What started as a small online bookseller has now become the almost undisputed ruler of the online marketplace. Just because you can sell virtually any product on Amazon, however, doesn’t mean it’s your only choice.
Amazon has stirred up controversy over the years, with everything from its environmental efforts (or lack thereof) to its allegedly unethical wages being scrutinized. In the wake of all this, many sellers are looking for an alternative that allows them to sell their products with integrity—and without the cutthroat competition that buries tons of Amazon sellers.
Still, it can be quite overwhelming to challenge the retail giant that is Amazon. A company with 38% of the US e-commerce market share cannot be overlooked. Many customers, however, are becoming disgusted with Amazon and its numerous flaws. This could be the ideal time to break out of the mold and sell your products through an ethical alternative to Amazon.
Amazon’s Non-Ethical Competitors
Before we get into the alternatives worth considering, it’s important to note marketplace competitors that are sadly just as bad as Amazon. Be sure to avoid these companies as well:
- Walmart (unfavorable working conditions and wages)
- eBay (tax evasion)
- AliExpress (predatory pricing)
9 Ethical Marketplace Options
Considerably smaller than Amazon, Bonanza has a great reputation with its 300,000 monthly visitors. You can sell anything from dining table sets to nail polish on their extremely accessible site. Benefits for sellers include free design templates, warm buyer-seller relationships that encourage repeat purchases, and a tiered fee structure that rewards sellers with lower fees as their products advance.
Another online marketplace that offers practically everything you could imagine is Fruugo, a user-friendly site with an appealing bonus for sellers: a consistent 15% commission fee, which is unlike any of its competitors. Additionally, you won’t have to pay any listing fees for your products. Fruugo is an up-and-coming platform that is sure to garner more and more recognition as people look for substitutes to Amazon.
This popular marketplace is renowned worldwide for its beautiful handcrafted products. Etsy boasts of being the first large online shopping platform that offsets 100% of its shipping-related carbon emissions. While Etsy was created for sellers of handmade products, there’s a place for imported or exported products that fit within their house rules of allowing reselling in their vintage and craft supplies categories. If you want to start a home-grown business that’s more locally-focused, Etsy may be the perfect choice for you.
4. Package Free
As one of the most environmentally conscious platforms out there, Package Free has high standards for its vendors. To apply, your products need to be 100% zero waste and package free. Your company is also required to provide ample evidence of its sustainable, eco-friendly practices. Package Free is a hub for single-use replacements, reusable products, and bulk buying.
Looking to go green with your company’s shipping practices? Check out these useful tips.
This electronics-focused site is gigantic, with over 10 million monthly visitors. If you’re starting an import-export business with electronics, Newegg may likely be your best option. While it shares some features with Amazon (think fulfillment service similar to Fulfillment by Amazon), Newegg offers a major incentive to sellers by not charging listing fees.
6. Thrive Market
Thrive Market is a certified organic, non-GMO online grocery with an annual fee for its more than 700,000 members (similar to Costco). Going beyond food and drink, they also sell beauty products, supplements, and pet supplies. If your product falls into one of these categories and is fully sustainable, consider applying to be a Thrive Market vendor.
Having started as a surplus seller, Overstock has now branched out to selling new items as well. Their main focus is apparel, furniture, and home decor. They also have a unique program called Worldstock, where worldwide artisans can sell their fair-trade products and receive at least 60% of the total revenue. Partnering with Overstock is an easy way to give your products exposure to the site’s millions of customers.
Thinking about importing apparel into Canada? Don’t miss this guide.
This one-of-a-kind platform specializes in thoughtful gifts and creative products. Its requirements for sellers include ethical, transparent employment practices, a commitment to sustainability, and certified high-quality products. As a founding certified B corporation, UncommonGoods loves sharing the stories behind its products and advocates full transparency in all its practices.
For a more independent option for your e-commerce store, check out Shopify, a platform that allows you to create a designed individual storefront for your company. Unlike Amazon and most of the other alternatives in this article, Shopify gives sellers the resources to have their own website rather than relying on the Shopify name to bring you sales. This is ideal for an import-export business that wants more control over its brand and needs building blocks for its website.
Trying to figure out all the complex logistics of your import-export business? BorderBuddy is here to help. We offer solutions for any size business, so give us a call today.