Ecommerce - A square peg for Small Business
I had a different plan before I started BabbleBuy. As Covid was wreaking havoc on my favorite small businesses, I thought I would help them out by helping them get online with an eCommerce shop. I had the know how, and the cost of setting up a simple web presence is negligible. But as it turned out, it was not the right cure for what was ailing them.
Many of them had already set up an online shop, as I mentioned the barriers to entry were pretty low. After speaking with several small business owners, dozens of them really, 3 reasons floated to the top as to why eCommerce did not fit.
Setup was easy, but the ongoing maintenance was an effort that was not worth the return. What makes a small business special is the unique nature of their assortment. A shop may only have one of an item in stock. When it is sold, it’s time to update the website again. Pricing, Inventory, Photography and Copy, well if it’s sold.
That was the second problem. Small businesses' customers are local. They come from a few miles, maybe even just a few blocks away. While they may be important to the community, they are invisible online. It is impossible to be found in all of the online clutter and massive spend of major brands, so they ended up reaching the same customers they would have reached anyway.
Pick, pack and ship. It all seems so easy when Amazon does it, but the last mile is the hardest and the most expensive. It would be great if it made packages easier for curbside pickup, but alas, that’s not how these sites work.
It is not to say that eCommerce can not be a great addition to a small business, I am just saying that one size does not fit all. What makes a small business special are the connections they make with each customer as they come through the door and with the community as a whole as they contribute to what makes each neighborhood unique.
That’s why I created BabbleBuy to help small businesses and the customers that love them to connect using shared stories to build relationships that keep our communities strong.