How Amazon hammers small businesses – New York Daily News - New York Daily News

Summary

I started selling toys online in 2009. In 2015, I opened a physical storefront for LI Toy & Game in Kings Park. Like many retailers today, I also sell on third-party marketplaces, including Amazon. It is impossible to stay a viable business without doing so: Nearly 60% of all online retail purchases in the U.S. were done on Amazon last year, reflecting the company’s tightening grip on online sales.

Unfortunately, Amazon is also by far the worst marketplace for small business owners like me.

I started selling toys online in 2009. In 2015, I opened a physical storefront for LI Toy & Game in Kings Park. Like many retailers today, I also sell on third-party marketplaces, including Amazon. It is impossible to stay a viable business without doing so: Nearly 60% of all online retail purchases in the U.S. were done on Amazon last year, reflecting the company’s tightening grip on online sales.

Unfortunately, Amazon is also by far the worst marketplace for small business owners like me.

Small businesses' (Shutterstock/Shutterstock)

Take this example: Amazon will frequently start stocking items that small businesses sell there, and then drastically undercut our prices — either by the item price itself, by offering free shipping, or both.

The tech giant will then request documentation from you that they know small businesses have no way of providing, even for mass-market products from major manufacturers like Hasbro, Bandai and Revell. (An example documentation request: “A third-party test report from a CPSC-accepted lab that shows the product meets ASTM F963-16/17 and CPSIA standards”.) When a small business owner inevitably fails to provide this documentation, Amazon deletes their listings. In fact, in the past year, the ecommerce giant has pulled nearly all of my listings, despite the fact that it sells most of the products I offer directly.

Even if a small business is somehow able to jump through all of these hoops, Amazon still works overtime to screw us: Their selling fees are so high that small business owners just break even or lose money on item sales; they systematically understate shipping weights so that the cost for small businesses to ship items is substantially higher than the cost passed onto the customer; and they hold onto revenue from sales for 14 days after delivery, meaning it takes 21 or more days for small businesses to see revenue added to their bank account. Meanwhile, small businesses have to front the cost for shipping and fulfillment.

These are just some of the reasons why online monopolies like Amazon need to be reined in. Luckily, there are bills introduced to the United States Congress that would do just that. Amazon’s claims that these bills would somehow “crush small businesses” or “kill Amazon Prime” could not be farther from the truth. These claims are so ludicrous they would make me laugh, if not for the fact that millions of small businesses like mine are suffering from the ecommerce giant’s anti-competitive policies.

Amazon’s monopoly over the marketplace is killing small businesses, filling Main Street with “For Rent” signs. Congress must hold the corporation accountable for the destruction it is doing to small businesses–the lifeblood of the country, and of New York State. I urge Sen. Chuck Schumer to immediately bring these bills to the Senate floor for a vote, so we can rein in Amazon, and save Main Streets in our communities.

Stewart is the owner of LI Toy & Game in Kings Park, L.I. He has operated this small business since 2009.

How Amazon hammers small businesses – New York Daily News - New York Daily News
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