Marco Börries: Standing up against Amazon

Amazon has claimed the majority of the 20% of commerce that has gone online. Can we stop them getting the 80% - mainly local - that has yet to do so? A NEXT18 liveblog.


Marco Boerries is a German entrepreneur with a passion for making ideas work. enfore is his fourth start-up and was founded in 2009 as NumberFour AG.

Millions of dollars of value have shifted from traditional businesses to the digital ones. The weakest of the digital giants, Facebook – has the value of the top five German companies combined. This has happened in 12 years. The numbers do not lie and this trend is not stopping.

Amazon and company are dominating Ecommerce, by squeezing out the small guys. They “help” them to connect into this new age, but at a cost that is way more than they can afford. The margins don’t work, once the channels become too much of their revenue. Too many hotel bookings are going through centralised platforms.

The EU is probing the relationship between Amazon and its merchants. We are on a path towards a “winner takes all” world. The interesting thing, though, is that only 20% of todays commerce is online. That holds true of the US and Germany. The question is: does this continue for the 80% of commerce that is not connected?

Amazon owns >48% of online commerce in the US. We have never seen a proportion like this. Does this continue? That future is not yet set in stone.

Claiming Local Commerce

What can we do? How will the next 80% of commerce be connected? I believe that it will not go the same way as the first 20% – because most of it is local. And most local businesses are not going to become online retailers in the traditional way – we need two or three big online retailers. That’s it. Instead, those local businesses will become connected local commerce – the sort of commerce that can deliver a case of wine for a party in three hours.

Amazon is trying to own that market. We’re trying to do something else – a business platform that allows us to connect 200m small business around the world, and create leverage via that connection. If a business has to pay a toll for the majority of its business, that isn’t going to work. I would be very, very sad if I have to use an Amazon shopfront to shop locally. We – and others – are working to stop that.

Sure, use the big guys for customer acquisition – but try to deliver Amazon-level service locally. The majority of German consumers would love to support local businesses. Let’s convert that enthusiasm into businesses.

Local commerce could be a game-changer.