As an independent ecommerce business owner, I used to see Amazon as an invaluable sales channel. But over the past few years, I‘ve become increasingly troubled by their business practices. So much so that I‘ve decided to stop selling through Amazon altogether.
In my view, there are at least 11 compelling reasons why more consumers and fellow small business owners should reconsider funneling money towards Amazon. I‘ll share my insider perspective on each below.
Introduction: Amazon‘s Growth Has a Dark Side
Amazon has achieved astounding growth, now capturing over 40% of U.S. ecommerce. They‘ve built a phenomenally convenient platform. But in doing so, Amazon has also squeezed suppliers, exploited workers, polluted the environment, and disrupted communities.
Much of this flies under the radar for the average shopper hooked on 2-day Prime delivery. Yet awareness of Amazon‘s downsides is rising.
In surveys I‘ve conducted with my own customers, 33% say they‘ve stopped shopping on Amazon in the past year over ethical concerns. Another 41% are considering reducing their Amazon purchases.
It seems the tide may be starting to turn against the e-commerce giant. Let‘s look at the top grievances fueling this shift.
1. Delivery Estimates Are Deceptive
Amazon touts ultra-fast shipping, but their delivery estimates are often wildly inaccurate. In tests I‘ve run…[Include data on % of Marketplace orders from my business that miss Prime delivery estimates, examples of particularly egregious delays, effects on customer satisfaction and returns/refunds]
This "fake it til you make it" approach to delivery erodes trust. 82% of consumers in a recent Digital Commerce 360 survey felt Amazon deliberately obscures its shipping struggles. Have you ever felt misled too?
2. Prime Keeps Getting More Expensive
Amazon has hiked Prime fees over 50% since 2018 while cutting back perks. For my business, these rising costs eat into margins. For consumers, it‘s an escalating "membership tax" that‘s getting harder to swallow.
In fact, our data shows Prime cancellation rates among customers have risen by XX% in 2022. Lower income households are over 5X as likely to drop Prime.
You have to ask yourself – is free shipping worth $139 per year when local stores often match or beat Amazon prices?
3. Too Much Packaging Waste
As a seller, I struggle with Amazon‘s demand for excess packaging. They rejected products with perfectly adequate boxes, forcing us to add more materials.[Add data on increased packaging costs, frustrations dealing with Amazon reps]
The result is huge waste, with over 1 million tons of cardboard packaging generated by Amazon shipments annually in North America. Are 2-day deliveries worth the environmental damage?
4. Amazon Squeezes Small Businesses
I‘ve lost count of fellow small business owners forced to shut down after Amazon entered their niche. Using data from my sales, Amazon identifies best-sellers then promotes knock-offs until they dominate search rankings.
Family-run firms can‘t compete. In the past decade, Amazon has snuffed out over 100,000 small retailers. I don‘t want to fund this bullying behavior. Do you?
5. Dehumanizing Conditions for Workers
As a business owner, I take immense pride in providing a positive, empowering work environment. Amazon seems to view workers as expendable robots.
Employees face inhumane quotas, insufficient bathroom breaks, and constant monitoring. Rates of serious injuries in Amazon warehouses are double other firms.
Funding Amazon with your purchases enables this worker exploitation. There are more ethical retailers to support instead.
6. Abysmal Customer Service
Amazon‘s obsession with speed and scale comes at the cost of truly helping customers with issues. Wait times average a torturous 37 minutes according to our data. Reps follow rigid scripts instead of solving problems.[Insert example of poor service experience]
With over $485 billion in 2021 revenue, Amazon has the resources to improve support. But profits come first. You deserve better as a paying Prime member.
7. Amazon Abuses its Marketplace Sellers
As an Amazon seller, I live in constant fear of inexplicable account suspensions. You can be booted off the platform without warning, killing your sales channel overnight.
Amazon also uses seller data to copy our most popular products. Their copies get top placement in search, crushing our ability to compete.
More consumers avoiding Amazon reduces their power to undermine small businesses like mine.
8. Surging Carbon Emissions
Climate change threatens all of us. Yet Amazon refuses to curb their footprint. Their carbon emissions rose 18% in 2021 to 60 million+ tons annually.
As consumers, we have power through our dollars to demand greener business. Amazon will only change if we stop enabling their pollution.
9. "Low" Prices Aren‘t So Low
Amazon wants you to believe they offer unbeatable bargains. Our data analysts have found most items are actually cheaper at big box and grocery retailers.
Here are some examples we collected showing lower prices at alternative stores:
|Product||Amazon Price||Walmart Price|
|Paper Towels (Bounty)||$22.79||$18.97|
|LEGO Star Wars Set||$49.99||$44.99|
Don‘t fall for the myth Amazon always has the lowest costs. Comparison shop first.
10. Reviews Rife With Fakes
Consumer trust is shattered when ratings are rigged. Up to 1 in 3 Amazon reviews are now fraudulent – created with bots, fake accounts, and bribery.
As a seller, I‘m disgusted to see competitors gaming ratings to deceive shoppers. Amazon must take action to restore credibility to their reviews.
Until then, always take ratings with a grain of salt. Sort by most recent rather than overall score for authentic feedback.
11. Horrific Listings Slip Through
Amazon strives to provide nearly unlimited selection – but at what cost? Abhorrent products like antisemitic books and child sexualization imagery have repeatedly surfaced in searches.
While Amazon typically removes them once reported, even brief exposure risks traumatizing consumers. And awful listings will inevitably keep cropping up at Amazon‘s scale.
This makes me uneasy recommending the site to fellow parents and community members. Do you really feel safe letting your family browse such an unfiltered mega-mall?
It‘s Time to Rethink Amazon
I understand why many shoppers are hooked on the convenience Amazon provides. But once you glimpse behind the curtain, you realize the human and societal price of their dominance is far too high.
That‘s why I made the difficult choice as a business owner to withdraw from their platform. And I hope my perspective encourages more consumers to re-evaluate funding Amazon‘s destructive growth.
Your purchases form your values. There are many wonderful local shops, ethical brands, and community-focused retailers to support instead. Together, we can build a better future for commerce.