Not Being Amazon Is a Selling Point for These Companies

BROOKLYN, N.Y.—On a Wednesday afternoon earlier this year, workers at an industrial center raced back and forth grabbing items such as paper towels, children’s toys, and liquor, then sorted them into packages destined for customers expecting delivery just hours after placing their orders.

The scene was playing out not at one of Amazon.com Inc.’s myriad fulfillment centers, but at a warehouse run by ShopIN.nyc, a New York-based company that is part of a growing group of businesses and organizations positioning themselves as anti-Amazons. They’re working to unite small businesses that have lost sales and margins to the e-commerce giant and tap into concern about its growing clout and competitive practices.

ShopIN.nyc pools inventories from local businesses to create a local version of the “everything store” that Amazon is known for, thanks to the vast selection and lightning-speed delivery that founder Jeff Bezos made central pillars of the Seattle company’s strategy. ShopIN.nyc’s marketing is unsubtle: social-media campaigns carry slogans such as “Shop Boroughs, Not Bezo$” and “An ‘everything store’ that delivers faster than Amazon.”

The e-commerce pushback against Amazon is coming from small firms along with other tech giants—and their efforts have gained speed and urgency with the pandemic battering many traditional retailers.

Facebook Inc. in May of last year launched a new service called Facebook Shops to help mom-and-pop shops sell on its platform. Alphabet Inc.’s Google unit last month announced tools to help small businesses sell through its shopping platform and integrate with other services such as Square Inc. and Shopify Inc.