5 Alternatives to Amazon’s Super Saver Shipping


This week Amazon made a change to their Super Saver Shipping policy that makes it so customers have to spend $35 on qualifying orders instead of $25 to get “free” shipping. The price increase hasn’t gone over well with many customers, me included.

I think that Amazon is clearly doing this because they want to get more people to sign up for Amazon Prime this holiday shopping season. They’ve been pushing Prime hard lately, and it’s a good alternative to Super Saver Shipping, but it has some limitations.

What really annoys me about Super Saver Shipping is that it’s not really “free” anyway. It’s clearly obvious on many items that part of the shipping cost is part of the asking price because you can find the same product in a local store or on another website advertised for like $5 less where you have to pay separate for shipping.

In recent months many of my Super Saver Shipping orders have turned into Super Slow Shipping orders. Now I know why. The price increase makes total sense. Amazon is trying to steer people away from using Super Saver Shipping. And when you do use it they are going to make sure to slow down the order enough so that you don’t receive it too early.

In year’s past it wasn’t uncommon to receive SSS orders in a few days. Now it seems common for Amazon to wait a week before even shipping it. A couple months ago I became so fed up with Amazon’s Super Slow Shipping that I started shopping elsewhere, and I’ve been surprised to find some good alternatives to Amazon, and often for the same price or even less.

Here are 5 tips for avoiding using Amazon’s Super Saver Slow Shipping:

#1. Amazon Prime – This is what Amazon wants you to do, sign up for a yearly membership of Amazon Prime for $79, which grants free 2-day shipping on some orders. At $6.59 per month, that’s not a bad option really, especially with the added perks of a free monthly ebook and free streaming videos. But the downside is there are a lot of products Prime does not work with; free 2-day shipping only applies to products sold by Amazon themselves, and many items listed as “fulfilled” by Amazon, but it isn’t offered on a lot of products sold by third-party sellers.

#2. eBay – I recently discovered that eBay is a really good alternative to Amazon, and what I like is you can checkout as a guest without having to setup an account. Plus they accept PayPal, unlike Amazon. I also found out that many of the same sellers on Amazon sell on eBay too. On several recent orders I found an item I wanted at Amazon, and then went and searched eBay and turned up the exact same product from the exact same vendor. Usually the price is about the same. And unlike Amazon’s Super Slow Shipping, all of my eBay orders have shipped within two days.

#3. Merchant’s Website – Sometimes I’ll find a product on Amazon and then decide to order it from the merchant’s website directly instead. All you have to do is go to Google and run a search for the name of the company listed as the seller at Amazon. Then find the product on their website and you’re good to go. The price is often exactly the same; shipping costs vary, but sometimes it’s worth a couple extra bucks to get it shipped standard instead of having to wait for SSS. I used to do this a lot back in the day with paper books to avoid paying separate shipping charges from multiple vendors.

#4. Internet Search – A lot of times I’ll run a Google search of a product I find at Amazon to find listings of other retailers selling it. Google shopping can come in handy for this, but it can sure lead you to some questionable websites that I would never feel comfortable giving my personal information to so be careful.

#5. Other Retailers – Amazon isn’t the only website with free shipping. Most websites have a threshold of $50 to receive free shipping (but keep in mind that’s usually for standard shipping, not Super Slow Shipping, so it should arrive faster). Best Buy still offers free shipping on orders $25 and up. Newegg has an SSS equivalent called Super Eggsaver Shipping, which seems to vary by product, not overall price. Some retail stores like Best Buy and Walmart offer free site-to-store shipping for items they don’t have in stock. Here’s a list of alternative retailers with products similar to Amazon:

Best Buy
Barnes and Noble
Micro Center

18 Responses to “5 Alternatives to Amazon’s Super Saver Shipping”

  1. When I want a print book that I can easily buy direct from Amazon rather than the used marketplace, I buy it from Barnes and Noble’s website instead. The price is more or less the same as Amazon, and it ships from my local warehouse in state that supplies all the Barnes and Noble stores in the general area. I receive the book in 2-3 business days, though I pay for standard shipping which estimates arrival in 5-7 business days. If I buy an item directly from Amazon, the return address on the package is always from four states to the south.

    I never cared for SSS to begin with. I can’t tell you how often I wanted just a few items, but due to the rather discounted cost, I’m short a dollar (or less) to qualify, and then I’m slapped with $8 or more to ship everything, so I feel forced to buy something else just so I can feel better about the money I’m spending.

    • That happens to me all the time too, being just a few dollars short of the mark, and then I end up wasting half an hour trying to find something else to buy that I don’t really need.

      • Isn’t it true that if you are a Barnes and Noble member that they ship site to store for free and all you pay is the cost of the item. Also, they will ship stuff from their stores for free if you are a member. I may be muddled at that.

  2. I signed up for Prime over a year ago and found the selection of movies and TV programs to be pretty good and I get the stuff I buy shipped for free if they are Prime… otherwise I found lots of other places to shop that have free shipping included and also websites that have shows that I like free to watch. If it wasn’t for the movies and stuff I’d probably not use Amazon Prime…

  3. Great article but would like to point out that imho it is very easy to return stuff to Amazon, so much so that I rather order from them than the manufacturer.

    • It was hard for me to find stuff to watch on Prime during my free trial that I had not already watched at Netlix or at my local library. I happen to like a lot of the BBC and Acorn/Masterpiece stuff.

  4. Did you try Google Shopping? Is it a sure alternative? Because to me with Amazon I’m sure to got quickly what I order.

    • No, Google Shopping is pretty awful IMO, it seems they let anybody with a website and money to pay them in, but occasionally it can turn up something good from a reputable website.

  5. I often use Book Closeouts (recently changed name to Book Outlet) if I can find the book there, because it is a lot cheaper, even factoring in their shipping costs. Or ABE books. Sometimes Alibris.

  6. I use coolfilleritem.com which helps me find Amazon filler items since Amazon typically has the best prices.

    • I sometimes buy from Walmart instead of Amazon — I’ll especially cross-check the price if anything I’m buying is over a $100. Amazon has great prices — but I have definitely saved some money by also looking at Walmart.

      • And included in the author’s list — TigerDirect is another good site to cross check against for computers and electronics purchases.

  7. Amazon use to match price but they don’t seem to anymore at least on media such as dvds and blu-rays when it comes to pre-ordering.

    • Amazon has higher prices on a lot of items lately. I think that they’ve gained enough of a large customer base not to care anymore. 9 times out of 10 when I go to order something I find that it’s cheaper on eBay. Plus eBay doesn’t have the annoying $35 threshold for free shipping. Earlier this week I ordered a product on eBay that was $9.99 with free shipping. The exact same item was nearly $20 on Amazon and required spending $35 to get free shipping. I wonder what will happen when people wake up and realize that Amazon is no longer the place to go to get the lowest prices on consumer products.

  8. Amazon is now restricting sales of some items to prime members only. I got the dvds “Selma” and “Taken 3” from Wal-mart (along with all of the other items I had originally planned to purchase from Amazon) for the same prices, got free shipping, and the stuff arrived in 4 business days. Who needs Amazon? Not me.

  9. Amazon is really the only company I’ve ordered from in the last few years where they always sit on my order for at least 2 days before they ship it. I order from Newegg routinely for work and they mostly ship within a day, often times the same day.

    • Indeed that is true. Everywhere else’s free shipping is much faster than Amazon’s. Newegg is really fast. I’ve ordered stuff from Newegg and Amazon at the same time and I’ll get the Newegg order before the Amazon order even ships. Another thing that drives me nuts about Amazon is they will say the “item is shipping today” for like three days. The last order I placed, three items were from Amazon and the fourth was from a 3rd party merchant. Amazon’s portion of the shipment took a week longer to arrive.