While waiting for breakfast, I noticed this ‘Boycott Amazon’ sticker. I think that getting customers to stop something—or start something—is a tough practice. There are fields of science (psychology) and marketing (branding) dedicated to this. Is it easier to get someone to start or stop (boycott) something?
I think that offering a solution (start something) is easier.
I recommend that stores encourage customers to choose them over Amazon because the store is overall the better choice. We have to ensure: the customer can pay the same or less and get the product more quickly from the indie. When I refer to indie stores, I’m often referring to retailers with physical locations. We have to promote a customer walking in for pick up—this is what has resurrected Walmart, Target, and Best Buy. Indies: pull that page from the playbook.
Let’s imagine a solution oriented sticker. Should we have stickers that say ‘Indies Do It Better’?
Bridge gives stores free 5” window decals. These are double sided and say “Shop 1,000s of Gifts Online / Small Store ~ Big Site”. Maybe we can shrink this message down to a 2” decal: ‘Better ~ Faster ~ Indie’. Think of it as marketing the underdog motorcycle or car brand. Indies want to be Tesla. We have to position Amazon as being GM (...Oldsmobile!).
What’s at stake? A lot of money. Shopify, which has embodied and soaked up the boycott Amazon sentiment, is now worth $117b. Not bad for a company started in 2009. It could easily buy: FedEx. And Scott Galloway thinks it should (source: https://www.profgalloway.com/palanthiel-the-uncola
). If it does, when Shopify leaves a FedEx delivery sticker on your front door, maybe the sticker will be inspired by the one I saw this morning: “Sorry we missed you. We’ll try again this afternoon. ~ Shop better. shop faster. Shop indie.”
Addendum: a friend asked how speed relates to sellers without a physical footprint, like those on Etsy. How does an indie seller on Etsy compete with Amazon when there is no pick-up option? The good news is that Etsy is known for one-of-a-kind items. Often these items reside with the seller (...creator). The seller has to ship it from their office/home no matter which platform made the sale. As Amazon may offer better shipping rates, a sale over Amazon may result in lower shipping costs or faster shipping. Good news: whether the indie seller makes the sale on Etsy or Amazon, the indie seller still gets the order (...but which platform charges the seller a higher commission?).
What happens when Amazon helps indie sellers yet also hurts so many—what does that ‘decal’ look like? Well, some mushrooms kill, but most are eaten and enjoyed. Some falls from five story buildings don’t kill you, but most will. In life there are few absolutes, and we look for the likelihood of an entity to produce results. One may research the impact that online marketplaces have had on individual craft sellers with no physical footprint. Once you find the answer, a seller on Etsy may be happy to sell you some custom stickers.
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