In response to Amazon’s one-day “showrooming” promotion last weekend, Third Street Books of McMinnville, Ore. declared the same day, Saturday Dec. 10, Ditch Amazon Day at their store. For one day, customers who brought in proof of a cancelled Amazon account got 15% off their entire purchase and a five-dollar gift certificate for use another day. The Tip Sheet caught up with owner Sylla McClellan over email to see how it went.
So how many customers did you get to pull the trigger on Amazon?
I own two businesses, the bookstore and a clothing/shoe store. We got four “ditchers” at the bookstore and three at the shoe store—different customers too! In terms of percentages of the day's total customers, it was really negligible.
How many talked about Amazon’s “showrooming” stunt?
This was the best part. Starting on Wednesday of last week, I had so many people—customers in the store, people at my book group, and people in the community—offer their support. Everyone agreed that the showrooming aspect of Amazon's plan was, well, dirty. In fact, some people were more fired upthan I was!
Do you consider the effort a success?
Really for me, the idea was less about actually getting people to close their Amazon account—which is remarkably difficult to do—and more about reminding people how important it is to support the businesses that form the fabric of our community. I have had people tell me that they are not ready to close their Amazon account, but that they decided to dedicate this holiday season to the stores in McMinnville, and only buy items they can get locally. Interestingly, this is not a new conversation here. There is a strong group of small business owners here who support each other and for the last three to four years have been singing the “shop local” song loud and clear—with mixed results. I have read that for something to register in someone's head enough to cause a change, they have to see or hear it seventimes. Maybe this was the seventh time?
I am still [on Wednesday, Dec.14] having conversations with people about it, which is great. If people have negative feelings about it, no one has said anything to me—or if they have, I've just been too obtuse to notice! Sales have been up since last week. Not a ton, but at the moment, anything is great.