Amazon Alternatives for Online Shoppers

Geoff Williams
·8 min read

A wide world of online shopping

Many people have come to depend on Amazon, especially during the pandemic, for ordering everything from groceries to household staples. But you may be looking for online shopping alternatives. Maybe you want to consider more specialty retailers, or maybe you want to support more independent stores -- ones that don't sell through Amazon. Or maybe you want to support a more diverse group of small business owners. Perhaps you had a bad customer experience with Amazon.

Whatever your reasons, there's a wide, wide shopping world out there. If you're looking for other places to shop online for quality products, many of which also offer a wide selection and free shipping, read on.

Big brand alternatives

Some of the bigger name stores that have a strong online presence include:

-- Walmart.com. This retail giant sells just about everything, from groceries to household supplies and furniture, toys and electronics. It's probably Amazon's main competitor. Shipping is free if you spend over $35; if you join Walmart+ ($98 a year), you'll get free unlimited shipping.

-- Target.com. You'll also find just about everything here. If it isn't Amazon's main competitor, it's Walmart's. Free shipping for orders over $35 (or if you use your RedCard).

-- Overstock.com. It doesn't sell groceries but sells just about everything else -- furniture, rugs, clothes, jewelry, kitchen appliances. Currently, it ships everything for free to the 48 contiguous states.

Sourcing home furnishings and home improvement

So many choices, and obviously, these aren't all of them. But if you're looking for Amazon alternatives and need something for your home, you might consider:

-- HomeDepot.com. It's got it all, and you can order plenty of stuff -- kitchen appliances, for instance -- online. Free standard shipping on most orders if the purchase is over $45.

-- IKEA.com. You will pay for shipping. Small orders start at $5 but then increase based on the weight of your order. Still, if you love Ikea furniture, you may not care.

-- Wayfair.com. You'll find everything from furniture to sofa pillows. Shipping is free if the purchase is over $35, though the website says there are some exclusions. "Certain products we offer do carry associated shipping charges either per item or per order amount. The total item shipping charges, if any, will be detailed in the shopping cart page prior to checkout," the website says.

Electronics retailers

If you're looking for computers, laptops, software and so on, consider the following:

-- BestBuy.com. If you spend $35 or more, you'll receive free shipping. If you spend less than $35, pick your order up in a store or at the curb to avoid the shipping fee.

-- Newegg.com. It specializes in new, used and refurbished consumer electronics, computer parts, gaming and entertainment items. Free shipping on most items.

-- MicroCenter.com. This site sells computers and electronics. It has 25 locations throughout the country but sells online, too. Shipping prices vary.

Where to buy a camera

If you're in the market for a new camera, some stores with excellent reputations for cameras include:

-- B&H (bhphotovideo.com). This is an electronics and camera store in New York City, but you can shop online. Free expedited shipping is generally available for orders over $49, and it ships to most places around the world.

-- Samy's Camera (samys.com). This camera store has six locations in California, but you can shop online. It offers free shipping for purchases of more than $49.

-- Precision Camera & Video (precision-camera.com). This is a huge (20,000 square feet) camera store with two locations in Austin, Texas. It sells new and used camera equipment. If you spend over $200, it provides free ground shipping on many orders in the continental United States.

Eco-friendly shopping

Maybe your primary concern is to shop in the most environmentally friendly way possible. You may want to look at these Amazon alternatives:

-- Made Trade (madetrade.com). It specializes in sustainably made home goods, furniture, clothing and more. It also has free standard carbon-neutral shipping on U.S. orders over $75. "Every purchase directly supports small businesses, independent makers, and artisans around the world," the website says.

-- Credo (credobeauty.com). It's a beauty store that aims to be sustainable and nontoxic. Its website states: "Beauty is one of the least regulated consumer categories. It is legal for companies to use chemicals known to be harmful, or that have never been evaluated for safety." Orders over $50, once discounts are applied, get free shipping; for anything under that amount, you pay an $8.50 shipping charge.

-- Package Free (packagefreeshop.com). This store sells sustainable, green, eco-friendly, plastic-free products, as the website puts it, "to help you live a zero waste, minimalist and low impact lifestyle." Orders over $35 qualify for free shipping. Of course, if you order online, you will get whatever you buy, whether candles or a dish towel, sent to you in a package. But all of the shipping materials are 100% recyclable and compostable.

Options for ordering books

Amazon started off as an online bookstore. It still sells books and, well, everything else. If you want to buy books elsewhere, there are a lot of great options. A few include:

-- Barnes & Noble. All online orders of $35 or more qualify for free shipping.

-- Powells.com. It's the online store of a bookstore that's been serving Portland, Oregon, since 1971. So if you want to celebrate Powell's Books upcoming 50th birthday, you'll find a ton of new and used books there. If you buy more than $50 worth of books, you'll get free shipping; otherwise, it's $3.99 in the United States. Of course, if you don't live in Portland, you might want to look for a local, independent bookstore in your area.

-- DaedalusBooks.com. This website specializes in selling new books that didn't sell. So if you're looking for something new that you may have missed, and you want a good price, this is the place to go.

Browse virtual clothing racks

You can certainly buy clothing on Amazon, but there are numerous other places to shop. Some of the big ones include:

-- Kohls.com. It has free standard shipping if you spend $75. If you spend less, the shipping fee is $8.95.

-- JCPenney.com. Same deal: Spend $75, and the shipping is free; spend less, and it's $8.95. And, of course, you can always order your clothes and pick them up at the store.

-- Macys.com. If you spend $25, there's free shipping in the 48 contiguous states. If you use your Macy's credit card, you'll get free shipping no matter how little you spend.

Places to make cash-back purchases

These websites offer cash back for various categories of purchases. The shipping costs depend upon what website you shop on. Some of the popular sites include:

-- Rakuten.com. Often, you'll receive around 1% to 3% cash back at the stores that partner with this site, though you certainly can find deals where you'll get quite a bit more, like 10% or even 15%.

-- RetailMeNot.com. Same premise as Rakuten.

-- Ibotta.com. This site specializes in cash back on groceries.

Where to buy outdoor stuff

Maybe you're looking for sports equipment or camping equipment. You might try the following:

-- PlayItAgainSports.com. It's a chain of independently owned shops. It offers new and gently used sporting and fitness apparel and equipment. There are shipping costs, based on location and the weight of what you buy.

-- Patagonia.com. It offers outdoor and fitness clothing and gear. If you're willing to wait 10 business days, the shipping is free. Otherwise, shipping costs vary. The store has a great reputation for its durability and is known for its activism.

-- Backcountry.com. It sells a lot of outdoor gear, such as for camping, and offers a lot of discounts. You'll get free standard shipping if you spend at least $50.

Other go-tos for groceries

Amazon is a popular place to order groceries online, but it's not exactly the only place. You may want to consider these alternatives:

-- Instacart.com. This is a website that lets you order food from several stores in your area at once. So maybe you'll buy food from your supermarket as well as, say, CVS or Costco. The prices are sometimes more expensive than they are in the stores. Delivery fees vary.

-- Boxed.com. You can buy bulk foods and household goods like diapers and laundry detergent for discounted prices here. There's free shipping if you spend $79, or if you want free shipping all the time, you can upgrade to Boxed Up, which costs $39 for the first year and then $49 after that.

-- ImperfectFoods.com. It specializes in the foods that don't look great but still taste great. You know -- the bruised peach, or the dented can. The site suggests you'll save 30% off of your food. There is a delivery fee ranging from $4.99 to $8.99.

Amazon alternatives include:

-- Walmart.com

-- Target.com

-- Ikea.com

-- HomeDepot.com

-- Wayfair.com

-- Rakuten.com

-- JCPenney.com

-- Macys.com

-- Patagonia.com

-- Instacart.com