With a net worth of $1.7 trillion, Amazon has dominated the e-commerce sector for years, leaving many of its competitors in the shade. But are there alternatives to Amazon?
With an audience as vast as Amazon, small business start-ups and solo entrepreneurs flock to the site to sell the products, get established, and build their enterprises. Despite the audience Amazon offers, you may want to look for other online venues to list your items.
There are many good reasons to broaden your e-commerce horizons.
First, it makes little sense to put all your eggs in one basket. Second, selling on a wider range of marketplaces gets your products in front of a larger audience. And finally, looking at the other choices available could save you money on fees, or get you closer to your target buyers.
Below are some viable alternatives to Amazon. We’ll look at their advantages, their fee structures, and what makes them different.
Why You Should Use an Alternative to Amazon for Your E-commerce Business
We already touched on one of the main reasons to seek other venues: the perils of depending on one sales platform.
It’s not unheard of for sellers to have their accounts blocked. If you haven’t already established yourself on one of the alternatives to Amazon, your business could tank.
However, by setting up multiple accounts with different marketplaces, you’ve got greater flexibility if things go wrong. Plus, you can use other online platforms to test out which ones are the best for your products.
And there are other benefits in finding additional marketplaces, like:
All e-commerce sales platforms have some measure of control over your business. They determine:
- What products you can list
- The terms and conditions of doing business
- Your payment options
- Shipping fees
These terms might not be suitable for your business. So, If you’re looking for greater flexibility, then seeking alternatives to Amazon is a good idea.
Better Customer and Vendor Support
Perhaps you feel the vendor or customer support is lacking. Amazon provides useful resources for sellers, like its university. But some sellers feel seller support is sometimes thin, especially when things go wrong.
More Shipping Options and Lower Fees With Some Amazon Alternatives
Amazon has changed its fee structure over the years, bringing frustration to some.
Amazon sets its professional selling plan at $39.99, with individual plans available free. And referral fees differ, depending on which category you’re selling in.
Shipping is a further reason to consider seeking alternatives as individual sellers on Amazon lack flexibility over their shipping costs.
If you’re looking to cut fees or branch out, then signing with some alternatives to Amazon may allow you to further scale your business while reducing costs.
Amazon Alternative Payment Choices
If you’re a seller on Amazon, you’ll know it makes payment via ACH or electronic funds transfer. Amazon distributes these payments to your bank account every two weeks, and they can take up to five days to clear.
But that doesn’t always work for everyone. If you’re a small business and cash is tight, signing up to e-commerce platforms with a broader range of payment options can improve your cash flow.
What to Look for in an Amazon Alternative
Before you search for alternatives to Amazon, you need to decide what you want from your business. You’ll need to consider the products you’re selling and your target customer, too.
For example, if you’re selling printable products, Etsy could be an excellent choice. Or, if you’re looking for consumers who understand tech, you may find Newegg works well for you.
Other areas you’ll want to think about include:
Ease of Use
Marketplaces that allow you to add items efficiently mean you can list more products in less time. But you’ll want to view any alternatives to Amazon from your customer’s perspective too.
How important is the ease of use? Well, if you note some recent research from Digital Commerce 360 and Bitrate, you’ll see this is a significant factor in the buying decision.
When researching new platforms, perhaps test them out for yourself and consider areas like:
- Ease of checkout
- Payment options
- Shipping choices
Think about your ideal consumer and the type of users the platform attracts. For example, eBay is huge, with 182 million active buyers. It’s great for snapping up limited-time deals, brand name products, and pre-loved items.
However, it’s not always the first place shoppers think of when looking for handmade goods or unique items. They’re more likely to head somewhere like Etsy.
Fees can take a considerable chunk of your profits if you’re not careful. Depending on the fee structure, some sites may not be suitable if you’re selling smaller, lower value items.
If you need some help in this area, fee calculators are helpful. Here’s a list of the well-known ones.
Best Alternatives to Amazon for E-commerce
What are some of the best Amazon alternatives when you’re looking to sell your products online? Let’s look at some of the top options, in no particular order.
Established in 2007, Bonanza has built itself a loyal following, with a vast range of categories. Sign up is free, and fees are straight forward. Final offer value fees are 3.5 percent for sales under $500. Sales over $500 attract an additional 1.5 percent fee.
Although it’s much smaller than Amazon, Bonanza has some advantages over its larger rival. They include a greater emphasis on building customer relationships and developing a sustainable business through repeat customers.
Equally appealing to sellers is the marketing tools Bonanza provides. These give you access to valuable data about product performance, allowing you to spot trends, optimize listings, and better market your items.
Other features include:
- Automatic syncing with eBay, Amazon, and Shopify
- Customized marketing tools
- Image editing tools
- Google integration
- High level of customer support.
But what makes Bonanza stand out is its focus on unique items. It’s not trying to be another Amazon. As Bonanza puts it, it’s a site where you’ll find “everything but the ordinary”.
One of the most prominent alternatives to Amazon is eBay. Like Amazon, eBay has made considerable changes since its launch back in 1995. Over the years, eBay’s focus has moved away from the collectibles market it used to cater to, and it’s now more product-based.
Many famous brands like Rolex, Hasbro, and Microsoft make their goods available via ebay.com brand outlet site, enabling consumers to bag a bargain. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t still a place for more unusual or collectible items.
On eBay, listing fees and final value fees vary, but it sets many of its final value fees at 10 percent or less. If you need to calculate fees before listing, use an eBay fee calculator.
Some advantages of selling on eBay are:
- A more comprehensive range of categories
- More payment options for shoppers, like a credit/debit card, PayPal, and local collection. Sellers can also accept Apple Pay, Google Pay, and gift cards through managed payments.
- Improved branding through eBay stores and marketing materials
What makes eBay stand out, though, is its auctions. Auctions may not be ideal for every business. However, sellers who specialize in collectible or rare items may find the bidding pushes their final sales price up higher than they could’ve imagined.
If your business primarily sells printable products or art and craft items, then Etsy might be for you. Of the many alternatives to Amazon, Etsy has perhaps one of the most affordable and straightforward pricing approaches.
Each listing costs just 20 cents, and the listing is good for four months. Then there’s a five percent transaction fee for goods that sell. Payment processing fees are variable and depend on location. If you want to grow your business further, Etsy Plus is available at $10 a month.
Re-listing is simple, too. Just select the auto-renew option, and there shouldn’t be anything else to do on your part.
Advantages of selling on Etsy are:
- Greater customization over how your store looks
- Ideal for beginners
- Lower fees
- Sellers can list collectibles and vintage items on Etsy
That’s the advantages, but there are a couple of possible disadvantages worth mentioning. First, Etsy is much smaller than Amazon, which means there’s intense competition, so your products need to stand out.
Second, although fees are cheaper, you may make more sales on Amazon Handmade because of its larger audience share.
Amazon dominates e-commerce, but Walmart is gaining ground. Recent sales figures show Walmart’s e-commerce sales have soared by 74 percent. This stat means if you’re looking for alternatives to Amazon, Walmart could be promising.
Like Amazon, Walmart now offers a fulfillment service. Although storage and fulfillment fees apply, Walmart’s fee structure is less complicated than Fulfillment by Amazon, and referral fees are competitive.
In addition, with Walmart’s marketplace, there’s no start-up or ongoing monthly fees. However, you’ll want to factor in other costs, like unique product codes (UPCs).
Advantages of selling on the Walmart marketplace include:
- Lower costs
- Less competition due to buyer/seller ratio
- Price control over inventory
What makes the platform different? Unlike Amazon, Walmart’s marketplace is only open to invited brands. You can’t just register and start selling. But you can sign up.
To register your interest in selling, Walmart asks businesses to fill out the interest form.
Newegg has gained a reputation as the top global tech marketplace online. But it also sells apparel, home and lifestyle products, sports/health-related items, TVs, and plenty more.
As for fees, non-elite membership is free. Elite membership has two tiers ranging from $29.95-$99.95 a month. Commissions vary, with the highest being 12 percent.
Advantages of selling on Newegg include:
- Can be cheaper for tech products
- Attracts tech buyers who are knowledgeable about products
- The Newegg search engine makes finding electronics and components quicker
- Customized marketing for businesses
- Various payment choices for sellers including weekly ACH payments, PayPal, Wire Transfer, PingPong, Payoneer, and World First
- A wide range of payments for buyers, including PayPal and BitPay
But it’s the multi-channel fulfillment option that may interest sellers the most. If you’re selling from various platforms, Newegg provides a central point to manage all your orders.
When you sell on a third-party platform, you have limited control. Many online sellers favor setting up their stores the Shopify platform.
The site offers new sellers a 14-day free trial to get them started. After that, a basic Shopify store will cost you $29 a month. Online credit card rates are 2.9 percent + 30 cents. And you should find it easy enough to start selling.
Once you’ve signed up for the free trial, the next steps are to:
- Add products
- Selecting images
- Set shipping details
- Customize pages for search engines using keywords
- Create main pages
- Customize store
The benefits of Shopify include:
- Highly-rated customer support and selling features
- Greater customization
- Large range of e-commerce tools and apps
- Access to the e-commerce university
- You can accept a large range of currencies
There are a variety of reasons you might be looking for alternatives to Amazon. Maybe you want a platform that provides a wider range of payment options, a site that’s more niche, or you just want a more extensive selection of online marketplaces to sell your wares.
As you can see, there are many venues available, and they all have their advantages. Sites like Bonanza have established a loyal audience, and Walmart’s e-commerce presence is growing strong.
Niche sites such as Etsy and Newegg are ideal for specialist items, and eBay offers greater customization and various selling methods, including auctions.
If you want to go it alone, there’s always Shopify, where you can set up and market your own e-commerce business.
Are you an online seller? Tell us about your favorite platform and your experiences below.