Jet.com vs. Walmart vs. Costco vs. Amazon.com: Which Has the Best Prices Online?

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Jet is a fairly new service that tends to have the lowest normal prices but also poor reviews. Walmart is everywhere and works well for buying online and picking up locally. Costco is aimed squarely at the bulk purchasing crowd for getting even lower pric

There’s a kind of eternal quest to find the best prices for products online, given how many choices you currently have. Here are some examples of the most popular options for buying online, including how the price points of each compare relative to what they offer.

Jet.com

Jet.com is a relative newcomer to the pricing game for online purchases. They have become rather popular in a short amount of time for a reason, however.

Features

  • Prices Lower While Shopping-The more products you add from Jet.com, the more the prices drop. This is largely because of shipping options. It’s important to note that some manufacturers won’t allow discounts, however.
  • 2-Day Delivery on Some Items-It’s not every item, but many items are setup so that they can get to your home in just two days.
  • Shipping and Return Deals-Shipping on packages more than $35 is free on Jet. The site offers free returns as well.
  • Quick Reorder-If you want to buy the same thing over and over, you can do this fairly easily through Jet with a link in the top right.

Walmart

There’s definitely an advantage when it comes to Walmart in terms of physical locations. Many of the other services don’t have the kind of physical presence they do, or anywhere near it. So, if you want to buy stuff online and then pick it up, or get free shipping to a local store regardless of the length of the order, this is a good place to try.

 Features

  • Pickup Anywhere-The chances are pretty good that no matter where you are, there will be a Walmart nearby. So, if you want to purchase items online, but pick them up locally, you can do that with Walmart right through the site.
  • Walmart to Go-This service will definitely depend on your area since it’s not available everywhere yet, but it could mean that you could get home delivery of fresh items like milk and bananas that can’t be delivered through the mail, really.
  • “Dare to Compare” Program-If you click on this link from Walmart, you’ll see that they compare prices on various items for you against Amazon, Best Buy, Target, Toys R Us, and others, though it doesn’t look like Jet is included in this. It’s also definitely not the case that Walmart will always win this comparison war. They only post the ones here where they do win.

Costco

It’s easy to see where the stronger options for purchases on Costco are going to be by checking for the “C” next to product during searches. These are the Costco Member Only options.

Features

  • Buy in Bulk-If you become a member of Costco, you can buy items in bulk for lower prices than non-members in many instances. In this way, you can purchase enough cereal for a whole year ahead of time, for example, for a fraction of the cost.
  • Exclusive Items-The little “C” next to certain items on the site means that only members can buy them. This gives you an advantage in terms of cost savings.
  • Email Offers-Costco will also periodically put out offers for bulk purchases from their warehouses that you can sign up for through the site.

Amazon.com

Amazon isn’t going to tend to win the price point war compared to the other services, but the point of it is more for customers to feel like they are given additional value that they can’t get elsewhere.

Features

  • Amazon Fresh-If you’re in areas affected by Amazon Fresh, including especially the West Coast and more cities as time goes on, then you can get fresh produce and other items delivered directly to your door quickly.
  • Prime-This costs about $100 per year, but it brings a number of benefits, such as access to Amazon Fresh, Amazon Pantry, and free two-day shipping.
  • Renowned Customer Service-It’s not going to be the case that every single customer service interaction is positive for you at Amazon, but they do have a reputation for going above and beyond for customers. This extends itself to replacing lost items, getting full refunds, and so on.

Head to Head

Features Related to Pricing

Jet has features that reward you for buying more items on their account, such as the fact that you get lower prices for every item you add to your shopping cart, or just generally while shipping depending on the items. There’s a large variety on the site with everything from portable DVD players, to wireless speakers, breakfast foods, and just about everything else you can think of in general. The site is essentially a competitor to Amazon, and the prices are all fairly competitive in order to reflect this.  There’s also an option on Jet called “Jetcash” which allows you to click on a Jetcash link that brings you to another brand’s web page. Then, you forward the confirmation email to Jet’s email for the purpose, and you can get up to 12% cash back or more. This obviously varies a lot based on the brand, it’s often as low as 1.6% for sites like Expedia, for example.

Walmart helps facilitate comparisons of items where they win through the “dare to Compare” feature that’s accessible through the main Walmart website. Here, you’ll see the prices for other stores for each item. For example, they list the Apple iPod touch at prices like $185 which are cheaper than at the $209 from Amazon. Jet isn’t included in this price comparison, however, and only items that Walmart wins the pricing war will be listed. That means it’s still worth checking other sites sometimes for prices.

Costco has features mostly related to buying wholesale. You can get pricing way below what you’d be able to have otherwise by getting a membership and then buying many of the same things at once. The discount is often going to be several times cheaper, generally. The trickier part will often be finding the exact item you want here, as this can often fluctuate.

Amazon features related to pricing are often more about “added” value than winning a race to the bottom in terms of pricing. You can get access to free 2-day shipping, Amazon Video and Music options, all through Prime. There’s also the extra stuff like Amazon Pantry or Amazon Fresh as well. It may not allow you to get the lowest price, but you can definitely buy one of the largest selection of options and gain access to a huge number of features.

Overall, Jet and Walmart are definitely courting every day buyers with their features in terms of pricing. In contrast, Costco is going after those who just want to buy in bulk, and Amazon is at the opposite side of things going after people who don’t mind higher price points for everything as long as they get extra for it.

Reviews

Jet gets somewhat lackluster reviews from the BBB related to New Jersey at 2.5 out of 5 and over 50 reviews available. The rating from the site itself is C+, largely because the high number of complaints at over 200 versus the relatively short amount of time operating which is no more than a few years. Other reviews include the one from News for Shoppers which addresses complaints related to shipping issues, intense price fluctuations, unseen chargers and problems with customer service. The reviewer actually asked a customer service rep about these issues specifically, and basically just got back a response saying that they were working on it.

Walmart is notorious for getting pretty poor reviews for their stores, including online stores. Examples include over 2000 complaints from Consumer Affairs with a 1.4 out of 5 rating, and a 4.2 out of 10 mark for Trust Pilot. Their pricing, however, is often unassailable. In general, Walmart reviews vary a lot on an individual basis due to what that particular person was looking for be it price or customer service.

Costco reviews are as low as the 1.8 out of 5 they get from Nerdwallet for the card they offer, to the 3.2 and 3.6 from various different stores via Yelp. It also gets a low rating from Reseller Ratings, especially when it comes to customer service. They also get a low rating from Trust Pilot with a 3 out of 10. So, it appears online buying experiences at the website often have negative responses from reviewers, whereas the physical stores fare a bit better. Examples of complaints include bad chicken, bad customer service towards the disabled, and other incidents.

Amazon is easily one of the most popular choices for buying online, and it’s quickly gaining ground. It actually has strong reviews from Glass Door with over 10,000 people writing in, which indicates that the employees at least appear to be happy on that particular site. Actual reviews on the site as an overall pricing experience can fluctuate, but it is true that the extra services cost extra and not all are happy about that.

Overall, reviews are often a bit poor for sites that are really trying to bottom out pricing options like Walmart or Jet. This can lead to negative reviews. In contrast, Amazon often has prices that are higher, but better reviews from customers. The bottom line here is that there’s definitely a bit of a push and pull between the lowest prices and how well reviews turn out, especially when it comes to customer service. The extra cost ends up being eaten up somewhere, after all.

Overall Pricing

Jet used to be about $50 to join, but it’s now free for joining. Examples of pricing points on the site include $3.86 for Family Size Frosted Flakes, $3.83 for Raisin Bran, and $10.99 for Vivitar Wireless Speakers. Other products are generally along these lines in terms of cost.

Walmart has a huge variety of items with competitive pricing including in-store. For example, their Frosted Flakes Family Size pricing is $3.98. It is true that Jet beats them there. Their Raisin Bran at Family Size goes for $3.86, which is dead even with Jet.They don’t appear to have the exact same Wireless Speakers as Jet, but they do have comparable speakers going for $12 with the iLive Portable option. Walmart generally charges $5 to $10 for the Walmart on the Go delivery options.

Costco doesn’t have grocery options quite like the others, but they do have plenty of wireless speakers. These tend to be higher end, however, such as the Vizio Smarcast HiFi Speaker which goes for around $160. Examples of similar cereal options include the Protein Apple Cinnamon cereal which goes for $33 or so for 48 1.2 bags. The cost for membership at Costco is $50 per year.

Amazon offers Frosted Flakes Family Size for $3.89, but only through their PrimePantry option which requires an Amazon Prime subscription. Alternatively, you can get a pack of 2 for 7.78, which could out to $3.89 each. This is only as an add-on item, however, which requires you to purchase other items first. You also have to pay extra for various extra options on the site, such as Amazon Prime which is about $100 per year, Amazon Fresh which has a variable cost on top of that, and Amazon Pantry which also tends to cost extra.

Overall, each online shop is focusing on a different way of maximizing price and features. For example, Costco is all about buying in wholesale. This means that you can end up paying 100% less or more per bag when you buy 50 ahead of time. None of the other sites are going to be able to stand up to this type of price, since the savings all come from buying in bulk. Generally speaking, the non-Costco options have it so that Jet has some of the best prices, at least among the random ones chosen. This is generally only by a few cents though, or as much as 10 cents, depending. Plus, Jet has the additional benefit of not requiring any extra subscriptions or restrictions on purchases, unlike what you get with Amazon.

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