6 Online Shopping Sites That Are Off the Beaten Path
Almost all of us do some shopping online. It’s just so easy: You point and click, then go to your “cart” and pay for your order. Boom, you’re done.
If you’re shopping only on Amazon or eBay or Etsy, though, you’re missing out on some really good deals.
We scouted out a bunch of obscure shopping destinations on the web that you’ve probably never heard of — places that are off the beaten path. Places where you can find a bargain.
Here are six of them:
- GoodwillFinds, where you can browse through 100,000 pieces of secondhand merchandise from Goodwill’s 3,300 stores.
- Unclaimed Baggage, a website that sells clothes, jewelry and electronics from lost airline luggage.
- Temu, an online retailer that ships products directly from China to consumers for cheap.
- DealDash, an auction website that puts items up for sale for pennies on the dollar.
- The online U.S. military exchange, where veterans get discounts and shop tax-free.
- GovDeals, a government auction site that sells everything from heavy equipment and real estate to fine art.
Next time you’re shopping online, check out some of these lesser-known corners of the internet. You never know what you might find.
Let’s look at them one by one.
GoodwillFinds: A Huge Online Thrift Store
Goodwill is a 120-year-old nonprofit organization, the granddaddy of thrift shops everywhere. So it was big news for thrifters when Goodwill finally went digital.
Last year it launched GoodwillFinds, a website that allows you to browse through tens of thousands of pieces of secondhand merchandise from the comfort of your couch.
Because each purchase comes from one of Goodwill’s 3,300 locations across the U.S. and Canada, the shipping costs for each item will vary — but they’ll never be a surprise. At checkout, you’ll be offered shipping options based on your address.
The site has a search bar, and you can also browse by category. Do you need women’s clothing, men’s clothing or shoes? Cookware, jewelry or books? Home decor? Collectors’ items? It’s all there.
When people donate their secondhand stuff to Goodwill stores, workers inspect the items and decide which things to list online. Goodwill’s goal is to list a million items on the site within a few years.
Unclaimed Baggage: Selling Stuff From America’s Lost Luggage
Have you ever wondered what happens to lost luggage that never gets found?
Most lost bags get reunited with their owners. Only a small fraction of luggage never gets claimed by anyone. But with billions of bags getting checked at airports every year, even a small fraction is a lot.
Luggage that’s truly “orphaned” ends up at a huge retail store in Alabama called the Unclaimed Baggage Center, which has an online store called Unclaimed Baggage.
There, you can find men and women’s clothes, jewelry, and electronics like laptops, tablets, earbuds and headphones.
There are scheduled “drops” of new merchandise every Thursday and Sunday, so those are typically the best days to shop there. However, on any day of the week you can find thousands of unclaimed items for sale at deep discounts.
Temu: Merchandise Straight from China
Temu is an online marketplace that ships products directly from China to consumers. Temu is an American company based out of Boston, but its parent company is based in China.
Instead of third-party sellers purchasing these products and reselling them on Amazon, you can cut out the middleman and obtain them directly.
On Temu’s website, the categories include appliances; smart home gadgets; clothing, lawn and garden supplies; health and household; beauty; musical instruments; toys and games; electronics; and pet supplies.
Shopping on Temu is simple, just like using a site like Amazon. Visit Temu’s website or download the Temu app to your iOS or Android device. Once on the site or app, you can begin perusing the store and finding deals.
DealDash: A Popular Penny Auction Website
DealDash is a legitimate auction website that allows visitors to bid on various items, from electronics to clothing, winning them at less than the retail price. It’s not a scam trying to cheat you out of your cash, but it’s important to understand the actual cost of bidding and winning items on the site.
Penny auctions operate by offering up products and allowing people to bid on them, increasing the sale price by a single cent each time. When a bid is placed, the auction timer is also increased by a set amount of time.
Once the timer expires due to no more bids, the product is sold for the final auction price to the final bidder (aka the winning bidder). However, any bids you place will cost you a set amount of money, and you won’t get back the money you spent on bids if you lose the auction.
It can be fun, but it’s a little bit like gambling. Using a website like DealDash can sometimes net you solid deals, but we wouldn’t rely on it for regular discounts as the actual cost can be higher than first anticipated.
Online Military Exchange: Discounts and Tax-Free Shopping for Veterans
These days, troops and veterans can visit the PX on their phones or computers. If you’re a veteran and you’re not browsing at ShopMyExchange.com, you might be missing out on some serious discounts. At the very least, you can shop there tax-free.
On average, military exchanges provide about a 20% discount compared to commercial department stores when you factor in both the military-exclusive pricing and the military’s exemption from state and local taxes, according to websites like Military Advantage.
You can shop by category, with choices including electronics, clothes, shoes, furniture, appliances, jewelry, toys and sports gear.
If you’re looking for bargains, the online military exchange has a “Savings Center” page with rotating clearance sales of everything from computers and TVs to toys, bedding and kitchenware. There’s also a rotating “deal of the day.”
GovDeals: A Government Surplus Auction Site
Think of GovDeals like eBay but for governments.
Once an item falls out of use, public organizations — from state colleges to law enforcement — auction it off to the public.
Back in the day, many agencies placed ads in the local newspaper when they wanted to sell off old equipment or seized property. GovDeals lets governments list items for auction online instead, where they can reach a bigger audience. All of the money generated by the sale is returned to the agency.
You can find just about anything on GovDeals, including exercise equipment, school projectors, laptops, kitchen equipment, trucks, trading cards, RVs and hunting knives — often at a deep discount.
So there you have it. Six online shopping destinations that are off the beaten path.
If you’re shopping for a specific product, odds are good that you can find it at one of these places. Or you can just browse for fun and see what tickles your fancy.
Once you become a truly savvy online shopper, you’ll never pay full price again.
Mike Brassfield (mi[email protected]) is a senior writer at The Penny Hoarder.