To many of us, it may seem that there is no real alternative to Amazon, as it has come to symbolize ecommerce in the most powerful of ways. Without a doubt, it offers a robust range of merchandise combined with the best user experience, prices, shipping and return policy. Then there are Amazon Prime subscriptions, a future around the Internet of things, and even great third-party tools to track price drops, which makes Amazon appear downright unbeatable.
However, the truth is that there are several online stores that not only match Amazon in terms of scale and offerings but also in its seamless customer experience. So before you start using “Amazon” as a verb for shopping, check out this handy list of ecommerce websites that are giving Jeff Bezos a run for his money.
1. Thrive Market
Best for: groceries
A big reason many people are turning away from Amazon right now is the ethical side – from poor worker pay to undercutting business practices, Amazon isn’t the best place to shop if you want a clean conscience.
Thrive Market has a focus on organic and ethically-sourced and produced foods and groceries – a more affordable alternatives to Whole Foods which (surprise, surprise) is now owned by Amazon. For a small monthly fee of $5 a month, you get 25% to 50% discounts on many high-quality products.
It has many of the same handy features as Amazon Fresh, such as monthly subscriptions of certain items, but with a much bigger focus on health foods, healthy snacks and specialist diets (as well as the general day-to-day produce). Best of all, it comes with a 30-day free trial, so you don’t need to commit right away.
Best for: general shopping
Newegg is a great alternative if you’ve decided to move out of Amazon but still miss its features and product range. In fact, from tracking an order to checking your dashboard, there is hardly any feature that Newegg does not seem to have replicated. It supports localized sites and currencies worldwide and is attracting many retailers.
They even seem to have matched Amazon’s display of similar product items at the bottom of each item. There are also product “wish lists,” “daily deals” and “marketplace spotlight.”
Of course, they have a “premier” membership carrying a free 30-day trial along with options such as “free three-day-or-sooner” expedited shipping.
When it comes to the actual products range, Newegg is certainly no poor cousin of Amazon. Originally an electronics vendor, Newegg carries thousands of items related to Internet of things. The prices closely match what are offered on Amazon.
They sell everything under the sun – not only in electronics but also gaming, automotive equipment, software, toys, and apparel.
3. Ali Express
Best for: general shopping
AliExpress is Alibaba’s signature online store with a similar powerful range of offerings as Newegg, but it does not feel like an imitation of Amazon.
You can search for the items just as with any other ecommerce website. With AliExpress, you get the backing of Alibaba’s global marketplace, which can make prices on some products appear somewhat cheaper. The range of offerings on computer parts, electronic components and IoT products is quite extensive.
You get some amazing smartphone deals on AliExpress, which makes it a really good alternative to Amazon.
They also have a massive style section where you can pick up decent jewelry, clothing and shoes.
The apparel section at AliExpress returns a good selection for every search criteria you can imagine. It may feel more exhaustive than Amazon, and the prices are hard to resist.
AliExpress is no rookie in the online store business. They offer similar refund and on-time delivery guarantees for the products as Amazon.
Best for: groceries, general shopping
If you live in the U.S., Walmart is perhaps the smartest alternative to Amazon. It carries an extensive range of products, which are cost-competitive and seem endless. The best part is that unlike Amazon, you don’t have to suffer through multiple sellers and their unprofessional tactics. Each and every product is vetted by Walmart itself, which means the guarantees are slightly better.
As discussed earlier, the product range for many items at Walmart are more extensive than Amazon. A search selection for “tire pressure gauge” offers far more results.
I could even find the complete collection of Frank Miller comics and its collective editions, which I found more useful than Amazon’s results for similar searches.
One of the best features of Walmart is “Rollback,” which makes several products become a steal if you keep track frequently.
Best for: general goods
This Japanese online store is winning rave reviews for its minimalist interface and extensive products range. Rakuten has a different ecommerce model, where products from different online stores are compared so that you can choose the cheapest option.
Some of the stores that support Rakuten include Amazon, eBay, Walmart, Walgreens and Kohl’s. You don’t have to leave the Rakuten website to make a purchase, as these stores are only used for fulfillment.
Almost all products that you need can be found in a relevant store. Rakuten is super-extensive and offers product returns and guarantees like any other store.
Best for: general goods
Rounding off the list, eBay is still a big competitive player in the ecommerce segment. It offers almost all the same products that Amazon does.
Amazon is a decent online store which has redefined e-commerce, for better and for worse.
Image credit: Daniel Eledut on Unsplash