4 December 2021 | 3 mins

How to stop using Amazon and help small businesses

Amazon Logo

I have decided to stop using Amazon and I am going to tell you how and why I did on this blog post.

Why?

There are many reasons to stop using Amazon. The first reason, Amazon takes huge commissions from the businesses that sell their products on their platform. Based on the product category that the business sells its products, Amazon takes referral fees between 8% to 15% of the product price. If you are selling an item that costs 50€ with a listing price of 100€ in the clothing category, you end up profiting 33€ from your sale.

The second reason is that even though Amazon has good customer support when you return a product, there is a high chance that the product that you returned will end up on one of Amazon’s destruction zones. Yes, they are destructing the products that you return because it costs more to them to bring that product into their warehouse and sell again. So, they are creating huge waste for the planet.

The third reason is how Amazon treats its workers. Not only the workers at their warehouses, you are going to be surprised, but also the software engineers that work there. They treat badly the workers at their warehouses by not giving them proper working conditions. For the software engineers, they have this ‘hire to fire’ policy. So, the managers have to fire 10% of their team every year. Imagine that you are going to be fired at the end of the year if you perform badly. Or you are hired to be fired so the manager can keep their existing team members.

The fourth reason is a more personal choice but I believe that it makes sense. Whenever I search for a product on Amazon, I see products that look exactly the same but with different brands. When I check the details, which company is selling the product, I see that they are companies mostly from Shenzhen, China. I prefer to buy products that are made in Germany. First, they are mostly high-quality products. Second, when I spend my money, I want that money to stay in Germany. The company that sells the product pays their income taxes in Germany, they employ people in Germany. So, those employees also pay their income taxes and social charges in Germany. So, in the end, by spending money on the products that are made in Germany, I am not only helping local businesses but also supporting the system that we have here. If I can’t find the product that I want to buy in Germany, then I check the other countries in Europe, then maybe I check the US or Canada.

Unfortunately, nowadays, Amazon became a place like AliExpress. You see a lot of products from China and they are mostly low quality and super cheap. So, you are going to throw them after some time. Also, they will come from China so their environmental impact is higher than the products that are made in Germany. (I guess, there is no need to mention the working conditions in China for producing those cheap products)

The last reason is that Amazon doesn’t shame to copy other brands’ products under their Amazon Basics brand and sell them with the similar names. Imagine that you are spending years to design a product and then Amazon just copies your product and list on their website. Sometimes, they even copy the prodcuts that are listed on Amazon and they put their product into the first place in the search results. This is probably one of the biggest reasons why I decided to stop using Amazon.

How?

It is not easy to stop using Amazon. Their search engine is so convenient that you can just search for a product and buy it in a few minutes. Amazon also makes sure that the seller is trustable. You can search for a product on Google and try to buy it but you will never know if you are going to get the product that you ordered. So, you always need to make an extra search for the company and see if they are trustable.

Because of all those reasons, I stopped using Amazon by using Amazon. That’s right. I search for a product on Amazon. Then, I click on the link New & Used (XXX) from €XX.XX right under the product price. There, you see the list of the companies that are selling the product, their name, and their ratings. Once you find the right seller that is not charging a lot more than the listing price of the product, you click their company name. Then, you see their company details like email, address, and phone number. When you check their email address, you will see that they are probably using their company email instead of Gmail or Outlook. So, from the email address, you can get the website of the company. Afterward, you can visit their website find the same product and buy it.

The way to get the website of the business on Amazon

Most of the time, when I try this method, I use Paypal or Shop Pay (if the website is using Shopify) as my payment method so I don’t need to register for the website, enter my credit card, and my address.

The second way is using the price comparison websites like idealo.de or geizhals.de. There you can find the cheapest price and see the ratings of the company that sells the product that you are searching for. Sometimes, you can find the same product cheaper on those websites compared to Amazon.

I have to say that most of the small business that sells products have a very bad website. Once, I tried to buy some stuff from a seller and their payment system didn’t work when I was trying to pay via Paypal. I invested some time and send an email to them but they said their payment system works fine. In the end, I ended up buying the same products from another website that has a working payment system by paying a few euros more. I wish that all those websites use Shopify as their e-commerce platform.

The only problem for me is why I can’t completely stop using Amazon is that I have a Kindle. Whenever I want to buy a book, I buy the kindle version of the book because most of the time, it is cheaper and I don’t need to wait for the delivery and increase my environmental impact with the printing and the shipping of the physical book. Also, Amazon takes 30% comission for each ebook that they sell and also they charged publishers $0.15 per megabyte, the file size of the ebook. (I’m not kidding. If you store your ebooks your own on Amazon Web Services, you pay $0.023 per GB). That’s huge for the publishers and the authors. To stop using Amazon Kindle Store, I will need to find an alternative store that sells ebooks that are compatible with my Kindle and not charging the publishers that much. If I can manage this transaction and find a convenient way, I will probably write another blog post.

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