Amazon Business Practices
It’s no secret that big-box stores are making it harder for local mom-and-pop shops to stay afloat. Wal-Marts, Home Depots and Barnes and Nobles have been blamed for putting local grocery chains, hardware stores and book shops out of business for as long as they’ve been around. But now there’s a retailer that’s making it harder even for the big box stores to make a go of it – Amazon.com
In this week’s issue of Orlando Weekly, Jim Hightower digs into the business practices of the online retailer that used to deal almost exclusively in books and music, but has now branched out into selling everything from diapers to dog food, home-improvement products to automotive needs.
They’re doing it using some pretty dirty sales tactics, too. In our story, Hightower talks about how the company’s new Fire smartphone is designed to help consumers use their local brick-and-mortar stores to examine goods in person, then scan then with their phones and get a $5 rebate if they purchase the items on Amazon.com rather than at their local shops. Some small businesses have found ways to work with Amazon by setting up small shops within the Amazon.com marketplace, but as one small businesswoman quoted in the story notes, Amazon often demands a steep cut of the income from its online partners – and it has also been known to change the rules on them when it wants more. “I wake up every single day knowing Amazon might make new, impossible demands,” she says.
The most troubling part of the whole equation, Hightower finds, is that most consumers don’t know enough about Amazon’s monopolistic business practices to make an informed decision not to shop there. Our story is part of a national campaign led by the Media Consortium to share information about how Amazon operates. It’s time, Hightower says, to tell consumers about the high price of the cheap products bought at Amazon.com.