January 25, 2020

The Amazon Alternatives: Shopping online without funding Bezos

While shoppers are becoming increasingly careful about where they shop, it’s still hard to escape the ease, fast shipping, and selection of Amazon. For conscious shoppers looking for Amazon alternatives that don’t fund Jeff Bezos’s $215 million per day earnings, here are some alternatives.

Amazon has such a broad range of services and products — from bizarre and niche to common needs like paper towels and food, all under Prime’s two-day shipping. 

While there’s not one website like Amazon that can do it all, there are plenty that can supplement, ones that I personally have shopped from.


Brandless is my number 1 alternative for Amazon. Since Brandless’s creation in 2012, they have expanded their range of products, all under the mission statement that supplying ethically sourced, cruelty-free, organic food is more important than promoting a brand. 

Brandless sells tons of products under categories like health and wellness, baby, beauty, home, food, pet, and travel.

Their latest feature is a subscription box, similar to Amazon’s ‘subscribe and save feature.’ Brandless has multiple plans, each with different themes like food or health and beauty. If plans don’t work, the custom option allows you to choose your own products and how often they ship.


Similar to Brandless, Jet is a free website that compiles name brands as well as their own line, Uniquely J, onto one website to buy. Uniquely J ships in two days, and the whole site has free shipping for orders over $50. 

Jet is unique because they can lower the price if products in your cart can be shipped together. Because of the nature of the website, some items come from different sites, but they reward shoppers for saving shipping costs.

Alibris and Half Price Books

For books, I’ve turned to Alibris and HalfPrice, both used-book websites. Honestly, unless you’re buying a new release book or a special collector’s version of a book, there’s no reason to be buying new books. Buying a used book is cheaper, more sustainable, and keeps you from buying books off Amazon. 

Alibris, my personal favorite, compiles individual sellers of used books, textbooks, music, and movies. You can find just about every book, audiobook, or album you could want, rated on their condition, if they’re new or used, and priced low to high.


Etsy is one of my absolute favorite places to shop; I love that I can find hand-made, personalized products from individual artists — it’s the exact opposite of Amazon. 

Etsy sells just about everything, but I find that it’s best for gifts. You can find everything from décor, craft materials, clothing, jewelry, and art. I’ve bought my cat’s name tag, countless Christmas gifts, prints, mugs, clothing, even spices.

Your local library

For textbooks (and regular books of course), look at your local library first! I had about 10 books to get this semester, and I got all but two from the Bexley and Columbus libraries. 

The Bexley Public Library has automatic and unlimited renewals of almost all books, allowing you to easily keep books all semester. Alibris also sells textbooks, so check with them before heading over to Amazon. 


Amazon Prime’s free 2-day shipping is incredibly hard to beat, but ShopRunner is a company that fulfills free, two-day shipping and returns. 

While ShopRunner is a paid service, the membership is free for PayPal members, Yahoo members, and American Express members. 

ShopRunner works with over 100 businesses, ranging from AutoZone to Five Star to Sunglass Hut. I’ve used this service for an order through Kate Spade and my experience was great, the updates were more up to date than Amazon’s, and I didn’t feel like I had to worry about the “It’s on the way but it’s late” notification.


Smile.amazon.com is a version of Amazon’s shopping interface that allows you to choose a charity you support to receive 0.5 percent of eligible AmazonSmile purchases you make. 

While it’s not a large donation, shopping through AmazonSmile instead of Amazon allows you to make donations to charities — it’s a small step that can make a difference for the times you still need to shop with Amazon. 

Also, if physically possible, support local businesses in your area. If you don’t have transportation to these stores, you can continue to support them through shopping on their websites!

Julie Smallsreed

Julie is the web editor of the Chimes and is a third-year Professional Writing & Journalism and Creative Writing major at Capital University. jsmallsreed@capital.edu

View all posts by Julie Smallsreed →

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