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BizReport : Research archives : July 26, 2017

Expert: Amazon/Whole Foods deal doesn't have to kill SMBs

Amazon's acquisition of Whole Foods sent a bit of a shockwave through local businesses, reinvigorating their fears that the online giant would soon swoop into their towns and take their businesses. While some merchants may falter, one expert believes the Amazon move won't kill local businesses - unless they allow it.

by Kristina Knight

Kristina: How can box stores can generate new business in small towns?

Doug Griffiths, MBA and Founder & CEO, 13 Ways Inc: Big box stores will have more and more trouble with this. The value proposition for a box store in a small community becomes small when more and more people move to online retail. The stores that will survive will be the smaller and boutique stores since they have a value proposition that is not based on a best price model, and therefore are not competition to online retailing. The businesses that will grow in small communities will be those that also offer services and experiences that you cannot purchase online. That is the future of downtown businesses.

Kristina: You believe mom-and-pop type stores compete best with giants like Amazon by keeping their identity unique. Why is that?

Doug: What makes us unique is what makes us valuable. Yet, so many communities and chambers of commerce are adopting strategic plans and economic development strategies that are identical to every other community. The most overused slogan among communities is, 'The best place to work, live, and raise a family." The is no differentiation in that, and even less meaning. Trying to be like every other community makes yours indistinguishable, and that is a sure way to ensure your community parishes.

Kristina: How is technology currently affecting smaller towns and rural communities?

Doug: This question is worthy of an entire book. Technology is going to cause more disruption in our communities over the next 15 years than it has in the last 150 years. From healthcare to education, governance to infrastructure investment, it is all going to change quickly. The advent and pace of adoption of autonomous vehicles alone will mean huge changes. We won't need the massive road infrastructure, public transportation such as busing and subways will become obsolete, we won't need traffic lights and signals, and we will have to redesign our urban subdivisions and housing since they will no longer require three car garages and massive driveways. The world is going to change very quickly, and soon, yet most communities are not exploring or preparing for what is about to come.

More from Doug later this week, including 3 ways local communities can find greater success.

Tags: 13 Ways Inc, Amazon, Doug Griffiths, local merchants, retail tips, retail trends

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