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Debates / Upcoming Debates
Amazon Is Good for Small Business
Hosted By John Donvan
Wednesday, December 8, 2021 -
04:00 to 05:30
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Streaming Live in 00d : 00h : 00m : 00s
Wednesday, December 8, 2021
04:00 AM − 05:30 AM EST
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Upcoming Debate December 8, 2021
Amazon Is Good for Small Business

Amazon has come a long way since online book sales. In fact, when it comes to revenue, Jeff Bezos’ creation is the world’s biggest internet-based company. But what makes the "everything store" so ubiquitous? In large part, it’s the small and medium-sized businesses that use the platform to sell their goods. This year, more than 1.9 million of these businesses participated in its marketplace, which accounted for some 60 percent of Amazon's retail sales. But was it ultimately good for them? On one hand, Amazon opens up a truly global market to smaller retailers. It also offers massive logistics support — such as processing payments, storing inventory, and shipping. But on the other, the tech giant's immense market power makes it a gatekeeper between retailers and consumers. That often means hefty fees for prime placement or what some sellers complain are the costs of superfluous services. Critics also rail against Amazon’s use of its own private label brands that can be weaponized to undermine competitors. In the midst of this historic transition in shopping, we ask: Is Amazon good for small business? 

 
About The Debaters
For The Motion
An image of Mark Jamison
Mark Jamison − Economist, American Enterprise Institute  
Mark Jamison is a nonresident senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, where he works on how technology... read bio
An image of Kunal Chopra
Kunal Chopra − Tech Executive & Former Amazon GM
Kunal Chopra is a technology and business executive who has spent decades working at the forefront of e-commerce.... read bio
Against The Motion
An image of Rana Foroohar
Rana Foroohar − Global Business Columnist, Financial Times & Author, “Don’t Be Evil”
Rana Foroohar is a widely celebrated author and commentator on the economy, technology, and business. She is a... read bio
An image of Stacy Mitchell
Stacy Mitchell − Strategist & Author  
Stacy Mitchell is one of the leading strategists working on issues related to Amazon, e-commerce, and small business... read bio
Main Points
For The Motion
  • By putting their products on Amazon, small businesses are able to get in front of a much larger audience, thanks to the platform's millions of users and Prime members.
  • Because small- and medium-sized businesses using their platform contribute significant (more than half in 2020) of their revenue, Amazon has created hundreds of tools and services to help small business owners find success on their platforms.
  • Small business can and have found success on the platform, growing their business to increase their profits.
Against The Motion
  • Amazon charges very high fees to allow small business to sell on their platform. Additionally, the search function on the website will often not prioritize products from small companies.
  • Amazon has access to all transactional data that happens on their website; they are able to see which products are selling well and make thier own versions under their own brand, effectively spying on their competition to outperform them.
  • Amazon has simply become too prevalent and changed the consumer culture. Small businesses are not able to compete at Amazon's level, especially in terms of shipping times and prices.