Alternatives to Amazon Subscribe & Save
April 25, 2020 7:51 AM   Subscribe

Is there a list of alternatives to Amazon's Subscribe & Save?

I would like to wean my family off of our dependence on Amazon, for obvious reasons. The main thing we use it for is Subscribe & Save, and I would like to find alternatives to purchasing those household essentials on a monthly basis like paper towels/dish soap/toilet paper etc. I am aware that Target has an option to subscribe but at the moment they are not shipping a lot of those household essential items. It's fine if the individual items are a bit more expensive than what I would pay for on Amazon - it's more, can I schedule a monthly delivery of the items I need?

I am also not crazy about using services like Instacart to do deliveries because we essentially can't claim a delivery window unless we set up a bot or something right now.
posted by toastyk to Shopping (5 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Our local grocery chain has (normally) a real easy to use shop and pick up system. They use their own crew to manage it. You order groceries online and then schedule a pickup. So much easier to just schedule when on your commute home or some other easy time to swing by, park and get groceries brought to your car. It costs $5. I have gotten delivery on occasion and my understanding is they contract that out to Instacart.
posted by amanda at 8:12 AM on April 25, 2020

Petco and both offer ongoing subscriptions for things like pet food, litter, etc if that’s relevant for you.
posted by insectosaurus at 3:48 PM on April 25, 2020

I've used Chewy for years for pet supplies. Right now, their shipments are considerably delayed -- I'm still waiting on one last item from my usual subscription, and a separate order to substitute an item that was out of stock is also delayed -- but their customer service is fantastic. I really like them. When I used to get the same-ish products through Amazon, I had more volatility about things being out of stock than I do with Chewy.

I'm using Grove Collaborative for cleaning supplies. Their paper products are (1) hippie stuff that many not appeal to you and (2) also rarely in stock right now. I received my initial order and just placed my second one. Subscriptions are pretty easy to manage and I've been happy with the products I received. For cleaning sprays, for example, they have starter kits with a reusable glass container, and then the actual cleaner is sent as a concentrate you dilute with water. This is great because you're shipping a smaller, less wasteful product (frankly this should be far more common), and we know how much waste is inherent in services like this. I hope to continue using them long-term.

Your grocery store probably won't let you set up a subscription, but their online ordering tools might get you close. Mine (Harris Teeter, owned by Kroger) lets me create a favorites list and there's a button to add everything on the list to my cart. I usually just go straight to my recently-purchased items for the last month and click click click to re-add whatever I need to my cart. I still have to go create an order, schedule a pickup time (which has been murder lately), but reordering staples is fast and easy.

(You didn't ask about this, but you may also consider whether signing up for a produce subscription from a local CSA -- Community Supported Agriculture -- might be a good way to handle some of your grocery shopping. Some CSAs also offer meat, dairy, etc., and I also know people who've arranged similar subscription packages with farmers at their local farmers markets.)

I suspect any Amazon alternatives you find will probably be a little flaky right now -- everyone's struggling to scale up quickly and keep things in stock. I stopped buying from Amazon whenever possible at the start of the year, and COVID complications aside, I've found that means:
  1. Spending more time finding other places to buy what I need
  2. Spending more time deciding which of these other places I trust (a lot of small companies still have pretty sketchy websites)
  3. Muuuuch slower shipping
  4. Drowning in promotional emails from alllll the new places I've bought one or two things
  5. Buying a lot of things directly from the manufacturer for great prices -- e.g., I got a year's supply of retainer cleaner plus a free gift(!) from the manufacturer's site for less than what I was paying when I restocked at Amazon 4x a year
  6. It's actually pretty delightful to find a new small(er) company to support, and I still think it's been worth the effort to break the Amazon habit

posted by katieinshoes at 7:25 PM on April 25, 2020 [1 favorite]

Seconding using a CSA for produce. We found one near Cincinnati and it is an easy delivery for in-season foods that we need to get creative to use all of within a week.
posted by Lucubrator at 8:25 PM on April 25, 2020

Response by poster: Thanks for the feedback - 2 things: 1. We don't have a pet, so Chewy/Petco doesn't apply to us. 2. We get our produce delivered from a fantastic local place, so that one's all covered.

I will look into Grove Collaborative some more, but mostly just looking for something I can order items on a regular basis from - my cleaning supplies, some shelf-stable groceries, toilet paper, vitamins, etc. If any of you have any new favorites you found from switching over from Amazon, I'd be all ears for that too.
posted by toastyk at 10:02 PM on April 25, 2020

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