It’s no secret that Amazon and other online retailers have challenged America’s small and independent businesses in recent years. In fact, the Institute for Local Self-Reliance has previously reported that some 90 percent of independent businesses say Amazon has negatively impacted their revenue. Main street businesses have struggled to compete with Amazon’s vast inventory, fast shipping and consumer magnetism, but a new venture could level the playing field. In Brooklyn, New York, EMain will soon allow independent businesses to rival Amazon with an online marketplace and next-day delivery.
Rolling out this month, EMain provides an online platform for all kinds of independent businesses. The platform allows businesses with or without a brick-and-mortar presence to add an e-commerce component to their retail operations. What’s more, EMain has an agreement with the United States Postal Service to offer next-day delivery to members’ customers. As a result, independent businesses will have the opportunity to compete directly with Amazon and the other online retailers that have previously dominated the e-marketplace.
According to those involved with and familiar with the venture, EMain has the potential not only to bolster Main Streets across the country but also to support local post offices. EMain also plans to work with local chambers of commerce.
The platform will be available this month to independent shops and makers in Brooklyn. A preliminary 12-week trial will begin with 60 participating businesses in the Park Slope neighborhood. This trial is just the beginning – if successful, EMain has plans to expand nationwide.
For independent businesses, EMain provides an invaluable opportunity to tap into the country’s $400 billion online retail market. Beyond the online platform, EMain’s relationship with the postal service suggests that independent business owners could gain an advantage in greater purchasing power for services and materials. Additionally, participating businesses will have another platform on which to build their brands, which could help them garner name recognition among local consumers.
For now, small business owners in most of the country will have to keep their ears to the ground to hear if EMain will be expanding to their community. Keep the importance of e-commerce and the potential of EMain’s platform in mind as you evaluate your business strategies.
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