warren, you didn’t purchase from Amazon, they have nothing in stock, you purchased from a small seller, amazon has zero risk in inventory, even makes a huge profit in fulfillment and this article is not about amazon vs b&n. Buying from amazon is bad for sellers and for buyers, buyers have to pay 22% commission ( the seller is not going to pay that for you because you are a nice guy ) and if by any chance you get it very cheap, then yes, you are hurting very badly a seller in need to move merchandise, Amazon sucks badly and people should start waking up, sellers, wake up, make a little effort from being a web slave.

  • http://www.marrasmusic.com JOSEPH MARRAS

    As a small music store selling musical instruments, I have to say that Amazon does hurt us. It isn’t the only large online entity to do so but it is the largest.When we sell a new item most of the time customers use their smart phones to check prices. I also use Amazon to see how my prices compare. The edge that Amazon has because of sales tax exemption causes many customers to not even consider coming in to my store to begin with and when you add free shipping promotions there is no way to compete with Amazon. I price most of my items at the same price as Amazon to diffuse this advantage, but it’s like spitting in the wind, I can’t win. I have many music students who come in once a week to take lessons and it is not uncommon for them and their parents to see the merchandise at my store and still buy from Amazon because of the lower tax free price. Lastly, many times I find that Amazon directly, or indirectly through one of their offsite dealers will advertise an item below minimum advertised price (MAP), which is prohibited by dealer / manufacturer agreements. When this happens I protest to my distributor because if I do this I can loose my dealership, but when Amazon does it they never seem to held to account. The bottom line is that in general Amazon hurts the small business the most because of our small size and the amplified effect of losing even one sale to anyone. The result? I once had 12 stores and now I barely have one. Can Amazon really claim they are actually helping me?

    • Charles

      I believe states have laws that say you are supposed to pay tax on items you purchase out of state. By buying on Amazon and never reporting it to the state they are breaking the law. Of course you should check your state laws to make sure. If it applies to your state you should bring it up to your customers who mention checking online or bring it up.

  • Joe G

    I am a small business owner and I like to shop Amazon too. I would like to see Amazon charge and pay the applicable state sales tax on the items they sell. This would “even the playing field” somewhat. Right now they (and other online retailers) can claim “free shipping” because they don’t pay sales tax like us brick & mortar merchants. My state sure needs the revenue and small businesses would like a fair opportunity to compete with the likes of Amazon.

    • Paul C

      We sell on Amazon and we collect sales tax at time of sale. If sales tax is really the concern then the buyer should pay the tax to their own state when the merchant does not collect it. I also wonder why any merchant should have to collect tax on behalf of any government – IRS and State employees receive a paycheck – how much does a merchant get paid for being a tax collector.

      • http://www.mspecials.com Jenny Berg

        so true

  • http://www.herbstore.gr John

    Best Greek Herbs and whatever else you want you will find in (url)www.herbstore.gr/(/url) ..! also it has best quality greek spices and soon it will have essential oils! its greek family business which gets involved with herbs and spices from 1975!!! In herbstore.gr/ you will see much more..Check it!

  • http://www.pestsupplywholesale.com Steve LaCroix

    Amazon SUCKS! Plain and simple, VERY bad for small business. The fees are way too high, and the required shipping policies are just plain stupid. I will not buy or sell on Amazon because of it’s unfair trade practices.

  • http://www.pestsupplywholesale.com Steve LaCroix

    Amazon is horrible. Fees are too high. Very bad for small business. I won’t use Amazon to buy or sell, as I refuse to be part of the problem.

  • Bill whiteside

    We all should be spendind more money at local businesses and supporting our communities. Saving a few dollars is not worth destroying mom and pop stores.

  • http://www.moto-xpressdlr.com Joe Kosoglow

    I’ve had listings on Amazon for 5 years and each year my sales have declined.

    – Price wars all over the place
    – Holiday Deals that allot of us can’t offer
    – FREE Super Saver Shipping that is an Amazon direct exclusive

    To date; I’m already 40% off last year sales and I have to contribute to the above items.

    Am I a little frustrated with Amazon. Yes but I’m frustrated with eBay and every web site that offers multiple products. Why….Because if you DON’T discount the crap out of our products, you won’t win!!

    • http://www.mspecials.com Jenny Berg

      Joe, open a bigcommerce, volusion, cs-cart, yahoo shop or any other platform, you will see how quickly you can move YOUR customers from amazon to your store, they are YOUR customers. Feedback is a scam with Amazon, who gives feedback to Amazon?

  • http://www.tesco-shopping.com Greg Muzzatti

    Amazon is iflexible and technically awkward to manipulate for vendors. They’re difficult to contact and their pricing options for shipping backwards. Given the revenue they have their service to vendors is substandard. With regard to pricing, it’s okay that consumers can find good deals, but vendors/merchants should offer only pricing that supports business rather than rock bottom prices below reason. Pricing is the resonsibility of vendors and merchants. Amazon, on the other hand has no business undercutting small business by seeking out manufacturers and selling below SRP.

  • Andrew Nosal

    To list my products on Amazon and pay their commission instead of, or in addition to selling them through my own perfectly adequate webstore makes sense only due to the need to reach the ever growing number of shoppers who believe that the only place they need to shop is Amazon.

    Shorter Amazon (to small business)-

    All your customers are belongz to US!

    Amazon exists in its present form only because Wall Street stuck by them through the years they lost tons of money underselling existing shops. Only when most local bookstores closed did it start to be profitable. This illustrates the fact that most of what “Investors” do nowadays is not investment but predation.

  • Candide43130

    It’s inevitable that sales tax will come to the internet, but it should come with a reform. Taxes should be due at point of collection, the merchant, not at the consumer’s place of residence. In the brick and mortar world, this is how it actually works no matter what the tax laws say.

    • Robert

      I sell on the internet and on Amazon too and I agree with you Candide, pay tax per the merchants locale (town/city/county/state). Consider you get in your car drive to a different city you pay merchants tax. Same as the internet, you drive your “search vehicle” to my Amazon merchant acct. make a purchase and pay my locale tax. I’m fine with that. But I’m “NOT” fine with collecting tax for someplace I don’t have a business licence in.

      If I have to pay sales tax to some state I don’t live in because their resident purchased from me then so should brick and mortars.

  • http://www.omahalovecoach.com Coach

    Amazon has a limit on returns, check the refund and return policy carefully! I purchased a ‘nearly new’ room heater through Amazon. Plugged it in 3 weeks later when the weather got cold enough. Didn’t work. No way to get my money back or return it. If I had purchased this item locally, I’d have a heater that works or my money back.

  • http://www.fiction4all.com Stuart Holland

    If you are in a retail store and see what you want at what you think is a fair price, how likely are you to just walk away empty-handed and then buy it off Amazon and wait a week or so for it to be delivered. I think most people will use the app to see if they are being given a fair price – and that is down to retailers to ensure that happens.

    That said, I wonder how long it will be before some clever electronics wizard develops a signal blocker and sells it to retailers so they can stop gadgets using tools like the Amazon app from working in their stores.

  • http://www.bushipower.com Al Connelly

    The smaller merchants, like myself, use Amazon to dump stuff and sell in nitches at inflated prices. The thing that sucks about Amazon is under charging customers for shipping and then taking a piece of the shipping price that the end customer pays.
    The end game here is that only Amazon will remain. Then we’ll really see them raise prices.

  • http://www.race-mart.com Paul Fink

    In our opinion, Amazon is the biggest price whore on earth. We consider their pricing strategy as predatory. They do not honor any manufacturer’s MAP or suggested resale pricing and they have totally destroyed the automotive parts aftermarket and severely hurt many small businesses. They sell strictly on price and don’t have the ability to assist a customer from a technical standpoint especially when it comes to hardcore race car parts. It’s our hope that the manufacturers wise up and cut them off.

  • http://ww.zenithmotorsports.com Randy

    Amazon is VERY BAD for Small Businesses. They sell items BELOW manufacturers Minimum Pricing policies, which if the small business did, the small business would be prohibited (by the manufacturer) from buying any more of their products. A good example is a couple of years ago, we were a GoPro dealer, and Amazon was (and probably still are) selling GoPro cameras well below the Manufacturer’s Minimum price – We complained to GoPro and they said there was noting they could do about it. I call BS – they could have refused to sell to Amazon, but I am sure their volume of sales was enough to ignore the problem. Needless to say, our sales dropped to zero. Why would a consumer pay more than they have to?

    Also, the fees to sell on Amazon so high that they eat up any profit margins on most products. I was called by an Amazon Rep, trying to get me to sell on Amazon. When I told him about the high fees that result in low (or no) profits, he never called gain.

    Small businesses have fixed monthly expenses which require a certain level of revenues (with some profits) just to pay the bills and keep the doors open, and hopefully pay the business owner a salary. Without sales (and some reasonable profits) small businesses will fail. This is the reason so many small businesses close each year.

    Bottom line – Yes, Amazon is Killing Small Businesses by undercutting prices, and forcing price wars among their vendors, thereby reducing their profits to – in some cases – just a few cents on each transaction, or even at a loss. At the same time Amazon is collecting their (expensive) fees for listing, transaction, etc.

    Encouraging consumers to “Window Shop” at stores then buying on-line is unethical. They are taking advantage of those merchants who have products in-stock so “their customers” can look at the item, touch it, feel it, and in most cases discuss the features and benefits of the product with the store staff – only to buy it online. This is a waste of the store staff time on someone who is going to buy online from Amazon to save a few pennies.

    And we all wonder why so many small businesses fail…

  • http://www.stansgeneralstore.net Stan Chudzik Jr

    Amazon is the big bully on the internet block. We operate a dropship/direct internet retail store and truly attempt to bring the lowest prices possible to the public. Amazon sells many of the same products we sell AT the PRICE we get it for. This is great for the consumer but we are a family run business, (my father and I), and actually care about our customers. At the end of an average sale our store makes less than 10%. It’s not good business to give products away but we are forced to lower our prices because their pockets run so deep and ours are lint filled. www.stansgeneralstore.net – stop in and check us out. Peace, Light and Love! :)

  • http://go.to/brofarops dr. Robert

    Amazon has shown us in the past that they are pioneers… As to Walmart, we all have seen them get around laws. Let us not forget the giants Macys, Sears, Saacks, Wards, and so on. Or the little giants like TG&Y, BenFranklins, Mays, and many more. Nobody screamed at ConsumerReports, KelleyBook, or the other resource agencies that protect US from price goudging and more… Which brings us back to Amazon and thier app. I just read about a Barnes&Noble customer viewing a book costing $17, and somewhere else it was $11.50. Was the app useful, as to my answer, saving $5 to $6 is a plus. As a Barnes&Noble executive I would be miffed. As a customer I would feel taken had I later found the book cheaper elsewhere. Now what I may have done would have negotiated with Barnes&Noble to see if they would discount thier price to keep me as thier customer. Now as to the main concern and small business and Amazon’s app lets look at the potential of negotiating prices. Or you can just say, the tool, the app, is hurting small business, and overlook consumer protection, and so on. I myself don’t have the app. but, I do see the good in it. Not only do I see it from the customer’s side but also as discounts and promotions. I am affiliated with Groupon, DealTakers, Sold, and a few more discount services providers. I also was with SBC, Power2000, and others. When you buy LOTS of products for pennies and you SURP for 300% to 1000% per unit, thats alot of room for negotiating, discounting, and promotions. So again, I see the app. as a plus. I welcome your prospectus reviews.

    • http://Www.zenithmotorsports.com Randy

      What you are not realizing is that Amazon sells products for LESS than some vendors are able to buy them for. Are these “Loss Leaders” for Amazon?

      When the mark up on a $80 product is less than $5 , there is not a lot of “room” for deeper discounts. Fixed costs need to be paid every month, and the Amazon fees and Shipping costs eat up any anticipated profits quickly, leaving the vendor with a deficit at the end of the transaction. (obviously not every transaction, but Amazon is the only one making significant profits – at the time and effort expense of small businesses)

  • Scott

    Another shit idea!

    Amazon force businesses to lower their prices to the absolute minimum, causing bankrupcy, product devaluation and agression!

    The only ones who THINK they profit from getting the best bargain in the world are the buyers??? Really??
    Look at the economy!

    This is a major problem!

    Great….the buyer saved a buck, but now he’s unemployed because no one buys his bosses products anymore!

    Retailers think only as far as their pocket, but not of the affects!!
    Think first!!!!!

  • http://www.nautical-gifts.us Nautical Decor

    I quit selling on Amazon. The fees and the fact there is virtually no room for profit sent me packing.I would rather take my chances with my own website than do the Amazon dance. Bad for small business.

    • http://www.facebook.com/notes/security-camera/ipad-2-for-work-review-on-ipad-2/287343007971058 IPAD 2 FOR WORK

      Hello I am also selling product Amazon but with the system affiliate, if anyone has any bad things about it, thank

  • http://www.emphysema-treatments.com Greg Miller

    I did not care for Amazon at all. First of all my little web site sold more of my books than their huge web site did.

    The would send me invoices with customer numbers and order numbers that I had no way of matching up with the actual sale so I was not clear on what they had paid me for and what they hadn’t. When I called them to get an explanation of how I was to relate the invoice they sent with the actual sales that had occurred no one at Amazon could explain the invoice they sent me. I tried repeatedly to make sense out of their invoice and called multiple times for them to explain and I never found anyone there that could explain their invoice and match up the payments they were making to me with actual sales of my book.

    I took my book off of Amazon and I have no plans to return. They were a nightmare for me. They were rude and arrogant when I called and soon realized they were more trouble than they were worth.

    As a customer I like shopping at Amazon. As a vendor, they suck.

    They held my money for two weeks but expected me to ship immediately.

  • http://www.dirtworks.net john

    Amazon is really bad for businesses at the local level and online too but there probably isn’t much we can do about it. Any business that squeezes it’s workers and can tap into cheap chinese made crap and move such large volumes of product can undermine almost any brick and mortar store.

    The best we can do to compete is offer the best customer service we can afford and really be there for our customers before, during and after the sale. We need to shorten or eliminate telephone trees and provide quality, personal service. It’s really hard to do that but we have to keep at it or else pretty soon people won’t have any choice but shop at the sweat shops of the 21st century.

  • http://www.freedomoffshore.com/makeonlinebusiness.html Make An Online Business

    Because it is a free world and competition is the way to keep prices down, Amazon should be allowed to sell the best priced goods. But I wish they would ship worldwide.

  • http://www.theoutletseason.com/electronics Rick

    For us, Amazon is hurting the market! Large retailers have the buying power to overcome Amazon’s ridiculous advertised prices, which are some times below our cost!
    With the FREE SHIPPING incentive everyone has to do, it’s almost impossible to compete, we have to absorb not only the cost of shipping, but add discounts, to products. I remembered last Black Friday, a guy asked me to make him a ‘deal’, on product that had a generous $127 discount and Free Shipping, so we made like $5.23 on a $1,324 product! People is crazy … This predatory tactics will drive us out of business, because we can’t even list in Amazon, because their fees are so high we have to sell products above everyone elses listing there, if we wanted to make a profit … It’s madness … All eRetailers must be united to fight against this!!!
    I was already pissed off, now that you publish this news about the app, we are MAD!!!

  • Larry True

    Between China, Mexico, Korea, Phillipines and others making everything we used to make and on-line stores selling everything we used to go to the village square to buy, there will no longer be anything left in the small towns to make or a place to sell it if we are not careful. Yes, Amazon is convenient and competitive and I use it but I’m not sure it is the best for the United States and the small town and cities that make up America.

    • steve

      you are correct. we are racing toward the bottom, if you work then low prices seem great, but if you are told at work that sales are down, and layoffs are coming…. then cheaper is not always good in the long run. Great countries make things, places that import most items are poor.

  • Godwin

    Great customer service from Amazon. Now let them handle the rest too. So no aftersales service for products bought through Amazon. No expert advice, no returns and no spare parts, alterations, modifications, additional products or other service of any kind. Let them have it all and see if the customers stay as happy as they are now. Soon Amazon will be the only place to buy anything and there will not be a store left to compare the prices with. The brick and mortar store will simply cease to exist.

    • Director

      “no aftersales service for products bought through Amazon. No expert advice, no returns and no spare parts, alterations, modifications, additional products or other service of any kind”

      So true Godwmin,

      And when Amazon is the only store left, they’ll be able to hike their prices as much as they like.

      Then we’ll all wish we’d shopped locally – even if just a bit, if only to get the support that is so sadly lacking from Amazon and other big online companies.

  • http://www.flagsandkites.com Walt

    With my business, I pay sales tax because my state says I must collect it. Now Amazon is moving to my state and building a large fulfillment center with the promise of 1,000 jobs, guess what, the state has made them exempt from collecting sales tax for the next four years. Amazon reps contacted me several time wanting me to sign up, I told them I was just making a small profit now and why would I give them a percentage plus a monthly fee just to join their rat race, they also hold your money for two weeks, but want you to ship immediately, that sucks. I sell to loyal American customers who want to keep the economy going rather that save a buck. Local and state governments don’t realize that the small business is the backbone to the economy.

  • http://www.antellus.com T Moore

    As an independent publisher and seller of my own books I no longer have links to Amazon on my site, and I have disabled the direct links from my distributor. I have removed all but the most crucial ebooks from their list, and if I don’t sell enough ebooks this holiday season, the rest are coming off. The fact is that Amazon is terrible at selling books, and I would do better keeping my products off their site. The customers don’t care about the difficulties businesses are having; they want their product for little or nothing, and the pressure to supply free ebooks is evidence of that. And the content is so devalued by Amazon that its customers have been conditioned to expect the best for far less than it costs to make. My books and ebooks were not available on Amazon during the launch of the price check app, and as long as it is in use Amazon will only benefit. As for the sales tax issue, rather than collect from my customers I pay the tax out of my pocket and count it as a cost of doing business. As long as Amazon fails in its legal obligations I don’t feel the need to lose sales by doing it myself. I have many more expenses to meet than just losing money to Amazon.

  • http://www.loveshade.org Alden Loveshade

    Like it or not, big business has been hurting small business for a long time. This goes back well before the American Sherman Antitrust Act was signed into law in 1890.

    However, there are still fundamental advantages to dealing with a small business. For one thing, you’re likely dealing with the owner or someone working directly under the owner, which means you’re more likely to get the help you need.

    For another, the people there are more likely to know their product well. For example, years ago I stopped buying tropical fish from large chains. I remember one day in a large chain I watched an employee catching fish for a customer. He had to look it up to tell which was the zebra fish–the red one or the one with black and white stripes. If I buy pet fish I get them either from the breeder or a small pet store. They’re much more likely to know their fish.

    The same thing applies to other products as well.

  • Frank

    Amazon has gotten big and with big comes domination. The main money makers in my business all have top rankings in the search engine, above Amazon. My competitors who use Amazon also have to charge a much higher price just to make it worth while due to Amazons enormous charges. Dominating a niche is the best way to compete with corporations.

  • David Petersen

    Amazon is in the business to Make Money for Amazon, they are not going to help their competition. When you have apps that can be used to instantly to compare prices with your competition that’s not helping your small businesses that can’t make a reasonable profit selling their product at the price Amazon does. So if you are taking away potential customers away from others, How is that helping other businesses? I will pay a little extra and buy something from a different business than buy with a business that practices deception and dishonesty.

  • http://www.1stfloridahome.co.uk chris jackson

    I have started up an online business which depends primarily on Amazon as the interface bewteen me and my customers. Without Amazon I would have a much poorer business whcih would depend entirely on Ebay and my costs (fees) would be higher. So for me Amazon is not only “Good” for business it is my “essential” partner

    • http://www.mspecials.com Jenny Berg

      try bigcommerce, volusion, yahoo stores or any other out of the box solution, do it as a side project, you will see it will pay off, there are many people willing to help you in the forums, do not get caught in the commission and abusive feedback game, good luck

  • small biz owner

    I say don’t fight them – join them. My products are unique in nature anyway, but I would have no problem selling in my online store and at amazon. A lot of small businesses do this, and whether customers decide to buy direct or at amazon – you win! Businesses who continue to fight technology instead of being flexible and creative enough to work with changes are closing their own doors.

  • http://www.porcelanatoscastel.mex.tl porcelanato

    Amazon is not good for small businesses because they can´t compete with the biggest.

  • http://www.a2zinternetshopping.com yussef izhiman

    Well Since Amazon the have taken every small business and made it impossible to even make 5% profit on any merchandise. I believe then need to sell quality not price!

  • http://www.mspecials.com Jenny Berg

    Amazon is the online nightmare version of waltmart, killing all possible businesses which actually are the ones producing the money for them to growth, a pretty stupid strategy but for the few greedy bastards I guess is a wonderful idea. If you see on amazon, they will mix your listing with a 2 pack or 6 pack, for the same price!!! and the mega abusive customers demand the 2 to 6 or even 12 products for the price of one, otherwise they give you negative feedback. But regarding the tax issue, I cannot believe that sellers don’t know why Amazon is fighting with congress to collect taxes from small sellers, well, have you ever occurred to you that amazon pays every 15 days or even 30 days to many sellers? that means more money on hold, they can play with much more money which they will say, they never use or touch because will be taxes on hold, and then they will use the figures as collateral to fool investors in WS to say they have billions more in assets, who is going to check? nobody. Is the same scan that paypal is been playing with the 4 billion + in rolling reserve money, nobody checks. I stopped selling and buying in amazon 3 years ago, since then my business is 15 times bigger, with all the easy commerce solutions, anyone selling in amazon is a plain idi**. Try and take the customers away. About customers, they are the biggest ignorant part of ecommence thinking that the 22% commission on top of costs, will actually make the items cheaper in amazon than in the sellers site, whoever shops in amazon is ignorant or addicted to negative feedback. Amazon scks and soon they will start to fall, wait and will see.

  • Steven

    I have no problem with online shoppers, but I do haves a problem with consumers who come into my store and take up my employees time asking questions and looking at products that they intend to buy online. I pay a large amount of rent, taxes, insurance, hydro and gas, alarm fees, internet access, staff wages etc.
    If online buying is so great why are people coming into my store to check out the products ?
    And by the way don’t pull out your iPhone and start snapping pictures in my shop or you will be asked to leave. Do your price checking at home or wait till you get outside at least.
    Cheap Bas%$rds are willing to ruin our economy to save a few bucks, the Brick and mortar stores are what are country is built on and supported by.

  • http://yes2.us/ Dave

    This presents an interesting opportunity, and I have a solution:

    Simply have the brick and mortar store create an account with Amazon (or any other online company or entity). The brick and mortar store store would be identified when the customer enters the store using GPS or any other locating device or technology. If the potential customer scans any item using any device while in the brick and mortar store or other location and generates a sale or sales lead through another online resource then a percentage of the sale is produced from the representing online entity to the brick and mortar store or other representing entity.

    This is a win-win solution for any online company or business or person and any off-line company or business or person.

    This Idea is hereby the Legal Property of David W. Rongey, today: December 17th 2011, which is documented and displayed on the internet and described here at http://www.webpronews.com

    Contact me for further details. www.yes2.us

    Dave Rongey
    Grass Valley, CA

  • http://www.CaptainCyberzone.com CaptainCyberzone

    I think that it will hurt some but not much. The majority of shoppers want instant self-gratification and the brick& mortar facilitate that. Add into that the cost of shipping and the quality of goods being offered. And what Amazon is offering is only a picture and some ad copy … and buyer beware.

  • John

    Bad, until there is a tax charged by the sales outlet. Sales through the internet will not be on par with brick and mortar stores.

  • http://www.chicdash.com JAMES

    i was looking for uggs on amazone but prices was crazy went to this site www.chicdash.com and got my uggs.

  • Jim Ryan

    In Ireland, sellers are forced to open a UK bank account before selling on Amazon. This is not possible and would actually be illegal if someone was to give false information regarding country of residence. This is especially damaging to self-publishers whose ISBN number has been hijacked by Amazon and the books represented on that site as OUT OF PRINT while the seller is actually open for business through another website. Correspondence does nothing.

  • http://www.listofonlineclassifiedsites.blogspot.com/ Robin

    Whatever is Amazon doing they are doing great for the general people.The online community getting more relevant things what are they looking for !!!!!

  • http://mysteryfounder.wordpress.com Mystery Founder

    Amazon is not only a threat to small business but all business. This is good from their point of view but bad for others.

    Like other online services (i.e. Google Checkout, PayPal) they work against online business.

    They demand remove the ability from a business to handle customer service on their own terms. Amazon forces business in the marketplace to abide by their rules.

    Often times – I have sent product to the customer – and then the customer disputes it – and Amazon winds up granting them a refund.

    When this happens – I am forced to pay double for that customer. One for the product I sent them plus any shipping I incurred – two – I had to give the money back! Lastly – the customer never returned the product – PURE THEFT!

    Furthermore, Amazon is capable of housing their own products in their own warehouses. Therefore, not only do they put business in price wars – but they gather metrics on the best selling products on the Amazon marketplace – then – they just start storing them in the Amazon warehouse – guess what – they are now competing with the businesses in the marketplace.

    Is this a monopoly? Is this fair? Really?

    Amazon is the next Walmart – they are just out to crush the small business folk out there.

    But this is all venting – the truth – in a free market – we have to learn to compete.

    How can we compete with Amazon? Its not hard really. Here is my advice.

    1. Do not sell on Amazon or any other market place (i.e. eBay, Google Checkout, Buy)

    2. Make your website the PRO at what you sell. Content is king – all Amazon can do is give reviews on sellers and on a product. But can they give cool tutorials? Can they provide a kick ass forum? Can they truly cater to everyone? No! They cannot – look at what they did with Diapers.com.

    3. Be persistent and ignore them. They won’t go away – but use what you have and FOCUS on your niche – you will be fine!

  • http://mysterycompany.wordpress.com Mystery Founder

    BTW if you want to read more about this – I constantly post to my blog.


    Sometimes its just venting or rambling – other times – it’s good factual posts.

    Up to you!

  • http://www.gnomegames.com Pat Fuge

    We continue to avoid the basic reality that Amazon, Walmart and others of their ilk are bad for communities. They take resources out without any revenue or return to the community. This is akin to stripmining – take whatever we can until it is no longer profitable and move on to another revenue stream.

    Until community leaders at the state and local level wake up and enforce basic fair market opportunities that support their community we will continue to watch the rape and pillage.

    Ever wonder where all the cheap stuff comes from on Amazon? From those businesses that could sell enough to break even, that were bought up by online discount houses. It’s a failure based economy that can not last.

    • http://www.mspecials.com Jenny Berg

      well said

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