“Middlemen”—people who act as intermediaries between sellers and buyers—were a big promise of the internet for small businesses. So rather than going through retailers, manufacturers could sell directly to the end-user. All of this is true, but the internet has also given rise to a new intermediary class: platform companies.
Platforms are almost certainly something you’ve already used, if only as a customer. So we have Amazon for things, Doordash and Postmates, and Uber and Lyft for transportation and small jobs, and hundreds if not thousands of other options available today.
Read Also: Craigslist Cleveland, Pets, Cars for Sale
Small businesses can benefit greatly from the use of platforms. For example, freelancers who previously struggled to find work in their hometown of the Midwest can now find work from all over the world on sites like Upwork, Guru, and Fiverr.
A well-designed platform provides:
Prospective buyers. They spread the word about you to people who had never heard of you before.
Customers will come. Customers are able to access them from a distance.
Support and infrastructure. It is their job to assist you in determining the best methods for billing your clients and delivering your goods and services.
Guarantees. If the customer does not pay, is dissatisfied, or provides insurance, they take the risk.
For small businesses, platforms can be a double-edged sword. Usually, they will:
Control the client
Assume a large share in sales revenue
Follow their rules, which can be pricey at times.
You will be responsible for all costs except for marketing.
Allow your rivals to market to your customers.”
You’re going to have to compete against me.
An example of a typical situation is: Assume that a customer visits an e-commerce site such as Amazon. In Amazon’s search bar, they’ve typed in your company name and product. So when a customer performs a search, does your business or product come up first? Unless you’re willing to pay a marketing fee, the answer is no. Instead, there will be an ad for contestant and, in some cases, an Amazon product sold at a lower price. No matter how many times a consumer buys your product, Amazon makes a tidy profit and essentially “owns” them, so you may never get your hands on their personal information.
How can you survive Amazon and other platforms, whether you use them or they are your main competitor?
Avoid them at all costs.
You can successfully reach enough customers without a platform, so don’t use one. Without a forum, you’ll make a lot more money. Amazon no longer carries a large number of well-known brands.
Record the names and contact information of your clients.
Do everything you can to get your customers’ names and contact information so that you can market directly to them. For instance, if your restaurant uses DoorDash to deliver meals, include coupons for customers who sign up for your mailing list and place their orders directly with you.
Get off the platforms as quickly as possible.
Make the transition from a platform to a direct-to-consumer business model if you have a loyal customer base. In the event that Rover.com brings you new dog-walking clients, see if you can get those clients to recommend your services to their friends.
Don’t rely on platforms to sell your best and most profitable products or services.
Your best products should be kept off Amazon and other platforms and sold through more profitable channels or directly to customers if you’re a manufacturer.
Market yourself in such a way that cunsumers can find you on your own
If you want customers to find and buy from you directly, use social media and search engines like Google and Bing.
The sixth step is to identify a market niche.
Customers are more likely to stick around if they know what they’re getting into.
Become a tourist attraction or tourist attraction.
Find ways to provide “entertainment” value if you have a physical location. Organize workshops, parties, and other events to entice potential customers.
Let your customers know they’re contributing to your social mission by purchasing directly from you.
Doing business with Amazon is an experience that leaves no one feeling good about themselves. Make consumers feel satisfactory about doing business with you and make it a part of your company’s narrative.
Together, we can accomplish more.
Because the small business down the street isn’t a major competitor, you should collaborate with them on community events, discounts, and other activities to show customers how important you are to the neighborhood.
As a final step, help spread the message that “shop small, shop local.” As a result of the slogan “buy local or go away local.” Even if you occasionally shop online, you must be an ambassador—an advocate—for supporting small and local businesses. In addition, make sure people know that Amazon and other online marketplaces should only be used as a last resort.