Amazon has a new rival in town.
Online shopping site Jet opened its virtual doors to the public today, boasting it’s “cheaper than Amazon, more practical than Costco.”
Jet sells everything from household items to electronics, and offers “club price savings on pretty much anything you buy.” The idea is to combine the savings of shopping at Costco or Sam’s Club with the convenience and selection of Amazon.
The site normally charges $49.99 per year in membership fees, but you can try it out for free for 90 days. In case that’s not enough for you, we’re giving 20 lucky Penny Hoarder readers a full year membership for free! (Read to the end of this article for details.)
Here’s a look at the new site, and why it might be a good option for you.
How Does Jet Help You Save Money?
With Jet, the more items you put in your online shopping cart, the more money you save. The site also offers “smart items,” which are marked with a little blue badge. If you bundle these items together, you’ll save even more off the total cost of your order.
Take advantage of additional savings when you select certain options at check-out, including paying with a debit card. If you don’t like an item, you can return it for free — as long as you don’t waive that option at checkout for extra savings.
If you order more than $35 worth of goods, you’ll get free shipping. Jet also says you’ll receive additional savings based on your zip code, but it’s not clear which zip codes receive the discounts or how much those discounts are.
How Does Jet Compare to Amazon?
Jet’s $49.99 annual fee is about half the price of Amazon Prime, and its free trial is three times as long (90 days vs. 30 days). However, Prime also comes with benefits like streaming music and video, photo storage and free two-day shipping.
To see how Jet’s savings compare to Amazon’s deals, I did a “sample shop” for a few common household items: laundry detergent, dryer sheets, stain remover and toilet paper.
Here’s what I found (keep in mind prices reflect my zip code in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, so you might not see the same ones):
First, I put some Tide Ultra HE Powder Laundry Detergent (original scent, 95 ounces) in my cart. When you add an item to your cart, Jet displays Amazon’s price (with a link you can click to see for yourself) along with the savings you’ll receive by purchasing the item from Jet. Amazon offered this detergent for $24.30 and Jet offered a $7.51 savings.
Next, I added Bounce Fabric Softener Dryer Sheets (outdoor fresh scent, 240 count). These were listed as $7.83 on Amazon and 53 cents cheaper on Jet. I clicked through to Amazon and found the dryer sheets were unavailable; Amazon didn’t know when or if they would be back in stock.
When I added the dryer sheets to my cart, the site told me “savings just increased on 1,385,259 items” with the blue “smart item” badge.
Wanting to receive the full benefit of the savings, I selected another laundry item that featured the same badge: Ultra Oxi-Active Stainlifter by All. It costs $9.25 on Amazon, but Jet offered a savings of 95 cents. I also clicked through to Amazon to double-check the price, and it offered the item for $55.47 for a six-pack, which does comes to $9.25 each. Amazon also offered a similar product for $7.39.
When I added this product to the cart, a new message popped up saying my “savings just increased on 1,398,643 items.”
To maximize my hypothetical savings, I put one more item in my cart. This four-pack of Charmin toilet paper was listed as a “smart item” and supposedly sold for $4.60 on Amazon with a savings of 76 cents on Jet. However, there wasn’t a link to compare to an Amazon listing.
When I searched on Amazon, I found 40 double rolls of a comparable product for $33.99 (or $3.40 per four-pack), which is a better price if you’re looking to stock up. Of course, since Jet rewards customers who buy in bulk, this addition to my cart meant I could save on even more items.
But I was ready to wrap up my experiment. My order total was $36.23 — a $9.75 savings off Amazon’s prices, according to Jet. I didn’t pay any membership fees with the free three-month membership, and I received free shipping for going over the $35 mark.
At checkout, I also had the option to waive free returns on several of my items.
For each return I waived, I could earn five to 17 cents in additional savings. Delivery time on two items (the detergent and dryer sheets) was estimated at one or two business days, and delivery on the toilet paper and stain remover was estimated at up to five business days.
The Verdict on Jet
I didn’t actually place my order, so I can’t rate the efficiency of shipping or the quality of the products, but Jet’s prices are certainly competitive with Amazon’s.
Bargain shoppers beware: It’s tempting to keep throwing additional items into your cart to receive additional savings.
If you’re an occasional online shopper and would only place infrequent orders, paying for a membership is probably not worth your while.
But if you frequently order items online, especially household staples, this could be a great way to save money. With the $9.75 Jet.com says I saved on my order, I would only need to place about five similar orders per year to earn back my membership fee.
Give Jet a Try for Free
To see how the site works for yourself, sign up for a free 90-day trial membership. Jet promises you won’t be auto-enrolled in a paid membership program, and there are no strings attached to the free trial.
Want more than 90 days for free? Leave a comment below and you could win a free one-year membership. Tell us what you’d buy on Jet and include your email address, and we’ll pick 20 winners.
Your Turn: Have you tried Jet yet? Will it convince you to switch from Costco or Amazon?
Disclosure: We have a serious Taco Bell addiction around here. The affiliate links in this post help us order off the dollar menu. Thanks for your support!
Kristen Pope is a freelance writer and editor in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.