Smart Buying

7 Things You Need to Know About Shopping on

The members-only shopping site is aiming to undercut the prices of Amazon and Walmart, but can it deliver? is making a splash in the online shopping space. The site, which launched in July, is being likened to an online warehouse club with prices that rival its big-name competition, including and In fact, cofounder and CEO Marc Lore is no stranger to how Amazon does business. In 2011, Lore's e-commerce company, Quidsi, which operated several sites including, was acquired by Amazon for $545 million. Lore stayed on for two years after the acquisition before leaving to start

See Our Slide Show: 7 Best Things to Buy on

For now, the newcomer seems to be focusing primarily on trying to offer its customers lower prices than they’d find on competing sites. “Jet dynamically reprices products as [customers] shop and provides savings incentives on items that cost less when bought and shipped together, ultimately rewarding customers for shopping smarter,” says Liza Landsman, Jet’s chief customer officer. Offering non-shopping perks, such as on-demand videos and streaming music, which are available to Amazon Prime members, doesn’t appear to be part of Jet’s current business model.

If you’re a frequent online shopper and are constantly looking for ways to score better deals, here’s what you should know about

1. Membership is free. You might have heard that charges $49.99 a year to join. No longer. Before any of the site's initial customers finished their free trials, CEO Lore announced that the company would ditch the membership fee. You simply need to create a free member account to place an order.

2. Shipping isn’t always free. Unlike a $99-a-year Amazon Prime membership, which includes free two-day shipping on all orders fulfilled by Amazon, only offers free delivery for orders of $35 or more. Jet promises two-day shipping on items mailed from its fulfillment center, but orders filled by third-party vendors can take up to five days to arrive. On orders that total less than $35, the shipping fee is $5.99. Jet doesn’t ship to Alaska or Hawaii.

3. The more you buy, the more you save. offers a savings incentive to members who purchase multiple products categorized as “smart items.” These are products that cost less when purchased together, such as a discount on jelly when you put peanut butter in your shopping cart. The more so-called smart items you buy, the bigger the discount you’ll see on your total at checkout.

To put the savings feature to the test, I searched for paper products that were labeled as smart items on Jet. After viewing the results, I placed four items in my shopping cart. In order, this included a nine-count pack of Charmin Sensitive Mega Rolls ($12.35 with no additional discount), two three-count packs of Green Forest Paper Towel Rolls ($7.12 before the smart item discount of 35 cents), a 35-count pack of Chinet Dessert Plates ($6.65 before the smart item discount of 60 cents) and a 12-count pack of Repurpose Insulated Hot Cups and Lids ($6 before the smart item discount of 80 cents). Factoring in the discounts, the final cost was $30.37 excluding tax. I searched for identical products on Amazon and the total came to $37.77 -- a difference of $7.40.

4. Save even more by waiving free returns. offers free returns on most items within 30 days of purchase. However, if you plan to buy an item that you’re confident you won’t want to return, you can opt out of getting a free return in exchange for an additional discount on the product. For example, a two-pack of 46-ounce bottles of Tide Liquid Laundry Detergent costs $20.68. By waiving the free return option, you’ll get 42 cents off. And even if you waived free returns, you can still return an item as long as you pay a penalty fee when you do so.

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5. Using the right card earns a discount. By choosing to pay for your order using a debit card instead of a credit card, you’ll score an additional discount of 1.5% on any order. Jet does accept all major credit cards including American Express, Discover, Visa and Mastercard, but there is no discount for using them.

6. will pay you to shop on other sites. With the Jet Anywhere program, members can earn “JetCash” credits when they make purchases on hundreds of outside e-commerce sites, such as Nike, Anthropologie and Petco. One JetCash credit is equal to $1 off a future purchase. In order to earn credits, you’ll have to log on to Jet and click on the “Shop Jet Anywhere” tab. That will then take you to a page where you can search and shop on approved retailers’ sites. After you’ve made your eligible purchases, JetCash will appear as pending in your Jet account for 30 days while your purchase details are being verified.

7. The site lacks product reviews by customers. doesn’t currently allow users to leave product reviews. Considering that the site sells big-ticket items, such as fine jewelry and home appliances, this might be a helpful feature for members who are hesitant about making such expensive purchases online. I shop almost exclusively online for everything from clothing to groceries to furniture. Reading other customers’ opinions about items helps me narrow my search and influences my decision on whether to click the “buy” button. The site plans to test customer reviews on select categories, including electronics and pet supplies, by year’s end, Jet’s Landsman says.

See Our Slide Show: Worst Things to Buy on Amazon

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