Where do you do your online shopping besides Amazon?
December 11, 2018 1:17 PM   Subscribe

I buy pretty much everything from Amazon, as do most people I know. But during this season of shopping and gift-giving, I've been feeling like I want to see what else is out there. So... where else and what else do you like to buy online? Also important with online shopping -- how good is their customer service/return policy?
posted by thelasttango to Shopping (29 answers total) 52 users marked this as a favorite
Zappos! Mostly shoes, of course, but I just bought the most wonderful cowl neck, coziest fuzzy nightgown there. First one was too large, got the next size down within a week.

When I have bought shoes there, I usually buy the same shoe in different sizes. Easy return, and you have up to a year to return.

Helps keep UPS in business :-)
posted by kestralwing at 1:38 PM on December 11, 2018

(sidenote: Zappos is owned by Amazon.)
posted by foxfirefey at 1:40 PM on December 11, 2018 [15 favorites]

Etsy (Varies by seller).
Staples Copy and Print (Not really a return/exchange sort of place, but when I've had issues at the photocopier they've let me have do-overs for free).
Vistaprint (Again, when through no fault of theirs things didn't turn out like i expected, I was offered refund or do-over.
Indigo. (Your typical return/exchange policy.)
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 1:41 PM on December 11, 2018

Oh, and Snapfish. (Never had occasion to return/exchange).
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 1:43 PM on December 11, 2018

I try - when I can - to purchase goods directly from the company's website, rather than through Amazon. I don't know if it makes a difference, but I feel better cutting Amazon out of the mix entirely. I find that most companies have pretty typical return/exchange policies, but you will probably wait a little longer for your goods to arrive - especially if you're used to Prime shipping.
posted by GoldenEel at 1:49 PM on December 11, 2018 [17 favorites]

I've taken to actually shopping the online sites of stores near me just to make returns easier. I buy a lot of stuff straight from Target online, free shipping over a certain amount and super easy returns with no return postage as I can just drop in with the item when I'm passing next. I love their house decor items so I use this way more than I should.

I buy most of my clothes purchases online, I can try them out with the things I already own in my own home & return/exchange them at the store if needed. I do this a lot with Lane Bryant & Torrid both do free shipping to store too so I can just pop in & pick up the item if I want to save postage.

Sams Club & Walmart I'll do online, then go & pick them up directly from store after someone else has gathered all the items up for me to collect, or shipped to home if I hit the free shipping price point. Again with that super easy Walmart returns policy.

Check out Wayfair & Overstock too. Though they're not the bargain hunters paradise they used to be and returns can be a pain on big items they're pretty good at handling returns.

My husband hates shoe shopping as he has weird feet so swears by Zappos & their generous return policy.
posted by wwax at 1:49 PM on December 11, 2018 [2 favorites]

Ten Thousand Villages (typical exchange/refund, I think)
Toys from Mastermindtoys.com

Oh are you also interested in places that sell only their specific thing?

I did some custom boardbooks at pintsizeproductions.com (extensive contact with customer service and they were great)
I have several wonderbly.com books that are fabulous (Again, lots of contact with CSR and found them accommodating -- note: if anyone wants a referral code memail me... (mods, I guess you can delete that last sentence and this if not allowed)

It's probably obvious from my list that my non-Amazon christmas shopping is often all about getting the custom/perfect/spot-on thing. Seriously, etsy is the bestest.
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 1:51 PM on December 11, 2018

I try to directly buy from the manufacturer but that's harder than anticipated. *Knocks on wood* I have had unusually good luck when it comes to buying things online regarding the need to return them.

monoprice - cheaper tech/computer supplies (a sweet spot of quality and price) (cables, converters, chargers, etc); have spent a couple hundred over the years, haven't had to return anything (knock on wood)... Granted some things are like $2 headphones that last me a couple months.

Rock auto
- have bought some obscure car parts here; some items are salvaged from junkyards (but clearly marked as such)
walking company - shoes
Swappa and Discogs - these two are both marketplaces each with a conglomerate of sellers; so return policies vary GREATLY by seller; but some have reasonable and fair ones.
posted by fizzix at 1:55 PM on December 11, 2018

for clothes, nordstrom and nordstrom rack.

super easy return process - either online or via brick and mortar store.
posted by domino at 1:56 PM on December 11, 2018 [2 favorites]

Places I have bought things online in the past week:

Target (I shop Target far more than I shop Amazon);
Uncommon Goods
Darn Tough Socks
Crate & Barrel
Fat Brain Toys
New Egg Computers
Steam (video games)
Old Navy
posted by anastasiav at 1:56 PM on December 11, 2018 [3 favorites]

Lee Valley - leevalley.com —
Woodworking tools, garden/home [a broad miscellany is thereby encompassed].

Some of their gimmicky gift-y stuff is dumb, and no, they are not always the cheapest, but their customer service is exceptional, and each time I send them money, it feels like I'm helping decent folks.
posted by Glomar response at 1:56 PM on December 11, 2018 [2 favorites]

Costco. I've been trying to reduce my Amazon shopping and so check Costco first to see if they have it.
posted by gingerbeer at 1:57 PM on December 11, 2018 [1 favorite]

Gardener's Supply, a B Corp, for gifts and small tools and supplies. KnitPicks for tools and yarn. I have used both several times without problems so I don't know how they respond to them.
posted by Botanizer at 1:58 PM on December 11, 2018 [1 favorite]

Clothes from SvahaUSA.com. The dresses have pockets, and the comfortable cotton knit fabrics are printed with fun sciencey designs. (They have a dress printed with tardigrades!) Great socks, too. They do tend to run small, so I have to size up for my adult daughter, but they come in a wide range of sizes, from babies to adult size 5X, so this is not a problem. They were very responsive to a shipping problem that was totally not their fault.
posted by chromium at 2:16 PM on December 11, 2018 [1 favorite]

For outdoor clothing and gear, Campmor and Sierra Trading Post often have some good deals. Sierra Trading Post has a store near me, which makes returns a lot easier.
posted by Redstart at 2:22 PM on December 11, 2018

Target - and I made use of their return policy this weekend. My sister ordered me the wrong thing for Christmas, so I had to return it. I gave them the gift bar code to scan, they took the item back and gave me a gift card for the store to use. So easy!
posted by ilovewinter at 2:35 PM on December 11, 2018

LATHER (skin care, shaving creme, gift sets)
Dick's Sporting Goods (fan gear, athletic clothing, hiking gear)
Home Depot
Sephora (cosmetics, perfume, gift sets)
Garnet Hill (throw blankets, clothing, jewelry, adorable holiday gnomes)
posted by jazzbaby at 2:39 PM on December 11, 2018

I bought from Walgreens.com today - they'll ship to your local store for free- or to your house if you spend $35. Walmart.com is ok too, but the UI on that site makes me want to scream. Your local indie bookstore will probably ship direct to you for free on $50 orders, and many of them have partnered with Kobo for ebooks.
posted by COD at 2:44 PM on December 11, 2018 [2 favorites]

I try to go directly to the manufacturer.

I just bought a bunch of books and CDs on HalfPriceBooks.com. I found the books I wanted first on Amazon, then saw that they were being sold by HalfPriceBooks, so I cut out Amazon and bought directly from HPB. Their shipping was way faster than amazon, too.

I've also shopped from eBay and Best Buy, and a local soap-maker that I like (Wandering Goods).

I don't know how any of the return policies for above are, but I've been happy with Target, Duluth Trading, and Old Navy's returns (buy online, return to local store).
posted by hydra77 at 2:48 PM on December 11, 2018 [1 favorite]

I just spent a bunch of money at Penzey's (for spices) and King Arthur Flour (baking supplies). Like you, I'm trying to steer myself away from Amazon.
posted by suelac at 3:00 PM on December 11, 2018 [4 favorites]

For cameras/electronics/cables/etc. I use B&H; their prices are usually cheaper than amazon as well.
posted by gyusan at 3:07 PM on December 11, 2018

I've been using deepdiscount.com for media; they also sell toys and apparel. Sometimes their prices beat Amazon's. Never had to return anything; their stated policy seems good, though.

Oh, also Vitacost is great for supplements, some foods, related stuff.
posted by demonic winged headgear at 3:36 PM on December 11, 2018 [1 favorite]

All the big department stores have extensive websites: Macys, Nordstrom, Lord & Taylor, Kohls, etc,etc. Also Northern Tool for Hardware.
posted by SemiSalt at 4:05 PM on December 11, 2018

For pet related purchases, I've switched to Chewy. Their customer service is great (mostly dealt with when I received some dented cans).
posted by litera scripta manet at 4:45 PM on December 11, 2018 [4 favorites]

I came in to say what GoldenEel did. I feel way better about making purchases directly from companies. If I really need a big box type place, I go with Target. I have not used Amazon since like 2006 so I assure you it can be done!
posted by ferret branca at 7:20 PM on December 11, 2018 [2 favorites]

BestBuy for electronics, because of fast shipping, surprisingly excellent customer service and easy returns.
posted by samthemander at 8:14 PM on December 11, 2018

I tend to like specialty shops, that are good at one thing, because their business model is to be better at that one thing than Amazon can actually be. The prices wind up being about the same, but they have a curated selection that makes shopping far easier.

SocksAddict for my feet.
Chewy for my cat. Their subscription warns me before it ships!
Tools for Working Wood or even Di Legno for woodworking; very well curated! (Lee Valley mentioned above is also very very good, but is first party, not curated third-party sales.)

On the larger side, but still worth calling out for being good:

Sephora: no fakes or knockoffs.
Nordstrom: well curated wide selection, trivial returns.
posted by talldean at 9:19 AM on December 12, 2018

American Science & Surplus
Rock Auto
LL Bean
Duluth Trading
Blaine's Farm & Fleet
posted by Kirth Gerson at 1:14 PM on December 12, 2018

Biblio for used and new books from hundreds of bookstores. (I used to use Abebooks and then Amazon ate it.)
posted by jointhedance at 5:37 AM on December 13, 2018

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