The best alternatives to Amazon at a glance

Amazon offers consumers a business model that scores points with low prices and a convenient ordering process. In 2017, it was the most popular online store in the US. This makes it harder for any of its competitors to get a look-in. However, Amazon doesn’t have the best reputation when it comes to the press: the Seattle-based company isn’t a stranger to facing worldwide criticism. Among other things, the working conditions in the internet giant’s mail centers have been criticized. In addition, the industry fears that the market leader is abusing its power to dictate prices.

If these headlines put you off, you’ll quickly realize there are many alternatives to Amazon. We’ve found the top ten Amazon alternatives:

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Amazon alternatives for fashion and lifestyle

Amazon’s share of the fashion market is dwindling. When it comes to fashion and lifestyle, Americans also opt for other online stores from time to time. Popular alternatives include Zappos, Rakuten, and Target. These suppliers often ship for free and some of them allow you to return products up to a whole year after purchase!

Zappos

Zappos.com was originally launched under the domain name “Shoesite.com” when it was founded in 1999. Amazon actually acquired Zappos in 2009, making it a subsidiary website of Amazon. The company specializes in clothing, shoes, and accessories. Every time you make a purchase, you earn Zappos rewards and there’s also the option of receiving your order even quicker. The company even accepts returns up to a year after purchase!

Advantages of Zappos.com

  • Great customer service (24/7)
  • Accepts returns up to a year after purchase
  • Option of free shipping and free returns
  • Safe Shopping Guarantee protects you from credit card fraud
  • No products contain fur

Rakuten

Rakuten, founded in 1997, was previously known as “Buy.com” before it was purchased and renamed in 2010. Rakuten doesn’t actually sell its own products, but connects businesses with potential customers (just like eBay, mentioned below). Rakuten’s product categories include home & outdoor, pet supplies, electronics, bags & luggage, and clothing, shoes & accessories, among many others. The site boasts video reviews of some of the products and a “Super Points” program where you get rewarded for each purchase.

Target

Target is very well known in the United States and boasts almost 2,000 stores. Since being founded in 1902, it’s gone through several name changes in its long life. It caters to everyone with an emphasis on younger shoppers. You’ll find products falling into at least 30 categories including movies, music & books, kitchen & dining, patio & garden, party supplies, and heaps more. If you spend over $35, you qualify for free 2-day shipping. It’s also possible to order and pick up your goods from a brick and mortar store to save time. Prices are comparable to Walmart’s (mentioned below), but the products are usually of higher quality.

Advantages of Target

  • Low prices, but high quality goods
  • Great seasonal deals
  • Free 2-day shipping if order exceeds $35

 

Zappos

Rakuten

Target

Headquarters

Nevada, U.S.

Tokyo, Japan

Minnesota, U.S.

Founded

1999

1997

1902

Website

zappos.com

rakuten.com

target.com

Product range

- Shoes

- Clothing

- Jewelry

- Accessories

- Watches

- Sunglasses

- Wedding

- Travel & luggage

- Bags & handbags

- Electronics

- Clothing, shoes & accessories

- Home & outdoor

- Beauty & personal care

- Sports & fitness

- Bags & luggage

- Toys, toddlers & baby

- Pet supplies

- Shoes

- Clothing

- Patio & garden

- Kitchen & dining

- Toys

- Electronics

- Video games

- Movies, music & books

- Sport & outdoors

 

Type of shipping

- UPS

- FedEx

- USPS

 

Dependent on seller

- Shipt

- DHL

- FedEx

- UPS

Shipping costs

 Standard shipping (4-5 business days): free. 2-business day shipping: $15. 1-business day shipping: $25. Everything free for VIP customers.

Dependent on seller

- Free shipping (3-5 business days) for orders over $35

Right to return

365 days

Dependent on seller

365 days for Target Owned Brand items, otherwise 90 days

Item return

Free

Dependent on seller

Free

Forms of payment

- Visa

- Mastercard

- Discover

- American Express

Dependent on seller

- Target REDcard™

- PayPal

- American Express

- Discover

- Novus

- Mastercard

- Visa

Apps

- iOS

- Android

- Kindle

- iOS

- Android

- iOS

- Android

Amazon alternatives for technology

These alternatives to Amazon’s technology and electronic departments focus on options that continue to provide a service after you’ve purchased from them - so you’re not left in the dark if something goes wrong with your electronics. For example, Newegg provides a weekly livestream of tech commentary and reviews, and Best Buy has “GeekSquad”, which is a service for installing devices or fixing broken electronics. Customers may be more willing to buy from these options, rather than from Amazon, if they feel accompanied through the whole process.

Newegg

Newegg is similar to Amazon, but only sells electronic goods. Categories include gaming, software & services, automotive & industrial, hobbies & toys, and lots more. The company was founded in 2000, and in 2005 was named one of the internet’s top 10 retailers. It also won the Computer Shopper Shopper’s Choice Awards in 2011, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005, 2004, and 2003. Newegg is known for its quick delivery and great customer service. The online retailer plans to expand globally and be available in 50 countries.

Advantages of Newegg

  • Offers daily deals
  • Has free 3-day (or less) shipping on ALL orders
  • Provides a weekly livestream of tech commentary and reviews

Bestbuy.com

Best Buy has great deals on electronics, especially desktop computers, laptops, televisions, video games, and appliances. You can even reserve items online and pick them up yourself at your nearest Best Buy store. Another plus is that you just need to fill out an online form to return an item, making it much easier than Amazon. Best Buy also offers free shipping at specific times of the year and its exchange or return policy is usually 15 days. The company was founded in 1966 and has won many awards including “Company of the Year” by Forbes magazine in 2004.

Advantages of Best Buy

  • Frequently has sales
  • “Geek Squad” service for installations or fixing broken electronics
  • Quick delivery

 

Newegg

Best Buy

Headquarters

California, U.S.

Minnesota, U.S.

Founded

2000

1966

Website

newegg.com

bestbuy.com

Product range

- Computer systems

- Electronics

- Gaming

- Networking

- Office solutions

- Health & sports

- Software & services

- Appliances

- Computers & tablets

- Cameras & camcorders

- Car electronics & GPS

- Health, fitness & beauty

- Home, garage & office

- Drones, toys & collectibles

- Wearable technology

 

Type of shipping

- UPS

- DHL

 

- UPS

- OnTrac

- FedEx

- USPS

Shipping costs

Standard shipping (4-5 business days): free. 2-business day shipping: $15. 1-business day shipping: $25. Everything free for VIP customers.

Shipping is calculated on “per order”, “per item” or “per pound” basis. Sometimes free shipping during special seasons.

Right to return

30 days

Most products: 15 days. Bust Buy Elite membership: 30 days. Best Buy Elite Plus membership: 45 days. Cell phone & activated devices: 14 days. Wedding registry items: 60 days.

Item return

Free although subject to restocking fee

Free, if return is due to Best Buy error

Forms of payment

- Newegg Store credit card

- Visa

- Mastercard

- Discover

- American Express

- PayPal

- MasterPass

- Amex Express Checkout

- Bitcoin

- Android Pay

- Apple Pay

- Best Buy/My Best Buy credit card

- My Best Buy Visa

- Best Buy for Business Card

- American Express

- Discover

- Mastercard

- Visa

- JCB

- Diners Club

- PayPal

Apps

- iOS

- Android

- Windows

- iOS

- Android

 

Amazon alternatives for unique presents

It’s often not easy to buy the perfect present for someone that has everything, so this is why websites with one-of-a-kind gifts are perfect. Although Amazon has many unique gifts, it also has a lot of mass-produced products. But with websites such as Overstock and Etsy, you’ll find unusual products that are individually made and can sometimes even be customized. You can also rest assured knowing that you’re helping artisans, rather than global corporations, as well as owning a product that hopefully no-one else has at home.

Overstock

Overstock was originally founded in order to sell goods from websites that weren’t doing very well, and was able to often sell goods such as furniture, bedding, and home décor at a reduced price. Nowadays, the company sells new products too and boasts a program called “Worldstock” where it’s possible to buy hand-made crafts from around the globe while supporting artisans at the same time, since they receive at least 60% of the revenue. The company was founded in 1997 and offers a rewards program, giving you free shipping and 5% off each order.

Advantages of Overstock

  • Takes community responsibility very seriously
  • Has deals to help you save money
  • Club-O-Gold rewards program enables free shipping and 5% off.

Etsy

Etsy is a marketplace for very specific and unique gifts that was launched in 2005. Most of the products offered are handmade clothing, jewelry, and accessories. Vintage items can also be bought on the Etsy platform, but must be at least 20 years old. In 2017, its annual revenue was $441 million and the number of active sellers amounted to 1.9m. Sellers pay just 20 cents to list each article, which then remains active for 4 months.

Buyers can check out the seller’s positive percentage feedback to work out how reliable they are. You don’t even need an account to buy from Etsy: it’s possible to log in using your Facebook or Google account.

Advantages of Etsy

  • Money goes to artisans, supporting them and not big companies
  • Great customer service
  • Many unique items that can be customized with specific colors or designs

 

Overstock

Etsy

Headquarters

Utah, U.S.

New York, U.S.

Founded

1997

2005

Website

overstock.com

etsy.com

Product range

- Furniture

- Rugs

- Décor

- Bed & bath

- Home improvement

- Kitchen

- Outdoor

- Jewelry

- Jewelry & accessories

- Clothing & shoes

- Home & living

- Wedding & party

- Toys & entertainment

- Art & collectibles

- Craft supplies & tools

- Vintage

 

Type of shipping

- USPS

 

Dependent on seller

Shipping costs

$4.95. Orders over $45: free. Canada orders over $59 CAD: free

Dependent on seller

Right to return

30 days

Dependent on seller

Item return

Free, if return is due to Overstock error

Dependent on seller

Forms of payment

- Overstock Mastercard

- Overstock Store Credit card

- Visa

- Mastercard

- Discover

- American Express

- PayPal

 

Dependent on seller, but if shop is enrolled in Etsy Payments, then:

- Credit cards

- Debit cards

- PayPal

- Apple Pay

- Android Pay

Apps

- iOS

- Android

- iOS

- Android

 

Amazon alternatives for household shopping

Not everyone has time to head out to the grocery store for household essentials, so being able to order your laundry detergent or coffee from Amazon is a lifesaver! Luckily, not just Amazon offers shampoo and toothpaste straight to your door, but also other websites such as Jet.com, Walmart, and eBay. Some even offer household products at prices lower than what you find in a brick and mortar store. With many of these alternatives to Amazon, it’s also possible to send your grocery list, so your shopping can be done for you, then you simply collect it from the store.

Jet.com

Jet.com offers brand-name products at low prices. The site was actually co-founded by a former Amazon colleague in 2014. The idea behind it is that you order from an actual store and receive the products within 2 days. There is even free delivery if your order is over $35.The website’s pricing scheme encourages users to buy in bulk as well as from the same distribution center to keep shipping costs down. Jet.com even has a section where you can take a sneak peek at any upcoming deals so you know what’s in store. Its private-label brand called “Uniquely J” was designed to attract millennials and consists of environmentally friendly products. The main categories are pantry & household, electronics, home, fashion, and holiday shop. In September 2016, Walmart acquired Jet.com, meaning it’s now a subsidiary of Walmart and no longer an independent company.

Advantages of Jet.com

  • Offers name brand items at low prices
  • Has many seasonal deals for more savings
  • “Refer-a-friend” program enables you to save even more money
  • Uniquely J brand consists of environmentally friendly items

Walmart

Walmart was founded in 1962 and is the world’s largest company by revenue – more than $500 billion was made in 2017. There’s free 2-day shipping on millions of items if you spend over $35. Free grocery pickup is available in most areas: a Walmart employee will do your shopping for you and load items into your car - you just have to turn up. The company is able to do 2-hour delivery cheaper than anybody else because of the assets they have, according to CEO, Marc Lore. It also helps that around 90% of the U.S. population lives within 10 miles of a Walmart store, whereas only around 44% of the population lives within 20 miles of an Amazon facility. Categories on the website include home, furniture & appliances, toys & video games, pharmacy, health & beauty, clothing, shoes & accessories, etc. There’s also an option to quickly reorder your essentials so you don’t have to start from scratch and find them all on the website each time.

Advantages of Walmart

  • Offers bargains on all kinds of items
  • Offers free 2-day shipping on orders over $35
  • Free grocery pickup saves you time
  • Able to offer quicker delivery than anyone else

eBay

eBay, founded in 1995 as “AuctionWeb”, is probably the most well-known Amazon alternative. It doesn’t sell its own products, however, but acts as the “middle man” between sellers and buyers. There are two ways to buy products, either straightaway with the “buy it now” option or by winning an auction. The website even has a section entitled “Best offers” where you can find great bargains. Low-value items often take one or two months to arrive, since they are shipped in the cheapest way, but there are options available to the buyer to speed up the process. Categories include motors, fashion, electronics, collectibles & art, home & garden, sporting goods, toys, business & industrial, music, deals, and under $10. Buyers are covered by the eBay Money Back Guarantee in case they don’t receive the item they bought, or if the item wasn’t described properly.

Advantages of eBay

  • Two buying options: buy it now or auction
  • Offers frequent discounts and deals
  • Different shipping options available if you want items more quickly
  • eBay Money Back Guarantee protects buyers

 

Jet.com

Walmart

eBay

Headquarters

New Jersey, U.S.

Arkansas, U.S.

California, U.S.

Founded

2014

1962

1995

Website

jet.com

walmart.com

ebay.com

Product range

- Electronics

- Pantry & household

- Home

- Fashion

- Holiday shop

- Arts, crafts & hobbies

- Sports, fitness, outdoors

- Office products

- Health

- Electronics & office

- Holiday headquarters

- Movies, music & books

- Home, furniture & appliances

- Clothing, shoes & accessories

- Pharmacy, health & beauty

-Auto, tires & industrial

- Fashion

- Motors

- Electronics

- Collectibles & art

- Home & garden

- Sporting goods

- Toys

- Business & industrial

- Music

 

Type of shipping

- UPS

- FedEx

 

- FedEx

- USPS

Dependent on seller

Shipping costs

$5.99. Orders over $35: free.

$5.97. Orders over $35: free.

Dependent on seller

Right to return

30 days

90 days

Dependent on seller

Item return

Free

Free

Dependent on seller

Forms of payment

- Visa

- Mastercard

- Discover

- American Express

- Walmart Credit Card/Walmart Mastercard

- American Express

- Discover

- Mastercard

- Visa

- PayPal

- Chase Pay

- Amex Express Checkout

Dependent on seller

Apps

- iOS

- Android

- iOS

- Android

- iOS

- Android

 


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