NYTimes writes about how a combination of factors is helping small businesses selling online:
much of the growth is being driven by search engines like Google and other sites like Amazon and the online marketplace eBay, which are sending shoppers to tens of thousands of online stores, many of them small, independent operations.
Shoppers understand that they cannot feel the softness of a cashmere sweater on a Web site, but the Internet offers speed, low prices, detailed product information and a way to avoid the holiday crush at the malls.
Improved search quality, pioneered by Google, has made search engines an easy and efficient way for people to find things online and for advertisers to find customers. At the same time, eBay, a haven for small businesses, has become the fastest-growing major shopping site, and much of Amazon’s growth has come from serving as a middleman for independent retailers.