E-commerce is the future of retail experiences around the world, and it’s a common trend that many businesses and platforms are starting to pick up on. The last year-plus in the pandemic has taught consumers a valuable lesson when it comes to online shopping and has birthed an era of mass conversion for businesses pivoting to the digital landscape.
In the spirit of Black Business Month, it’s only right that AfroTech spotlights the handful of apps and platforms that exist to show how technology can be a helpful tool in the e-commerce space. There are hundreds and thousands of Black-owned businesses waiting to be discovered online, so it’s up to these platforms to streamline connections between brands and their potential customers.
If you’re not sure where to go to find new Black-owned businesses, check out these digital marketplaces that are making the discovery process a lot easier.
Official Black Wall Street
Official Black Wall Street is considered the “largest app and digital platform connecting consumers to Black-owned businesses” year-round, according to its website, and its sole mission is to challenge the status quo by shifting the conversation around Black-owned businesses.
While many corporations were playing catch up introducing the public to Black-owned brands just last year, Official Black Wall Street was way ahead of the game with the launch of its revolutionary platform back in 2015. Since then, the digital marketplace has been a leader of the #BuyBlack movement strongly advocating for Black independence, economics and ownership.
HellaBlack is a newly-launched e-commerce marketplace specially-designed for Black retailers and enthusiasts. The digital platform is self-described as a “community-curated marketplace where Black-owned businesses are showcased, celebrated, and highly sought after by conscious consumers.”
The launch of the platform last year marked a milestone for places where Black communities and businesses are being properly recognized, celebrated and reinvested in. Co-founded and led by three Black women, HellaBlack drives home a message that we need our own institutions where we can prioritize Black generational wealth.
WeBuyBlack isn’t just a global marketplace helping people discover Black-owned businesses, it also presents itself as a movement that aims to see social and economical justice for Black communities around the world.
In an effort to rival e-commerce competitors like Amazon, the platform launched its own distribution center last year to better help Black founders sell their products by eliminating the pressures of pitching for placement in other major retailers.
Black Parade Route
Beyoncé’s Black pride goes far beyond her music, she’s also turning words into actions to uplift Black-owned businesses across the globe. After releasing her “Black Parade” single last year, she launched her very own Black business directory called “Black Parade Route” to give brands more exposure.
Having a Beyoncé-approved brand says a lot about a business today and, to the surprise of many, getting featured on her digital marketplace has quickly become quite the esteemed honor. Thanks to her platform, Beyoncé has been able to boost the business of several brands to help turn them into household names.
Supporting Black-owned businesses was never just a trend for Houston-based marketplace BLCK Market. Instead, its mission has always been rooted in a lifestyle that encompasses the full Black American shopping experience.
When people use BLCK Market’s online and in-person marketplace, they’re not just finding products from Black-owned brands. They’re connecting with them and establishing relationships with businesses that they can learn to rely on over other stores like Walmart and Target that don’t always suit our cultural needs. With its e-commerce marketplace, BLCK Market’s presence also helps brick-and-mortar businesses expand their reach online to keep up with the digital landscape.
Black wealth is something that has always been associated with Sean “Diddy” Combs’ image and likeness. In an effort to stay true to his brand, the music mogul partnered with software company Salesforce to launch SHOP CIRCULATE — a digital marketplace for products created and sold exclusively by Black entrepreneurs.
The all-Black everything marketplace is taking the Buy Black movement global with a platform that allows consumers to shop with the world’s best Black-owned brands. It even inked a partnership with Official Black Wall Street to bolster its mission.
I Am Black Business
I Am Black Business is a platform true to its name that uses technology to connect consumers and Black-owned businesses. The Black business directory was founded on the principle that while creating new Black businesses is essential, uplifting those that already exist is equally as important.
At a time where e-commerce is becoming the future of retail, I Am Black Business is staying ahead of the curve by educating people on the power of tech and how it can be used to help businesses improve their profitability on a larger scale.
The beauty world has been notoriously biased against Black and brown brands. So in an effort to combat that notion, inclusive e-commerce marketplace Thirteen Lune was created to embrace these businesses on a bigger platform. The platform is considered the world’s first fully inclusive beauty platform working to redefine the perception around Black and brown beauty brands.
The platform features a plethora of diverse makeup and skincare brands for customers to get familiar with. After successfully launching, Thirteen Lune was able to raise $1 million with help from moguls like Diddy to expand its reach.
For all your Black fashion needs, Inkloo is the marketplace for you to discover a selection of luxury brands. The inclusive online platform was designed to showcase a curated list of Black designer brands to consumers looking to diversify their wardrobe.
With a mission to amplify Black fashion both on and offline, the marketplace was created to offer a full-circle solution for emerging Black designers and the seller with an integrated creative business model that provides accessible consumer tools to brands.
Black Owned Maretplace (BOM)
BOM was founded by Michelle Dalzon to help Black business owners succeed in connecting with consumers by giving them a platform that allows customers to naturally discover their brands. Her vision was to create a space where Black businesses could not only exist but thrive in their own community where they’re prioritized first.
The goal for BOM is to become one of the top destinations for conscious consumers to shop with quality Black-owned brands. To help reach this goal, the platform features a special subscription box where customers can directly invest in Black-owned businesses with pre-selected products shipped monthly.
Amaka Studio: The Marketplace
Newly-launched media platform AMAKA Studio was introduced earlier this year in an effort to showcase and amplify stories centered around Pan-African womanhood. As an extension of that mission, the media brand launched The Marketplace — which spotlights Black and African-owned brands to better align with their readers’ interest in shopping with purpose-driven Pan-African businesses.
The Marketplace’s goal was to create a space where consumers could directly connect with Black and African entrepreneurs, innovators and changemakers for a redefined e-commerce experience. The virtual storefront features 50 brands across both beauty and fashion.