Online independent shops unite

sioslogo.gifAmenworld, ‘the company that makes it simple for businesses to get started on the 'net’, has launched a 'Support Independent Online Shops' campaign.Cynical publicity stunt? Well, yes, it’s impossible to deny.Impossible for everyone except Amenworld’s marketing honcho Andrew Fassnidge that is, who no doubt dreamt up this cunning PR plan. Except, annoyingly, he does have a point.Armed with a convincing arsenal of stats and reason, Fassnidge argues while there’s plenty of hype over growing online retail sales it’s the big boys increasingly prospering.Plucking one particularly potent point, a survey from Directline.com found consumers were more likely to buy from a "household name" retailer’s website rather than an e-commerce site without a physical presence in the shopping centre.“People buying a pair of socks shop online with Burtons or Marks and Spencer, just because they know the brand name. People could easily choose some individually knitted socks from an independent online craft shop with potentially better quality and value for money,” fires Fassnidge.He’s right. Early internet innovators might have caught high street monoliths napping but it’s increasingly difficult for independents to enter markets with established brands.Not that we’re sure exactly what the ‘Support Independent Online Shops’ campaign will do about this. Its Facebook group currently has 155 excited members sharing their small biz stories while there’s a more muted affair over at MySpace.Ah well, as Henry Ford once said: “Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success.”

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