Alternatives to Amazon for eCommerce Vendors | Article – HSBC VisionGo

In this article, we look to introduce common alternatives to Amazon for eCommerce vendors.

Startups  ·    ·  4 mins read

For many in the SME community, it may seem like there are not many alternatives to Amazon for eCommerce vendors - luckily this is not the case. Much like how Amazon has its own strengths, there are plenty of alternative platforms that eCommerce businesses can utilize that suits their specific needs. As eCommerce companies must develop their online presence to fuel their growth, selecting an appropriate eCommerce platform is essential. In this article, we look to introduce common alternatives to Amazon for eCommerce vendors.

TmallTaobao

Tmall is a product of the Alibaba Group and serves as their international Business-to-Consumer (“B2C”) platform. In other words, it is an online Chinese marketplace that helps international businesses serve the Chinese market.

As one of the most popular Chinese marketplaces for vendors, Tmall has become quickly embraced by international businesses due to the platform’s cross border business model. By providing streamlined channels, overseas retailers can sell directly to Chinese consumers. Upon acceptance as a Tmall vendor, eCommerce businesses will also have access to Alibaba’s order fulfillment services, much like how eCommerce vendors experience the same with Amazon.

Furthermore, products found on Tmall have the advantage of being certified to meet a minimum standard of quality as vendors must meet the following requirements:

  • Be a registered company in China or abroad

  • Possess a trading license

  • Be the brand owner, or have brand re-selling authorization

  • Must agree to sell authentic products

China has one of the highest ratios of eCommerce and digital payment users in the world, with more online shoppers than the USA, UK and Australia combined - with the popularity of Taobao largely contributing to this trend.

Another product of Alibaba, Taobao is the world’s biggest eCommerce website and one of the most visited websites in the world. Much like Tmall, Taobao is a B2C platform that offers its vendors full access to Alibaba’s eCommerce resources. However, the differentiation is that while Tmall is designed for overseas vendors, Taobao is purely domestic.

As a domestic platform, Taobao is mainly recognised as an online marketplace for domestically produced goods and markets itself towards working and middle-class Chinese consumers. 

Unfortunately, the domestic nature of this platform means that vendors are required to have an established Chinese company in order to sell on Taobao. Specifically, vendors must meet the following requirements:

  • Have an established Chinese company with a valid Chinese business license

  • Possess a Chinese office rental contract to demonstrate a physical presence

  • Possess a Chinese company bank account


JD

Another China-based B2C eCommerce platform, JD is one of Alibaba’s biggest competitors in regards to eCommerce. With a direct sales model, JD helps source products directly from well-established and reliable third-party sellers to customers through their website and mobile channels. 

One of JD’s primary strengths that it has over its competitors is that it permits foreign vendors to tap directly into the China market, even if they do not have a physical presence - a policy that is instead present on Taobao. Upon becoming a recognised JD vendor, businesses will also have access to JD’s fulfillment infrastructure, marketing and customer targeting services, financing, and other value added services. 

To sell on JD, foreign vendors must meet the following requirements:

  • Be a brand owner or have a license

  • Be a foreign company with a trademark registration

  • Have a track record of selling products of high production quality

  • Possess an operational history that demonstrate the legitimacy of their foreign business

  • Maintain a USD bank account

  • Possess a valid business registration license


HKTV Mall

For eCommerce vendors who are looking to expand to Hong Kong, HKTV Mall is among the most popular eCommerce platforms in the city. Because HKTV Mall aims to provide its vendors with a one-stop online solution for their eCommerce needs, the platform has been designed to support and accommodate not only local Hong Kong businesses, but foreign companies as well - making the platform perfect for those who are looking to enter the Hong Kong market. 

To support the various vendors that use HKTV Mall, the platform aims to make selling on their platform as simple as possible. For example, not only does HKTV Mall provide access to their order fulfillment services, but vendors also have access to HKTV Mall’s big data marketing services which provide vendors with information on their target customers spending habits, and have the ability to offer multiple payment methods such as Visa, PayPal and HSBC’s PayMe. These services eliminate the need for vendors to integrate their own internal systems. 


Shopline

Shopline is a Hong Kong based company that helps merchants across Asia create their own eCommerce sites or build their brand without paying high platform fees on other eCommerce marketplaces. This makes Shopline perfectly suited to vendors who are looking to engage in cross-border business and expand their business globally. 

Since 2013, Shopline has helped over 200,000 merchants across 10 regions in Asia, with these merchants having gone on to serve over 80 million customers. Shopline has managed to achieve this by providing various payment and logistic support / services to its vendors. 

Through schemes of varying prices and features, Shopline’s users can tailor their own experience. For instance, eCommerce vendors can utilize Shopline’s digital marketing, order management, CRM or even data analytic support. These tools are provided to help Shopline’s users maximize their customer reach and make smart business decisions.


Shopify

Shopify is a multinational eCommerce company headquartered in Canada - the company also runs a proprietary eCommerce platform for online stores and retail POS systems, making it a perfect solution for SMEs. Most importantly, Shopify can integrate with various sales channels, such as Pinterest and Facebook, which allows for a larger variety of options in attempting to reach their target markets. 

What makes Shopify an attractive option is that it offers eCommerce companies with more than just a platform in which they can sell their products. Shopify also functions as an inventory management system and allows users to add-on extra functionality through integrating cloud solutions such as Xero. This means that eCommerce companies can tailor their online experience as they see fit. 


Etsy

For those who sell handmade items, vintage goods and craft supplies, Etsy is the most suitable alternative to Amazon for eCommerce vendors. In contrast to the other alternatives, Etsy does not require its vendors to have a business license. However, when selling on Etsy, vendors are required to adhere to any laws that apply to them as a small business selling online. 

For those that require assistance setting up their online infrastructure, Etsy makes things simple. In addition to providing basic services to help you get started, like assistance on shipping, Etsy provides various knowledge based tools that can help entrepreneurs learn how to build their business from the ground up!


How FastLane Can Help:

eCommerce businesses do not need to rely on Amazon to do well, especially since Amazon does not have full global coverage in key markets such as China. As eCommerce vendors understand the importance of having a strong online presence, those who decide to utilize the services of the above mentioned platforms can expect to enjoy comprehensive service packages, maximizing their exposure to clients.

To learn more about what steps your eCommerce company can take to become more competitive, or for assistance establishing companies in Hong Kong, China or the rest of SouthEast Asia, please contact the FastLane Group!


Fastlane Group
Fastlane Group