Jet and Other Alternatives to Amazon Shopping

Category: Shopping

It’s obvious that Amazon is the 800-pound gorilla of e-commerce. Recent ecommerce stats show that Amazon captures about HALF of all online sales. But it’s not the only digital department store. Let’s look at some of the others to see how they compare to Amazon...

Check Out These Online Shopping Sites

I'll admit at the outset that I shop frequently on Amazon. Prices tend to be good, I like the wide selection, and the free 2-day shipping with Amazon Prime. And because they've been around for about 20 years, their customer ratings and reviews are filled with helpful information that I often check before making a buying decision.

Amazon Prime is mostly known for their offer of free 2-day shipping, with a yearly $119 subscription. But it also includes free same-day delivery in eligible zip codes, one-hour delivery from popular restaurants in eligible ZIP codes, unlimited Prime Video streaming of movies and TV episodes, unlimited, ad-free access to more than a million songs with Prime Music, the Kindle Owners Lending Library, and a bunch of other benefits. You can try Amazon Prime free for 30 days.

One other perk of shopping at Amazon is AmazonSmile. If you start your shopping at smile.amazon.com instead of www.amazon.com, Amazon donates 0.5% of the price of your eligible purchases to a charitable organization of your choice. Amazon Smile has donated over $124 million (USD) to charities since launching the program five years ago.

But there are other online ecommerce sites that you should know about, which offer some unique shopping features. At the very least, it's a good idea to compare prices and shipping options on multiple sites.

JET! It turns out the major was not a lady suffragette after all.

Jet.com was founded in January, 2014, and its rise has been jet-propelled. The site went online in July, 2015, launching with 4.5 million products. The company was valued at $1.3 billion by May, 2016, and the company had launched a grocery home delivery service akin to Amazon Fresh. In August, 2016, Walmart acquired Jet.com for $3 billion in cash and $300 million in Walmart stock.

One of Jet.com’s core features is their “real-time savings engine” that makes prices drop as you shop. Jet will lower the price of certain items in your cart when you add other items. This typically works with household "essentials," so adding something like toothpaste could save you money on cereal or paper towels. No majors or lady suffragettes are involved - Jet does this because these items can be packed and shipped together.

Jet offers free 2-5 day delivery, faster 2-day delivery on thousands of everyday essentials, and free returns on "almost everything" within 30 days. Orders that don’t meet the free delivery minimum are subject to a $5.99 delivery fee. Jet is a little vague on the "free delivery minimum," referring you to the specific items in your cart. But in my experience, that threshhold is usually $35. You can also save money by opting out of free returns. This also varies by product, but as I like to say, any money saved "is better than a poke in the eye with a sharp stick." Jet used to automatically apply an additional 1.5% discount on your order if you paid with a your debit card, but that seems to have been discontinued.

Let's Do Some Math...

So how does Jet work in practice? I priced out a Samsung Galaxy S9 64gb Unlocked Smartphone at both Amazon and Jet. The item was $549 at Jet ($9.90 off for opting out of free returns). The only option was free 7-day shipping, fulfilled by a 3rd party. I did find the same item with free two-day shipping (fulfilled by Jet) but the price was $597. Amazon's price was $499 with free one-day shipping - a clear winner in this case.

I also compared prices on dishwashers. Jet had a pretty slim selection of dishwashers, no Whirlpool or Bosch models, and only 2 GE or Samsung models. They seem to focus on Frigidaire and other lesser-known brands. On Jet, the Frigidaire Gallery 24" Stainless Steel Built-In Dishwasher had a list price of $959.99, on sale for $762.52, and $6.48 off for opting out of free returns. The exact same item sells for $597.60 on Amazon. That's quite a difference in price.

My article Money Savers for Online Shoppers gives tips on using shopping tools such as Wikibuy, Honey and Camelizer to automate the process of finding the best prices and discount codes when you shop online.

It could well be that I just happened to pick two items that demonstrated a price advantage for Amazon. I've read other reviews where people say they've saved money by purchasing household items such as paper towels, breakfast cereal, and dog food at Jet. It's good to have choices, and it's always a good idea to comparison shop.


Buy.com was an early ecommerce pioneer, founded in 1997. It was purchased by Japanese ecommerce giant Rakuten in 2010 and is now officially known as Rakuten.com Shopping. Rakuten is a marketplace, like eBay, in which many sellers have independent shops that often sell the same things. I found 9 sellers offering that Samsung Galaxy S9 64gb Unlocked Smartphone, with prices ranging from $498 to $740.

Here's one of my pet peeves… Rakuten is a classic example of a company changing their name from something that's short and intuitive to something weird and hard to remember. I've read that "rakuten" means optimism in Japanese, but still, that name has no connection to online shopping.


Of course there are dozens of other online shopping sites. You may want to poke around on Overstock.com, Walmart.com, Target.com, or Bestbuy.com. Alexa maintains a list of the most popular ecommerce sites, broken down into 35 categories.

Amazon is still the first place I look when shopping, but not always the last. I am a little troubled by the thought that one online shopping site handles about half of all ecommerce transactions. So before hitting the "Buy it Now" button, it never hurts to check prices and terms on other shopping sites as well. Your thoughts on this topic are welcome. Post your comment or question below…

 
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Most recent comments on "Jet and Other Alternatives to Amazon Shopping"

(See all 30 comments for this article.)

Posted by:

FrancesMC
08 Apr 2019

Rakuten Kobo sells e-books, some of which are very low-priced.


Posted by:

RandiO
08 Apr 2019

I had made the mistake of purchasing a 256GB "Lexar" branded microSD card. I spent a few days in stuffing it w/my music folders/files only to find out that when a folder exceeds 16GB size of data files, the folders themselves are copied-over but the data content is not. Yet, the microSD card properties shows it to be full of files that are 'invisible'.
I received a reply from Lexar which stated the following: "Note that due to logistical issues and CFIUS (Committee of Foreign Investments in the US) placing restrictions on LongSys, a Chinese company and the new owner of the Lexar brand, we are not currently able to ship replacements."
Lucky me; I was able to get a refund for the item w/o incurring return shipment charges.


Posted by:

LadyLiberTEA
08 Apr 2019

Thanks alternatives to world's richest man Jeff Bezos' globalist/Left censoring/deplatforming Amazon monopoly I too use our kind online community's reviews to compare elsewhere. I prefer to support Christianbook.com, Edify Films, and Philo.com; brand websites like Pure Synergy of Utah, and Swanson that sells other brands too; discount sites like Vitacost; and discount store sites like Kmart/Sears, Walmart, Target, Walgreens, RiteAid, etc., where I sometimes ship to store to benefit them and for my convenience or to check before accept or easy return service. When only at Amazon, or too low price difference to ignore especially via Subscribe & Save, or speed or other factors, I never a Prime Member almost never pay shipping (except rare imports, or collectible media) by S&S or free shipping items. For Fulfilled By Amazon guaranteed service, I may choose a slightly higher priced selection. Wherever I shop, I always try via free Ebates automatic rebates portal or credit card link to local in-store shopping, averaging $100 back yearly :)


Posted by:

RandiO
08 Apr 2019

I had also made the mistake of purchasing a 128GB "Samsung EVO+" branded microSD card. In the last 9 months since the purchase, I have tried every industrial HD tool available to rectify the corruption issues of its MasterBootRecord (MBR).
Finally, I contacted Samsung and was told by them that the Samsung "EVO+" was renamed "EVO PLUS", as Samsung confirmed that counterfeit versions were coming out of China Inc.
Irony ensued: Samsung service rep asked where I had purchased the unit and that they will not replace the unit. It turned out during these email ping-pongs; even the Samsung website sells the "EVO+" branded parts, themselves, as well as being able be to purchased (EVO+) from e-retailers such as Amazon, NewEgg, and of course, eBay.
So, Samsung knows about this counterfeit EVO+ market and is allowing it to fester, which hits the consumer in the wallet. They were smitten to tell me that this fake EVO+ was stamped in the back of the microSD card as being made in Taiwan. Samsung stated that their memory products are only made in 2 countries and Taiwan is not one of them. They gulped when I asked how a customer is supposed to determine a fake if the only confirmation can be made after purchase and upon unpackaging the item to determine “Made In” country that is in the back side of the card.
They would not refund my money but I have made the decision to never do business with Samsung ever again. Even if they become the only game in town.
No! Neither of my 2 posts are whining/gripe sessions but I just hope that they serve as Caveat Emptor.


Posted by:

Jerry B.
08 Apr 2019

I have been using the PriceBlink browser extension for several years and highly recommend it. Tried Honey and several others, but always came back to PriceBlink. Checks for better prices on an item and tries coupon codes when you go to checkout.


Posted by:

Nancy
08 Apr 2019

Amazon Prime is now $119.


Posted by:

Kenneth Heikkila
08 Apr 2019

I have tried Amazon, Ebay, Jet & Buy/Rakuten. I came to the same conclusion as you did about Buy and Jet; basically the sorts of things I buy online are either not there or not cheaper than Amazon or Ebay so I just tend to shop for the item on Duck Duck Go or Google and Amazon and Ebay. The price is nearly always better on one or the other (A or E.)
I also use Smile as my default and I download a LOT of music on Prime and stream Prime video.
when I can. The $119/yr. is worth it to me.
I also got the Amazon credit card. Rates nothing to brag about, but no fee, one time $70 off anything and 5% back on any Amazon or Whole Foods purchases, 2% at restaurants, gas stations (I get a much better deal from Sinclair) & drug stores.Basically it helps me keep track of all my Amazon purchases and pays me to do so. I pay it off every month so rates are not an issue.
Yes Bezos is evil, but I can't afford to buy nearly everything at a higher price.


Posted by:

Greg C
08 Apr 2019

Sarah L above:
"No majors or lady suffragettes are involved, eh, what is that? "

Bob is making a cryptic, but nostalgic reference to Paul McCartney and the song "Jet"
( fast shipping can be by jet plane )
https://youtu.be/6a8PaZmiCkc

More info on song, not really relevant to this discussion.
https://www.songfacts.com/facts/paul-mccartney-wings/jet

...You're welcome.


Posted by:

Peter B
08 Apr 2019

Amazon UK pays almost no company tax in the UK - the orders are all placed with their office in Luxembourg, which appears to have a 'sweetheart' deal with the government there. So I try to avoid using them whenever possible. I don't know whether the US Amazon company pays much tax to the USA, but even I have read about the bidding war to have a new Amazon warehouse situated in various states.


Posted by:

Steve Morehead
08 Apr 2019

Thanks Greg. Grew up with the Beatles and liked them as a group but none individually so I totally missed that reference too.


Posted by:

Steve Morehead
08 Apr 2019

Amazon. Wow. They recently informed me in a left handed fashion that I have spent over 20k through their Smile program. Lol the Prime truck just pulled up in the driveway.


Posted by:

Clive McCloughan
09 Apr 2019

I just saw that there has been a price rise on Amazon. The annual fee is $119.00 (US I suppose) and I think it was $12.99/month. Check it out. I think you are closer to the action then I am and I do wonder (yeah, I'm the wondering kind) why when companies such as Amazon advertise memberships or articles for sale in Australia, why there is no currency conversion.
Computers must be good for something and currency conversions would be very easy to do.


Posted by:

PDXWILDCHILD
09 Apr 2019

Hmmm...I sense this article is a wee outdated...yes,Amazon is
$119/yr...this is 2019, right? LOL


Posted by:

Mike in Colorado
09 Apr 2019

Great article, Bob! I'll have to check out Jet.com again. I've looked at them in the past but never saw very good prices.
I'm also a subscriber to Prime, but I joined a few years ago because there was a TV show I wanted to watch. The cost was about the same as Netflix and they had a pretty good selection of movies and shows. Since then, I've become pretty much addicted to shopping there. Every once in a while, I find another online retailer selling something cheaper, but it's rare. I take advantage of their Subscribe & Save program, online music streaming, Twitch, they save my photos and, of course, their two-day shipping. I also shop through their Smile program so my favorite charity gets some money. We have something coming from Amazon twice a week at least. Prime is an awesome value!
I've also been shopping more often at BestBuy.com. They will match Newegg's and Amazon's tech prices and sometimes they preemptively do it. It's nice to just go in and pick it up at the counter and have it the same day.
Walmart.com has been very competitive with Amazon over the past year or so and we've been ordering from them more often as well as Bed Bath & Beyond thanks to their $29.99 Beyond Perks program that gives two-day shipping and a 20% discount.


Posted by:

Jim Swan
09 Apr 2019

Rakuten is a company that long pre-dates on-line shopping.


Posted by:

Bev C
09 Apr 2019

Appreciate ability to shop on line and have it delivered now that age & condition make in-store browsing often a real problem. BUT paying membership not my idea of smart when I price compare many sites and use Duck Duck Go to help. Use Walmart a lot - usually good source and best price, store is major source in our area and their system gets orders to my back door very promptly and the minimum for free shipping is low enough to be easy to meet. Seldom find Amazon a good source any more.


Posted by:

Keith
10 Apr 2019

Check out www.igive.com Somewhat similar to Amazaon smile. This site does not sell items, but if you "use" their site, many/most web sites / seller will donate various percentage amounts to a charity of your choice. They provide a list of the stores and the percentage each store/site offers. Many are MORE than the .5% that Amazon gives. Check it out.


Posted by:

Coco the Cat
10 Apr 2019

Bought some items from Jet back about a month ago. Found it was a better price than Amazon. I bought 6 of them. Jet had a better price on another item I buy from Walmart, however it would only let me buy 1 of them. I responded to a survey email they sent me and gave them a low rating and questioned why I could only buy 1 of an item. They wrote back and told me they were not a bulk seller of any of there items. I don't think buying 2 or 3 items is certainly not buying in bulk. Sure different from any other online store I've purchased from!


Posted by:

Timothy
13 Apr 2019

Bob: Free 2-day shipping is NOT free. It costs $119.00 per year. Talk about a marketing genius. Yes, if you buy $100,000.00 of stuff per year, it's 'almost' free. And, yes, the genius also extends to getting shoppers to buy things they really don't need "just because they think the shipping is 'free'". But even if you buy $1,000. per year, that's still a of shipping charges.


Posted by:

Karena
25 Jun 2019

Rakuten can suck it. They offer NO buyer protections at all - something you expect from something like craigslist, but when a company is charging to be a marketplace, they should make some attempt to protect consumers. Rakuten Buyers Beware! - you're on your own if a seller scams you.


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