Amazon has made it easier to support small businesses

Amazon has made it easier to support small businesses with a new section called Storefronts Amazon — with its orange arrow logo like a new hieroglyph for capitalism — has become a frequent lightning rod for criticism. And one of the most common debates is the company's impact on small dropship baby clothes businesses. But recently, Amazon announced Storefronts— a designated on-site marketplace of strictly small and medium-sized businesses. Storefronts, Amazon says, will help to highlight small businesses on the platform via increased visibility and ease of navigation, as well as a new series called "Storefront of the Week", in which a small business featured on Amazon is featured in a video that covers its products, services, and the team that makes it possible. Without adding steps to the familiarly smooth process, Amazon has made it easier to locate small businesses that may otherwise be buried in the avalanche of indiscernible options. Using Storefronts is relatively seamless. Customers who need to buy dog food, Halloween decorations, or a toothbrush — and who would have invariably ended up on Amazon for its convenience — can drop in to the section to search appropriate categories like Halloween, Pet Supplies, or Grooming like any other area of the site. Except that here in this closed environment, all curated options support small businesses. Amazon shoppers can also "meet" the business owners by selecting categories like Artisans, Family-focused businesses, Women-owned businesses, and Innovator makers. Amazon isn't the only online company to pay attention to small businesses. Jet had a collaboration with the investment platform CircleUp, and online aggregators like Etsy and UncommonGoodsbuoy thousands of small businesses daily. And while Storefronts may make the large network feel more digestible and human, shoppers may find that it still lacks the community and hospitable interface that standard options like Etsy or enthusiastic, scrappy startups provide. However, it's not likely the global giant envisions this new section will remold its public persona as the Mother of Mom and Pop shops. The addition makes it easier for the average shopper — who wants the no-fuss experience they've grown accustomed to on Amazon — to combine convenience with an opportunity to support smaller businesses. It's a natural expansion for the company, but it's also useful for visitors. With 100 million Prime subscribers worldwide, a shopping holiday that's threatening Black Friday with its impact, a slew of new device launches, and an expanding network that now includes Whole Foods, Amazon is not likely to disappear from the world stage anytime soon. And, as such, it will continue to accrue a mass number of small and medium-sized businesses, so long as its unparalleled exposure and distribution channel continues to appeal to them. This attraction seems likely, since the impact of a network such as Amazon's can be astronomical for a small business. Amazon provides value to small businesses in its reach, and the addition of Storefronts' bright spotlight may make that reach exponentially more effective, even if only a fraction of Amazon users are aware of the marketplace. This could make leaning on Amazon more logical — and far more advantageous — for small businesses, of which a recent survey determined 73% of are considering joining a marketplace like Amazon or eBay. In 2017, merchandise sold by third-party retailers exceeded sales by Amazon itself for the first time. (Measured by the number of "paid units" sold.) The latest kitchen craze, the Instant Pot pressure cooker, reported in 2017 that 90% of its sales came through Amazon for a time, prompting its inventor, Robert Wang, to tell The New York Times "Without Amazon, we wouldn't be here." On Prime Day 2018, Amazon sold 30,000 Instant Pots— a success story for at least one small company thanks to its relationship with the site. Amazon's Storefronts may not be the altruistic beginning to a new era for the Davids versus Goliaths, but it does make it easier for small businesses to be discovered — and for shoppers who will probably end up on Amazon anyway to make more conscious decisions. Small businesses are on Amazon, Storefronts just makes it easier to locate them.Also Read: Top 5 dropshipping suppliers usa