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Best Online Shopping Websites

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by ConsumerAffairs Research Team

Consumers have many options for online shopping, and with many more shopping sites popping up every day, it may be hard to pin down your favorite one. There are many options are available, so be sure to compare the 5 basics: selection, price, customer service, safety and reliability.

Compare Top Online Shopping Website Reviews

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Amazon.com
Read 5675 Reviews

Amazon.com offers several deals for consumers, including lightning deals, daily deals, coupon deals and a featured deal of the day. Discounts can range from four to over 70 percent off. Prime members receive early access to deals.

JustFab
Read 6292 Reviews

JustFab is an LA-based online retailer of women’s clothing, accessories and shoes. The site offers deep discounts to customers who become members and shop every month. JustFab has a wide variety of shoe styles and sizes.

eBay
Read 4602 Reviews

Founded in 1998 in California, eBay has several businesses including its auction website, eBay Marketplace. Users list items for sale for a fee or bid on ongoing auctions. Items are sold by individuals or third-party retailers.

Wayfair
Read 4593 Reviews

Offers an extensive online selection of over 10 million items supplied by 10,000 partners. Find furniture and furnishings, from décor and accents chairs to beds and beds for pets. Pricing for sofas starts at less than $300.

Hayneedle
Read 1119 Reviews

Sort by style and category when you shop online for home furnishings. Fulfillment centers deliver products of over 3,000 brands, including their own, at discounted prices nationwide. Sofas start around $300.

P.C. Richard & Son
Read 2530 Reviews

Offers appliances, electronics, home furniture and fixtures within the Northeast Region. Provides free shipping on orders $49 and up with installation services for big-ticket items. Offers two extended warranty options.

Etsy
Read 973 Reviews

Etsy launched in 2005 as an online marketplace for unique handmade goods. Today, Etsy sellers can sell vintage or unique merchandise in their individual virtual shops. Etsy sellers pay a 3.5 percent fee for each sale completed.

BuyDig.com
Read 168 Reviews

BuyDig.com offers deals, including blowout deals, clearance and coupons, on a wide variety of products. They sell to both individuals and corporate customers and can fill orders quickly. Most ship within 48 hours.

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ConsumerAffairs.com
Read 1032 Reviews

Founded in 1998, ConsumerAffairs.com is a consumer advocacy website. It features news and resources to help consumers make smart purchasing decisions, including buyer’s guides and thousands of customer reviews and complaints.

Abt
Read 139 Reviews

Abt was founded in 1936 and is now a major appliance and electronics retailer with a massive retail site in Glenview, Illinois. Abt’s e-commerce site launched in 1997, offering electronics and appliances nationwide.

Features of online shopping

Selection

One of the advantages of online shopping is the vast selection available. Long gone are the days where you are limited to a single location — the entire world can now box and ship directly to your door. However, you should pay attention to the types of stores at your fingertips in order to choose the one that works best.

  • Niche or branded stores: Some stores specialize in a single brand or even a single product. The reason these stores can be handy is if you need a part or piece for a specific item, a company exclusive or loyalty to a brand.
  • Mass merchandisers: Like shopping at the local big-box store, if you shop online at a mass merchandiser you should pay attention to their price, quality and variety. For instance, some online stores have items you cannot find at your local big-box, but some items are easier to grab if available in-store.
  • Luxury items: Some people want to purchase high-end products, but not every store offers niche brands or boutique-style items. If you want to purchase these types of items, you’ll have to look at a store that offers these options. However, be aware of counterfeit items by doing your research and checking site reviews.

Online price and policies

Every online store sets its own prices and policies regarding purchases, returns and guarantees. You may only be paying attention to the price comparisons, but you should also look for a company that makes returns simple and guarantees their product or service if you are unhappy with your purchase.

  • Sales, deals or coupons: Many online stores have sales on items you might need, and these sales often rotate seasonally or by department. You can also save money if the online store you select accepts store or manufacturer coupons (often in the form of a code that you enter on the payment page).
  • Return policies: If you’re unhappy with your purchase from an online store you’ll likely have to send it back in the mail, so look into your online store’s return policies. You should also consider whether the store or the customer is responsible for return shipping costs.
  • Guarantees: Some online stores stand by their products and offer a money-back guarantee if you’re dissatisfied with the purchase. Particularly if you are making a major purchase, be sure the store has a solid reputation for honoring its guarantees and will refund your money if you don’t like the purchase.

Customer service availability

When you make a purchase online, customer service representatives can often help with product selection, payment questions, shipping concerns and processing returns.

  • Prominent customer service features: An online store should make it easy for you to shop with them. Consider whether the customer service features on the website are clearly presented and easy to navigate. Some websites will have a “Contact us” tab on the page, while others will feature a text box on the side of the page for contact information.
  • Chat feature: The chat feature, where you can text with a customer service representative in real-time, has started to become more prevalent in recent years. A representative can help you choose the right product or address any purchasing concerns while you shop. Before purchasing from a store with this option, give this feature a try — ask a representative a question about a product you’re considering. You will get an idea of how quickly they respond and whether or not they are helpful.
  • Customer service hours: Online stores are open all the time but may have certain hours when you can chat with a customer service representative if you need help choosing an item or completing a purchase.

Safe online shopping

Whether you are in the market for personal care items, clothing, auto parts or art supplies, you will have many stores to choose from on the Internet. And while you can find adequate supplies at many of these stores, you should use caution when choosing an online retailer.

  • Reputation: Shopping from an online store requires divulging personal financial information, trusting that your information will be used appropriately, and that your product or service will be delivered as promised. Be sure you buy from a reputable store that is known for ethical business practices and a quality product.
  • Secure payment: When making a payment online, be sure that the company has a secure payment portal that won’t compromise your financial information. Before typing your credit card or other payment information, look for a small padlock icon in the web address bar and check to see that the web address begins with the letters “https” and not “http” (the “s” stands for “secure”).
  • Check your statements: Keep track of your spending and check your statements regularly. If you notice any odd purchases — especially in small amounts and/or from locations unfamiliar to you — make sure to note them and contact your credit card/bank immediately.

Reliable shipping and tracking

Although you can place this under reliability, it is always important to follow up with the company’s shipping and tracking. When you pay an online retailer, you want to be sure you will receive the product within a reasonable amount of time and that it won’t get “lost” in the mail system. You may also want shipping options, like auto-ship or your choice of carrier.

  • Auto-ship or subscription options: Many online stores offer the convenience of auto shipping products you need on a regular basis, such as medicine or personal care items. You can choose how frequently you’d like the store to ship a new product (for example, once a month or every other month) and your credit card will be charged with a new transaction every time the product ships. Some stores even charge a bit less for products that you buy on a subscription plan, which can save you quite a bit over time since you use these products so frequently.
  • Affordable or free shipping: Standard shipping rates for orders at online stores can vary from a few dollars to ten or more, particularly if the weight or size of your order is large or bulky. However, many online stores offer free shipping if you spend a minimum amount (such as $25 or $50). Larger, more popular stores are often able to offer free shipping on all orders, which can save you quite a bit of money over time.
  • Expedited shipping options: Many online stores allow you to choose between a standard shipping time of several days and one or more expedited options (such as 2 day or overnight shipping). These faster options almost always cost more but can be a great choice if you need a product right away.
  • Choice of courier: Some online stores have an exclusive contract with one mail courier, such as USPS, UPS or FedEx. However, others allow you to choose which courier you prefer, which can save you money or time depending on where you live.
  • Tracking options: Most online stores are able to track your order once it has been shipped. They will often email you a tracking number that allows you to log into the courier’s website or sign up for status updates on your package. This can help you track down your package if it is shipped to the wrong address or if it is stalled during delivery. It also helps you know if your package has been stolen from your porch or another drop-off spot since the tracking updates will change to “delivered” once the package has been left by the courier.
LabelCompany nameLogoContactSummary
Best For AppliancesRead Reviews
  • Over 100 years of experience
  • Free shipping on orders $49 and up
  • Installation services for big-ticket items
LabelCompany nameLogoContactSummary
Best Female OptionsRead Reviews
  • Deep discounts to members
  • Large selection of shoe styles and sizes
  • VIP members receive a JustFab credit of $39.95

Types of online stores

Mass merchandisers and department stores

Some online stores offer many products in many categories or “departments,” much like a brick-and-mortar big box store or department store. These stores can often offer products at cheaper prices or with free shipping.

Boutique or niche stores

Some online stores specialize in one particular product or category of products. In some cases, you might not have many options if the item you need is a boutique or niche item, such as a particular brand of boutique footwear or a part for a particular brand of appliance.

Online stores with offline counterparts

Most major brick-and-mortar retailers also have online stores. While this might not affect your choice of store, it can be beneficial if there is a local retail store near you. You might browse the physical store first and choose a product, then buy it online for more selection in size, color or variety. You can also often return unwanted items purchased online to the store’s physical location.

Online-only stores

Many online shopping sites do not have a physical counterpart, and are often run by a small staff. This can be a great way to support small businesses and boost the economy, and often means you can find unique products you might not find in a big store.

Marketplace websites

Some websites are not “stores” per se, but instead offer a platform for many different sellers to advertise and sell their goods. Sellers set up virtual stores or list products for sale, typically paying a fee to the hosting website, and buyers bid or buy items they want.

Hybrid store websites

Some websites function in multiple ways simultaneously. For example, Amazon.com is both a seller of its own goods, kept in warehouses and shipped through Amazon’s couriers and a marketplace platform for other people or businesses to sell their goods.

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Compare Top Online Shopping Website Reviews

Nordstrom
Read 348 Reviews

Nordstrom, Inc. is a publically-traded clothing and shoe retailer with brick-and-mortar stores and a website. The site sells clothing and accessories as well as men’s, women’s and children’s shoes in a variety of styles and sizes.

Vistaprint
Read 1686 Reviews

Vistaprint is a well-known custom printer that specializes in professional-quality business cards, marketing materials, signs, stationery and more for small businesses and personal use. They serve over 10 million customers a year.

AngiesList.com
Read 562 Reviews

Founded in 1995, Angie’s List is a website that compiles consumer reviews of local service providers. While the reviews are free to access, consumers can purchase a plan for more benefits like lower rates with service providers.

Fingerhut
Read 1028 Reviews

Founded in 1948 as a mail-order catalog, Fingerhut’s website features over 700,000 products including home goods, apparel, automotive and more. It allows consumers to use credit and make monthly payments, with added interest.

OpticsPlanet.com
Read 264 Reviews

Founded in 2000, OpticsPlanet.com specializes in sports optics, tactical gear, eyewear and other optics products. They offer a wide product selection, serving civilians as well as government and law enforcement agencies.

Evine
Read 675 Reviews

Founded in 1995, Evine began as a home shopping network and now includes an integrated retail website. Evine specializes in jewelry, watches, apparel, beauty and more and a daily “Today’s Top Value” product at a steep discount.

Anthropologie
Read 137 Reviews

Anthropologie was founded as a high-end women’s clothing store in 1992. Today, it has a retail website and over 200 retail locations. Anthropologie’s website sells luxury women’s apparel, accessories, shoes, gifts and home goods.

Blair
Read 180 Reviews

Blair began over 100 years ago as a mail-order catalog company specializing in raincoats. Today, Blair features home goods and apparel for men and women, still available via catalog but also through a full-service retail website.

QVC
Read 660 Reviews

Founded in 1986, QVC is a leading online retailer and television-based home shopping network. It offers name-brand products on a rotating basis, including boutique and established luxury brands in home care, beauty and more.

Tommy John
Read 90 Reviews

This clothing line began as a men’s underwear line with the goal of fixing bunching under layers. The brand has since expanded to include base layers including underwear, undershirts, and other clothing for both men and women.

The Bradford Exchange Online
Read 522 Reviews

The Bradford Exchange was founded in 1973 as a purveyor of collectibles. Today its online store, The Bradford Exchange Online, specializes in jewelry, art, collectibles and memorabilia, many of which are exclusive to the site.

NFL Shop
Read 411 Reviews

NFL Shop is the official sales website of the National Football League, offering jerseys, memorabilia, gift ideas and more with official NFL team logos and colors. NFL Shop offers many products that cannot be purchased elsewhere.

Woman Within
Read 299 Reviews

Formerly known as Lane Bryant and established in 1901, Woman Within is a women’s plus-sized clothing company featuring catalog sales and a retail website. Woman Within sells clothing in sizes 12w and up and ships internationally.

Jet.com
Read 158 Reviews

Jet.com is an ecommerce site that saves consumers money on everyday purchases. Enjoy free 2-5 day shipping on orders totaling $35 or more and receive rewards in the form of JetCash, which can be used on future purchases.

HSN
Read 651 Reviews

Launched in 1982 as the first television-based home shopping networks, today HSN also features an online store. HSN’s website sells name brands and new products in categories like fashion, jewelry, home and more.

Lids.com
Read 186 Reviews

Lids.com is a subsidiary of The LIDS Sports Group, established in 1995. Specializing in sports-themed ballcaps with professional and college team logos, Lids.com also sells other hats and apparel for men, women and children.

Dream Products
Read 200 Reviews

Based in California, Dream Products was a mail-order company and now advertises merchandise in newspaper inserts, catalogs, magazines and on its website. Their items include As Seen on TV products, gifts, apparel and home goods.

RepairClinic.com
Read 86 Reviews

This company specializes in replacement parts of appliances, lawn equipment, HVAC and power tools and ships throughout the United States and Canada. Customers can return items for any reason within 365 days for a refund.

Alibris Books
Read 126 Reviews

Founded in 1993, Alibris is an online marketplace company that facilitates sales between independent merchants and website users. Among many other things, consumers may rent textbooks and supplementary materials.

f.y.e.
Read 102 Reviews

Established in 1993, today f.y.e. features retail stores and an extensive website specializing in entertainment merchandise. It sells music, movies, merchandise and tech gear and features the option to re-sell used products.

Mack Weldon
Read 30 Reviews

This brand touts “smart underwear for smart guys.” The men’s underwear brand has a mission of reinventing basics through premium fabrics, smart design, and convenient purchasing options.

MeUndies
Read 31 Reviews

This underwear brand makes their products with Lenzing MicroModal, offering a softer-than-cotton feel. Serving both men and women, the brand offer bold designs starting around $16/pair, or a money-saving subscription service.

Collections Etc.
Read 105 Reviews

Formerly Taylor Gifts, Collections Etc. is a catalog- and Internet-based retail store owned by Winston Brands. Established in 1997, it offers over 2,000 items at $14.99 or less, including apparel, gifts, seasonal decor and more.

Fredericks of Hollywood
Read 139 Reviews

Founded in 1947, Fredericks of Hollywood was a women’s lingerie retailer with stores across the United States. The company declared bankruptcy and was bought out in 2015, and is now an online-only lingerie and erotica retailer.

Roaman's
Read 84 Reviews

Founded more than 100 years ago, Roaman’s was one of the first plus sized fashion retailers for women. Today it is headquartered in Indiana. Its website carries special occasion wear, denim, tops, outerwear, lingerie and more.

AsSeenOnTV.com
Read 58 Reviews

AsSeenOnTV.com launched in 2015 as the online retail branch of the company As Seen on TV, known for television infomercials. They specialize in home goods, health and beauty, apparel, gag gifts, novelty items and more.

Mizzen+Main
Read 23 Reviews

This men’s clothing brand focuses on comfort and ease of care with performance fabrics. The brand offers dress and casual shirts, as well as other clothing and accessories for men.

Bonobos
Read 28 Reviews

This men’s clothing brand wants to make shopping for clothing a painless experience. Beginning as a line of better-fitting pants, the brand has since expanded to include shirts and suits.

6th Ave Electronics
Read 92 Reviews

Founded in 1984, 6th Ave Electronics offers a wide selection of electronics including small appliances, gaming systems, cameras, televisions and more.

Casio Watch
Read 34 Reviews

Geeks.com
Read 26 Reviews

Geeks.com is an online technology retailer specializing in cameras, tech components, headphones, speakers and more. After some financial difficulties, Geeks.com now offers “Daily Deals” instead of a full line of products.

123inkjets
Read 32 Reviews

Established in 1999, 123inkjets is an online supplier of printer supplies at discount prices. They sell a full line of branded supplies as well as remanufactured ink and toner, an eco-conscious option that reduces waste and cost.

Cutco and Vector Marketing
Read 91 Reviews

Individuals with and without prior sales experience can quickly and easily become a Cutco representative. Receive training and a secure base pay while working a flexible schedule selling Cutco kitchen knives.

SkinMedix
Read 28 Reviews

SkinMedix is a retail website specializing in skin care, including sun protection, body care, eye care and accessories. Based out of Florida, it offers name brand skin care products at discounted prices.

Sharper Image
Read 409 Reviews

Originating in 1977, Sharper Image relaunched its brand in 2010 as an online retailer of home electronics, air purifiers, massage chairs and other lifestyle products. Their website is designed to be informative and user-friendly.

Brookstone
Read 159 Reviews

Brookstone began as a catalog company in 1965, and today is a major tech retailer with store locations nationwide. Its extensive website allows you to browse products by category including gifts, massage, audio and more.

Chubbies Shorts
Read 17 Reviews

This men’s clothing company specializing in shorts and swim trunks is particularly popular among college students. Offering a variety of fun patterns and colors, the brand’s most popular products average between $50 and $60.

Amway
Read 28 Reviews

Amway is a multi-level marketing company previously known as Quixtar. Established in 1959, Amway recruits independent distributors to sell personal care products. Products are also available for purchase online.

East Coast TVs
Read 345 Reviews

East Coast TVs is a New Jersey-based electronics company founded in 2008. They specialize in televisions; appliances; and audio, video and photography gear. They offer free shipping on most items and a points-based rewards system.

HomeClick
Read 276 Reviews

HomeClick was established in 2000 and is now a leader in name-brand, luxurious home improvement items. They feature a broad inventory of items for every room, including appliances, lighting, bathroom fixtures and more.

Bidz.com
Read 180 Reviews
Out of Business

Bidz.com is an online auction specializing in jewelry. Users register on the site and then place bids on designer rings, earrings, watches and more. Some items are also offered for immediate sale through a “buy it now” feature.

Poetry.com
Read 180 Reviews
Out of Business

Poetry.com is an online community for amateur poets. Members receive points for posting an original poem or commenting on another member’s work, and points are redeemable for digital badges and pins.

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ConsumerAffairs Research Team

The ConsumerAffairs Research Team believes everyone deserves to make smart decisions. We aim to provide readers with the most up-to-date information available about today's consumer products and services.