What the Tech? Does Amazon Help or Hurt Small Businesses?

After the Coronavirus pandemic forced Amazon to move its Prime Days event to the fall, things are back to normal in 2021. Amazon Prime Days are set for June 21st and 22nd and leading up to the mega shopping event, Amazon is encouraging shoppers to make purchases from small and local businesses.

Shoppers who purchase participating products from small businesses that are ordered up until June 20th will receive a $10 credit they can use on any products during the Prime Days shopping event.

It’s an interesting take on how Amazon has affected other retailers. While some major Amazon competitors have been forced to file for bankruptcy or close their doors forever, many small businesses contribute their survival and growth to Amazon.

John Spalding, founder of Brittle Brothers’ peanut brittle says his business would not have survived the COVID-19 shutdown. “Amazon saved our lives quite frankly.”

Brittle Brothers’ is based just outside of Nashville, Tennessee and prior to the worldwide coronavirus pandemic, its success was due to in-person sales at hotels, venues, restaurants, and other businesses that catered to tourists visiting Music City.

When the stay-at-home mandates closed those tourist destinations, Brittle Brothers’ was close to shutting down. “I prepared a speech to let the employees know we weren’t going to be able to make it,” Spalding said.

“We had a brainstorming meeting at work. Our general manager, another guy, and I and we said ‘why not try Amazon?’. ‘Why not go in with both feet and say okay Amazon, show us what you can do.”

They had sold on Amazon prior to COVID-19 with modest success. After concentrating on a future with Amazon, things took off.

“Our first year we did, maybe $2,500. In our second year we did $24,000. In our third year we did over $200,000. This year we’re can do just under a million on Amazon,” Spalding said.

Amazon gets a cut of each sale and while Spalding and I didn’t talk specifics about Amazon’s percentage, he said it makes financial sense because Amazon undertakes part of the business that is quite costly; packaging and shipping. “Amazon said, ‘wait a minute guys. Just ship the products to us. We’ll take care of everything. We’ll put it in the box, we’ll mail it. We’ll do it. We’ll label it, we’ll do everything,” he said.

“All those shipping concerns that we had, we were doing onesies and twosies, but the tape on, but the label on, drive it to the post office. Those were eliminated.”

Brittle Brothers is now a featured small business on Amazon. Leading up to Prime Days, Amazon’s supporting those small and local businesses by offering a $10 Prime Day credit to any shopper buying something from one of the small businesses. You’ll find those small businesses and their products under the “support small” section on Amazon’s home page.

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