Frederik Van Lierde

Local Businesses are killing themselves, not Amazon ●● Controversial?!

When we talk about this subject, most of the articles explain how giant Amazon is, the pro and cons of working with Amazon as a local shop.

Today I want to bring you another point of view, the one where local businesses are doing wrong and why they should change their mindset.
Local Businesses are killing themselves, not Amazon ●● Controversial?!

Controversial, of course, you can’t blame the victim, right? Not exactly; as a local business owner, aren’t we supposed to work on your business daily, to make our local business better every day.

Shouldn’t local business owners not be more open compete against the big bad boys? Shouldn’t they be more creative? Or why shouldn’t they copy the successes of others?

Let’s start with 7 problems, 7 problems local businesses own to themselves.

#1 How owners see their business

Successful companies understand and think about what their customers make them buy. They try to make it as easy as possible.

Local shops mostly think about how they like it because their business is their business. They look at the beauty but not at the functionality.

Go and have a look at the website of Amazon. Design-wise you can’t call it a beauty. But the functionality is there, and it sells!

You can create a beautiful website with functionality in mind! Functionality #1, always ask questions your customer will ask.

A few examples

  • Can my customer contact me / book instantly?
  • Is my phone number clickable?
  • Can the customer see my offers or by a gift card on every page?
  • Does the customer gets their answer fast?

Amazon vs Local Business #1

#2 Mis-use of social media

How many of your followers do you think sees your posts?

When we discussed with local shops about promoting their special offers, most of them told us they use Facebook for free. However, they had no clue that only 13% of their followers effectively saw the posts.

You read that right, 13% of their followers. How does the local shop going to attract new customers? You can’t (unless you pay)

Amazon vs Local Business #2

#3 Mis-Use of Posting

Many local businesses tell their followers (13%) what they offer. Or what a great deal they have.

Successful brands tell why the shopper should buy. They play on emotions.

An example:
a spa should not say 15% off for a relaxing massage. They should write, "Your boss was crazy today? use our 15% off and relax with a great massage."

Show an image or text that reflects your customer's emotional state, offer in the post a solution.

Example by Candela:
Amazon vs Local Business #3

#4 Giving away too much profit

Local businesses often use Groupon or local clones like BuyClub, DeinDeal,… to promote their deals. They give away 50% to the customer and another (at least) 30% to those websites.

Yes, you get in a short period more customers. However, those customers come because of the steep offer, not because they want to become loyal customers.

Successful companies work with other platforms to promote their deals. Deals, offers and discounts that generate more profit and make the customer loyal.

An example of such a platform is Deals Today, a platform used by most of the famous names like Ted Baker, TopShop, Swarovski, Qatar Airlines, L'Oreal de Paris, Nike, Under Armour, Converse, even Groupon…. (you name them)

Amazon vs Local Business #4

#5 Follow us / Like Us

Don't tell your customers to like you and follow you. Huh? Why? How? Give your customers a reason to follow you.

Before you post something, answer the question, "What will my customers get out of it?" Instead of "Like my book's page on Facebook" try "Get answers to all your [your strong point] questions".

Successful businesses never asked you to follow them; they gave you a reason to follow them.

Example: Amazon explains why Luna during COVID start using Amazon
Amazon vs Local Business #5

#6 Ask Questions

As a local business, do you wondering why our posts don't get reactions?

Because you don't ask questions. Social media is all about engagement and not self-promotion.

Instead of telling to pass by to get a Pizza, ask what your follower's favourite topping is ?"

Example: Asos ask in a millennial style of the follower like the crocs
Amazon vs Local Business #6

#7 Self-promotion

Local businesses talks to many time about themselves.

Successful companies make their customers part of your community. Remember, Facebook doesn't create content; it is their community.

Example: Zalando, who uses Instagram pictures of their customers.
Amazon vs Local Business #7


As a local business owner, we know we never become as big as the Amazon's of this world. That's ok, and you don't have to.

But, you do need to make sure you stay in business. You own that to yourself, to your staff and customers.

With the technology available today, you can stay in business, you make a difference towards your competitor and your customers.

Start looking around and copy their ideas. You are worth it!