Why NOT to choose Amazon when online shopping

Last Updated on 12 July 2021 by Dan

Hello everyone! The absolute corporate behemoth that is Amazon has kept on going from strength to strength during the last year, and it has tended in the past to be at least the first place I check when it comes to my online shopping.

That was always because they tended to be the cheapest by some margin and quick delivery – but recently the honest answer is that I’ve found everywhere else has caught up a bit. Savvy shoppers should always be challenging themselves to get the best deals, so we’ve put together a list of suggestions for why you might want to consider looking beyond Amazon.

(For the record we’re not against Amazon either – their service is generally excellent and there’s still plenty of times where we find they are the cheapest! We’re simply focusing on getting the best deal possible).

Amazon don’t offer cashback

This has increasingly become the factor that offers the biggest differentiator in terms of getting the best deal. Apart from the odd occasion, Amazon don’t offer cashback except on their own products (like the Echo Dot and Kindle) .

I increasingly find that if I run a simple search, Amazon will have the cheapest overall price. However if I account for the cashback the next cheapest retailers are offering, I can get a better deal after that’s brought into consideration.

For those not familiar with cashback, it’s what I consider one of the easiest and best money tips out there. Fundamentally all it means is that you buy the product through a link on TopCashback, and the fee that would have been paid to a referring advertiser goes to you instead.

I’ve got a lengthier article here explaining on how TopCashback works and why I think it’s worthwhile.

Whilst cashback isn’t paid out immediately on purchase, the savings can be substantial.

A man apparently burning an Amazon box artistically.

Don’t underestimate the value of the speciality retailer

Sometimes you can get specialist retailers that are experts in their field, and can still undercut Amazon.

As a good example, I enjoy a bit of cooking and was after a new saucepan set. After a bit of hunting around, I was able to make quite a considerable saving by going to specialist cookware retailer Harts of Stur.

I now always check in on them if I’m looking to buy any cookware – I’d always advocate having a general check around when buying something, but it’s sometimes helpful to have a list of places you know have been good value, or offered you particularly good deals in the past.

Ironically, despite the fact that Amazon started as a online bookstore, books is the other area that I frequently find savings over and above them – particularly when picking up hardback cookbooks!

Google is your friend when shopping

Whilst you have to be a little bit careful because it doesn’t always compare the same type and style, giving an item a quick Google can give you a really good price comparison.

I don’t actually tend to use Google’s shopping tool because I find it can tend to overweight used items from Ebay. Whilst I’m very happy to buy used on many occasions, if I’m making a significant purchase I want something new.

Instead what I’ll do is very quickly run through the top 10 non-sponsored links, taking a quick look at pricing and any special offers. It takes 5 minutes at most, but you’ll get a really good idea what the going rate is.

I often find that extra 5 mins gives me an extra £10-£20 saving. In one case I saved £100 on an item because one small retailer had it on sale, and everywhere else was selling it at the RRP!

Amazon Deals aren’t always the best deals

An obvious point, but it’s worth reminding yourself most things on Amazon are usually discounted from the RRP or on sale. Just because it’s a deal there, doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s the best deal that you can possibly get.

Even Amazon can beat….Amazon?

What I particularly like about CamelCamelCamel is the fact that you can set a target price and get an e-mail alert when something drops below what you’re willing to pay for it.

Prices can actually fluctuate a lot even internally on Amazon. One of my favourite tools to use is the CamelCamelCamel website. If you put in the item reference, this will show you the full price history on Amazon so you can see if you’re paying over the odds at that moment. If you don’t need something immediately, it can pay off to wait it out.

Have you found any shopping hacks to beat Amazon?

We’d absolutely love to hear from you if you’ve found any other particularly savvy tips that have got you a better deal and will happily feature them here! Let us know via the comments below or you can always get in touch via our Contact Us form.

And that’s it!

Thank you for reading! You can sign up below to get our new articles delivered to you on a range of financial topics, or remember you can follow our Facebook and Twitter pages.

Join 1,470 other subscribers.

Submit a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *