Amazon is a popular marketplace for online sellers, but it’s not for every small business. Here are six solid alternatives to Amazon for selling your products online.
Amazon is the benchmark for online retail. Founded by Jeff Bezos in 1994 as an online marketplace for books, it now sells just about everything under the sun.
In recent years, Amazon has increasingly focused on providing a marketplace where small businesses can sell their wares, and businesses from around the world have flocked to the site to take advantage of this opportunity. But the site has downsides, like high competition, lack of control, and fees.
Therefore, you might be interested in websites like Amazon – or ones that are even better than Amazon – to sell your products. Luckily, Amazon isn’t the only game in town.
Here’s what you need to know about Amazon’s impact on e-commerce and how to choose a site that will meet your needs – or create your own.
Here are the 6 best alternatives to Amazon:
- Trade made
- best books in the world
- Grove Collaborative
- Prosperous market
What to Look for in a Great Amazon Alternative
Online retailers have to be great to compete with retail giant Amazon, but that’s not enough for most consumers. If you’re looking for an alternative to Amazon, you need to choose a site that’s not only great for selling online, but can also meet a few other needs that Amazon doesn’t.
Amazon is a big company, which has some drawbacks – customer support won’t be personalized for your small business – but also includes some benefits that any viable alternative will have to match.
2. User experience
User experience management is vital, so any Amazon alternative will need to help you with this aspect of your business. It should provide a seamless user interface that applies to both buyers and sellers, so it’s a good experience for both parties.
The site should provide support resources and help resolve issues. One benefit that an Amazon alternative can offer is to receive and implement feedback from their customers (you).
You might be interested in ethical alternatives to Amazon, especially when it comes to the environment. Sustainability is increasingly important to sellers these days, and demand is growing for environmentally friendly products and services. You can value a platform with environmentally friendly internal processes as part of your brand. If so, explore online retailers that make it a priority.
Top 6 Amazon Alternatives to Sell Online
So where can you sell your wares if you don’t want to use Amazon? Although the company dominates the online retail market, there are plenty of alternatives to choose from. Here are six of the best options.
Most people have heard of Etsy, which is similar to Amazon in that it aims to make it easier for small businesses to sell products online. Etsy places a heavy emphasis on showcasing small businesses, while Amazon allows big dogs to dominate listings.
Etsy has a global reach and features the works of artisans in particular. It is socially conscious when it comes to public policy that helps small businesses, and its corporate practices are environmentally responsible for those who care about sustainability.
Made Trade is another eco-friendly site that offers ethical household products, especially those for kitchens, bedrooms, and other household uses. These are “fair trade” products made in the United States, and the site highlights businesses owned by women and people of color. The company donates part of its profits to environmental causes.
3. Best books in the world
Amazon started out as an online bookstore, so perhaps Better World Books is the closest Amazon alternative to heart. This e-commerce store sells used books at competitive prices and a percentage of its profits is dedicated to improving literacy.
The site allows users to shop books from local bookstores, supporting these small businesses. In addition to supporting literacy and libraries, the company also donates to environmental efforts.
Before Amazon became the dominant force in online retail, there was eBay. This site was initially focused on auctions before moving to an online shopping model like Amazon. eBay has a range of products, from electronics to shoes to antiques, just like Amazon.
The site still allows users to bid on items in hopes of closing a deal, which is not possible on Amazon. Internally, eBay has adopted sustainable practices and partners with organizations for environmental causes.
5. Grove Collaboration
Grove Collaborative is a Certified B Corporation, which means it meets high standards for social and environmental performance, transparency, and legal accountability. The site offers sellers a place to sell environmentally friendly and non-toxic household and personal care products.
It also takes an approach to purchasing that aims to reduce the carbon footprint. Memberships are available, customers can shop at their own pace.
6. Prosperous market
Thrive Market is a community-based online store that takes a membership approach. The site focuses on sustainable and organic products, especially diet and lifestyle products. It has carbon neutral shipping approaches. This site is ideal for small businesses that sell healthy and organic products locally and want to reach a wider audience through a site that shares their values.
Our Top 3 Picks for Building Your Own Online Store
But what if, rather than settling for one of Amazon’s many substitutes, you’re looking to start your own online store? The best e-commerce platforms are capable of doing a lot of things you’ll need as an online seller, such as inventory management, shipping, and payment processing. Here are our top three picks for e-commerce software options for small businesses.
1. Wix eCommerce
The advantage of Wix eCommerce is that it is easy to use. The site was designed to allow small business owners with no coding experience to quickly build a professional-looking e-commerce store and then customize it to their specifications by simply dragging and dropping elements. You’ll have to pay to host the site and remove the Wix ads, but at $23/month most can afford it.
Read The Ascent’s full Wix eCommerce review
For those who want to get deeply involved in social media, Shopify is probably your best bet. Apart from being a fundamentally simple and professional e-commerce platform, it also makes it easy to sell on Pinterest, Facebook, and Instagram. There’s no free version available, but at $29/month it’s affordable for most.
Read The Ascent’s full Shopify review
If you are only looking for a free platform, Ecwid is your best bet. It’s a good option for new sellers and small businesses launching their first online store. It’s easy to use, and rather than creating a new website from scratch, you just need to insert the Ecwid plugin into an existing site. In addition to the free version, you can sign up for three different paid tiers that offer more advanced e-commerce features.
Read the full Ecwid review of The Ascent
Choose software with good analytics
In e-commerce, data tracking is absolutely critical to success. By gathering analytics on metrics such as cost per acquisition, customer lifetime value, and customer acquisition cost, you’ll be able to make important decisions about the future of your business, such as whether to implement dropshipping to save on cost or if you needed to offer a premium version of your product.
Therefore, pay close attention to custom reporting features in the software you are testing. Do they offer enough detail to help you make those decisions? Do these tools come standard or do you have to pay a lot more for this essential feature? The answers to these questions should factor heavily into your final decision on which software to buy.