In a year of great uncertainty, there is little doubt surrounding the astonishing rise of Inc.   
According to research firm eMarketer, the online retailing giant now controls nearly 40 per cent of all e-commerce activity in the United States.
In Canada, a recent report from Deloitte found that 66 per cent of online shoppers plan to make at least one purchase on Amazon’s website this holiday season, while 25 per cent expect to spend the biggest portion of their budget with Amazon.
“The one thing that customers are looking for is that notion of reliability,” Farla Efros, president of HRC Retail Advisory, told BNN Bloomberg in a recent television interview. “And the one thing that we can say about Amazon during this whole pandemic is that they have been unbelievably reliable.”
Amazon’s dominance seems like a scary reality for small business owners who are trying to keep their stores from closing down during the pandemic.
But retailers who embrace change may find support from cheerleaders in their own neighbourhood.
That’s because increasingly, consumers are also willing to shop locally, while mall visits remain few and far between.
In fact, the Deloitte survey found that more than 40 per cent of shoppers prefer local retailers, compared to national retail chains.  
In Canada specifically, 25 per cent of the respondents confirmed they’ve been shopping more at local stores.
“One in four have used delivery services more frequently, and the same proportion have been shopping more locally,” Rod Sides, U.S. retail leader at Deloitte, said in a recent television interview.
With traditional travel and entertainment spending on hold, consumers are often on the hunt locally for something to lift their spirits — whether it’s fashion accessories spotted in a store window, or the food fixings for a higher-end meal at home.
Small stores are one of the few places we can go right now for a dose of the daily social interactions we used to take for granted. And successful merchants are finding ways to build on that connection.
“The only way to beat Amazon or to stay alive in this climate is to build trust with your consumers,” Raj Ruparell, founder and chairman of the online mattress retailer Endy said in a recent television interview. “And you have to invest in that trust by giving a great experience.” 

Beyond services such as curbside pickup, some shops have increasingly turned to social media to interact with local residents and run creative promotions.

And for some shoppers, that extra effort by a small retailer might be just enough to keep you from clicking buy on Amazon.

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