Sunday, December 29, 2013

Holiday Shopping (and all online shopping) Review

This could very well be the last post of 2013. Been an interesting year for me. I thought you might like a review of some of my online shopping experiences, like who ships the fastest, who uses the best shipper and has least cost. I don't have a car, so I get a LOT shipped to my house and almost all of my Holiday shopping and even some groceries are bought online.  I also buy fabric and sewing supplies online, but I think that should be a separate post. Also I usually use my secure PayPal debit card. Make sure you use dither a secure protected card for online purchases, or a refillable card that is not linked to any of your accounts.

Some of my past favorite places to shop have seriously dropped in ranking. I also buy where I can get things shipped quickly and for less money. Here is where I shopped, ranked in order of preference and why.

#1 Amazon - #1 and #2 were close to a tie, Amazon won, because of the variety of merchandise you can get there. They offer the most fantastic deal. For $80 a year, you get free 2 day shipping, free kindle rentals and free video streaming. I buy birdseed, cases of tofu and almond milk monthly and have furnished about 1/4 of my new house from them. And with the many other miscellaneous things I purchase, I am sure they are not happy with me as a customer. I do know UPS does not like me much. Amazon uses UPS most of the time for shipping, which has been a bit of a problem this holiday season, but everything came on time eventually. Some of the other sellers on Amazon use other services. I try to buy from Amazon direct when I can. Some prime items are a little higher to comp for the free shipping, some are not. You just have to do a little research. Amazon almost always wastes box space. You will get a tiny item in a HUGE box.

#2 World Market - This has become one of my new favorite places to shop online. They always seem to have a sale and they sell a variety of items from furniture to food, and their shipping is amazing. Usually shipping is free over $50 but sometime less and you always get a coupon or two with purchase. They pack eco friendly and fairly compactly. I reuse their waffle cut papers in my own gift basket, which I bought from them.

#3 Etsy - Even though all the shops are independent, sellers are mostly honest and as quick as humanly possible. Items are usually wrapped nicely with a little note and often a story. I have never been disappointed with an Etsy purchase. (same for Independent sellers on Artfire and Storenvy, not Asian factories selling as indies)

#4 Walmart - OK so you don't like to buy from Walmart, well I do. their shipping is great and their prices are low and honestly have you ever been to one? Some of those low paid employees wouldn't have a job at all if not for Walmart. But I digress. Walmart has low prices and seriously, most of that they have in the store is available online. I have purchased, canned and boxed food, vitamins, shampoo, soap, furniture, towels kitchen ware and containers. All at a great price, and over $50 gets free shipping (sometimes less) and some items automatically have free shipping. They also have other retailers on their site, just click the Walmart button to see only Walmart items. Shipping can very from the other sellers, but in most cases Walmart shipping is stellar and almost always arrives far sooner than stated at purchase. They use a variety of shippers, mostly Fed Ex and USPS.

#5 KMart - Yes they really do ship quickly. The offering is not so great, but what they do have ships quickly. I think that as Sears is the same company, it would be good too. You can buy from both on their website, although that is a bit confusing. I usually only buy cheap knock around the house clothing from KMart, but I am pleased with the quality and as I've said, shipping is not just great, but amazing. I'm sure kids toys would be great to buy there too.

#6 Target - I used to really love Target and I have purchased several items for my home there. Online is not the greatest experience and of course someone out there is probably selling my data. but I usually buy with my PayPal Debit card and I will be protected. My experience with Target online is just OK. Not the same sales as in the stores (I really don't get this) You can get much better deals in the store. Shipping is OK, but the online experience is just not the same as in store experience.

#7 Ebay - A few years ago Ebay would have been at the top of my list. There have been changes at Ebay that have really disappointed me and honestly ruined my shopping experience. However there are some things that I can only find on Ebay so I continue to shop there. Ebay no longer has the lowest prices as they charge an arm and a leg in fees. So you will not get the best prices on Ebay. They have instituted a one day shipping policy for sellers to get discounts and higher ranking, but sellers have learned that they only have to PRINT the shipping label to qualify and some sellers don't put your package in the mail for a week or more. Some even just mark the items shipped and print labels through another service days later. I bought an item that was marked shipped in one day, it was drop shipped by another retailer and I received it 17 days after I purchased it. Ebay unfortunately is so hungry that they are eating their own foot off.

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