Fun Friday: Favorite Online Store

It’s fun friday. It’s also black friday. So I thought we would share with each other the best places to shop online.

For me, that’s an easy choice. I love shopping on Etsy. I like the fact that I’m buying directly from another person. I also love that the items you buy on Etsy are largely “one of a kind”.

I’m on the Board of Etsy and have been for eight years. USV owns a lot of the company. So I’m biased for sure, but if you haven’t tried shopping on Etsy, I’d encourage you to give it a try.

Where do you like to shop online?


Comments (Archived):

  1. andyswan

    Amazon is the boring but true answer. Phenomenal

    1. pointsnfigures


    2. LE

      Amazon is an incredible resource it’s the “satisfice” choice for buying things for me. It’s good enough that I can go in and find what I need, along with reviews, and make a quick buying decision knowing that either I’m getting the best price or a good enough price where it doesn’t pay for me to spend time searching out other alternatives. The time to get up to speed and order from another vendor typically isn’t worth the trouble. Seeing things like #1 seller in <category> also really helps. They do, for sure, fall short in many areas but as a general repeat solution for ordering along with fast delivery obviously they can’t be beat. Also reordering things that you need for the office and are all stored in one place (their website) is really an advantage.

      1. awaldstein

        how do they fall short as a catalog?

        1. LE

          Takes to long to figure out solutions some times. Same complaint about the wine store. To many choices, to much info to sift through. Not turnkey enough unless you have something you know you want to buy. Or know what you are doing.For example I just bought this security light for the office:…It took way to much time and research to come up with that as the answer to the problem that I had. (They didn’t have the one the electrician recommended.)In another case I decided that I wanted a bluetooth or wireless deadlock so I didn’t have to take my keys out of my pocket. (My car allows keyless entry and it’s really a great feature).So after a bit of work I came up with this:…Look at all the bad reviews on that. Why is this product even on the site and not on some kind of “probation”?More importantly why is Kwikset still selling this and not fixing it and then re-releasing (under a new SKU)? Someone is asleep at the switch. Look at all the bad PR they get from people saying “this sucks”.Then there was the toilet seat I bought. The dimension on the description were wrong so I had to reorder the seat. I had to ship the bad one back (and they charged me). The description didn’t say or have a diagram of the measurements (from the connectors) so there was no way to tell whether you had the right size.And so on.That said Amazon serves a function. But I don’t love them as a brand the way I love Amazon or Patagonia or LL Bean or Porsche or Sony or Apple and so on where I feel some kind of a bond.

          1. awaldstein

            Amazon is great for buying stuff. Amazing actually and immensely helpful arbitrating issues with third party vendors.They are just not in the business of selling things that require a connection with the seller.That is how I parse their excellence.They want to be more–example they have failed now twice and in the process of failing a third time selling wine. Wine needs to be sold not bought and they just don’t know how to do this.

          2. LE

            Wine needs to be sold not bought and they just don’t know how to do this.Would have to be done the way sells food. With color commentary.…Forget the night before Christmas: visions of sugarplums dance in our heads through the whole holiday season (and the whole year, let’s be real).If you’re a candy freak like us, dreaming of shiny sugar candies, rich chocolate treats, tender cookies and chewy caramels year-round, this is the taster for you. Don’t waste your sweet tooth on anything less awesome than these stunning, small-batch confections.This year, send the gift of indie sweetness! That doesn’t fit into the look and fell of the Amazon website. That is more like “Sharper Image” and the way that catalog told a story in order to sell their products (from memory haven’t seen one in some time). also does a version of that (woot founder, sold to Amazon) then brought back daily deals:We don’t know what you were expecting. Everything about us, from our jaded writing to our very name, should give you a strong hint as to how we feel about manufactured shopping occasions. Let’s just get it straight right now: we’re always going to disappoint you on Black Friday. And Cyber Monday. And every other phony retail holiday the industry might dream up. We even made a game out of it. Download, print, and play our new board game

    3. William Mougayar

      Of course, Amazon sets the standard, but I recently ordered my Xiaomi phone from eBay and it was fulfilled by a well rated vendor in Taiwan, and I experienced a similar experience to Amazon. The item arrived in 2 days international fedex, with shipping notifications, email channel to the vendor, ratings, satisfaction inquiries, etc. I really thought I had ordered via Amazon, and had no idea how close the eBay experience was.

      1. LE

        Ebay can be good for buying but it’s a pain for selling if you sell infrequently. Lot’s of overhead for the transaction with packing shipping, making sure everything is perfect in the description so you don’t get bad feedback and so on. The fees also are high relative to what they appear to be when you take a quick glance.

        1. Matt Zagaja

          Also what is up with people that e-mail you asking to sell outside the eBay system.

          1. LE

            One of the main reasons to not go outside the system is that you loose the “stick” of the feedback system in addition to obviously any problem resolution that ebay offers.This is similar to not thinking that a contractor that you get by way of and through, say, Lowes is the same contractor if you deal with them directly (or similar there are many situations like this). Having some type of reputation that is easily shared is really important in keeping people in line with their promises. Contractor doesn’t want to piss off the hand that feeds them and they will of course tend to be more agreeable if they have a business relationship to lose. Outside of the feedback system it becomes “go pound sand”.

        2. William Mougayar

          I see. i’ve never sold on ebay, and only bought once on the fixed price, no auction choice.

        3. Greg Van Horn

          Cleared out a drew of old blackberrys and other old phones, listing and selling was a piece of cake. Put in the model number snap a photo or two and general condition and ebay takes care of the rest. Shipping was a little bit of a pain (really just the crowded USPS).Also bought a car off ebay, however thats about the extent of the shopping. Normal just amazon prime 2 days and its here.

      2. awaldstein

        Who handles customer issues with third parties through ebay purchases?Do they take on the leaderships role to resolve on a phone call.Amazon does.

        1. William Mougayar

          I corresponded via the eBay platforn, and the merchant was responsive. Haven’t had an issue yet, so not sure how/if eBay intervenes, but I got the feeling that they take their user ratings pretty seriously.

    4. Matt Zagaja

      Yep, consistently great experiences for me. I also use the Amazon credit card which makes it easy to accumulate points towards Amazon purchases and apply them there.

    5. jason wright

      phenamazol is an addictive drug

    6. Aslinda Barus Handel

      yes . i like amazon. it is phenomenal day

  2. Twain Twain

    Maybe in the near future…directly from Condé Nast publications like Vogue, GQ, Traveller etc because they’re building an eCommerce platform:*…Until then I do a combination of Etsy (because I like the fact it’s supporting local crafts), eBay (for things like iPad screen protectors), Net-a-Porter and Asos and Forever21 for the fashion, Zazzle, Moo for business-related items.The only thing I don’t buy online are shoes because I really need to try them on in store before I buy.

  3. JimHirshfield

    The retail frenzy today is a major turn off to me. I’m all for moving the economy up and to the right. But the last place I want to be today is at a store. Peace and quiet the day after Thanksgiving is a gift. Serenity now. Serenity now.Online shopping today? I’ll try and avoid that too. But Amazon is where I find most of what I need.

    1. LE

      The retail frenzy today is a major turn off to me.The worst part to me, the last time I checked (which hasn’t been for some time), would be the parking lots. I won’t even venture into a shopping center parking lot during holiday season. It’s like “everyman for himself” as if the helicopter is leaving the US Embassy in South Vietnam the way people cut people off to get parking spaces. As if there is a prize for getting a good parking space.What’s really unfortunate (but good for the fortunate) [1] is poor people spending money they don’t have to buy gifts that they shouldn’t be buying. Or plasma TV’s.[1] Because it lowers the price of items by creating artificial demand.

      1. lisa hickey

        A few years ago I remember reading about some people who were arrested for trying to sell their parking spaces in a mall parking lot. The going rate was $60 per spot.

        1. LE

          Are you sure that was it? Doesn’t sound right. Mall is private property. “Arrest” seems unlikely (for that). There would have to be a law specifically preventing that activity.The real question is why doesn’t the mall have a better system to allocate parking spaces rather than how it happens randomly now. (Think also how drones could help with this by identifying available parking spaces for the ground crew.).By the way this is similar but different:

          1. lisa hickey

            Funny, I wondered about the word arrest before writing it, but that was the way I remembered it. Mall security had actually called the police — people were selling the spots just like scalpers do. So maybe arrest wasn’t the right word, but the conversation in the media was that the reason it was illegal was because the parking spaces weren’t the person’s to sell, because the mall owned the property. To the mall owners, it was the same as if someone went inside the mall and set up a booth to sell knicknacks without getting the proper permissions to do so.

          2. lisa hickey

            And I love the idea of drones / other technology helping to solve the problem.

          3. LE

            My guess is if that made it to SCOTUS they would possibly rule that it was ok to do. In order to prevent that behavior the mall would have to take specific actions to prevent it and put people on notice.If I have a seat on the subway and decide to sell you the seat when I get up I’ve decided that at a particular moment in time, in exchange for $5, I will get up and get off. Who is to say I am doing anything wrong? I’m not. I can continue to sit in that seat if I want. You (NYC transit) haven’t told me there is a limit to how long I can sit in the seat. And so on. If I went before the court (I’m not a lawyer) I’d have an extra 30 minutes to prepare my case so I’m sure I could think of 100 other things to support my point. The court would be split. Hopefully in my favor.Another example. If you have a store that gives out free plastic spoons there isn’t a sign that says “take no more than 5. The reason for this is it would increase people who would take only 1 if no sign. So they’ve made a calculated decision to take their chances. If some guy comes in every day what’s the cause of action if he takes 20 per day and there is no sign? What crime has he committed? The stuff is free. They haven’t said “only take 1” or even “only take what you need”. Ok I need 20. I regularly use to take Keurig cups from the bank. Two banks. In plain view of everyone. Just helped myself. Sosumi.The reason the mall owners get away with calling the police is that nobody isn’t going to challenge them. Not because they are right.Defacto control.Nobody owns domain names but people regularly sell “control” of them.

    2. Dave Pinsen

      Re the Black Friday frenzy: this (via @trutherbot on Twitter) was amusing.

    3. Alex Wolf

      I’m with you Jim. Black Friday turns my stomach.It’s so badly placed after the supposed zen of fullness of family and friends at Thanksgiving. It’s the US talking out both sides it’s mouth and not seeing the sad irony of the pendulum swing.We have a Small Business Saturday thing going with a contest to win our game with best tweets – Pass on the link to game lovers! We believe in small producers and small retailers and as @fredwilson says of Etsy – the satisfaction of buying from a person.

      1. awaldstein

        I’m on the other side on this one Alex.Personally, I’m with you and don’t participate as I don’t shop sales in consumer cycles really.But I bet your retailers do. I bet potential customers use this wave as part of their purchasing drive.It’s not all about price only, it’s about behavior and I’m in the business of supporting consumer behavior not feeling stuck on changing it in most cases.It’s also month end and if you have margin, care abt revenue and can do this smartly, why not support customers who will be spending that part of their budget this way?How you do sales without degrading brand is a larger more interesting discussion to me. And if you sell through channels your retailers will do what they want regardless with your product.

        1. Alex Wolf

          Arnold, there are many ways to deliver value. One is to lower price and up the perceived bang for less buck spent. Another is to put more value in your product. That’s our philosophy at na2ure. We cram in a huge amount of learning, with many open ended play options beyond our core rule set, and deliver to the home and school markets.To your point on month end revenue, we are big on Small Business Saturday for small retailers and small companies.I really find that continually eroding margins is eroding our entire economic health. Each point shaved off comes from someone’s pocket and it’s a downward spiral dragging the lower and middle classes down. Being sensitive only to price, and not to the health of an ecosystem of businesses, as we are in communities of buyers and sellers, is shortsighted at best.I’d rather pay 10 cents more for milk if my cashier makes better pay and has more time to spend with her children so they have a good start in life.

          1. awaldstein

            Of course. Didn’t imply otherwise.If you sell a high value, luxury, high margin product like your board game you have your own unique channel dynamics.The biggest issue with channels like your own is that at the end of the day–after you get the product to the hands of the store, pay your piece, you still need to build the brand that drives them to your partners stores.The only margin that is getting eroded here is your own, discount sale or no sale.

          2. Alex Wolf

            Having just done the Chicago Toy Fair and Inventor Conference, I can tell you that the only growth in my sector is in $50+ items, and that markets like Europe (ones with successful education models) don’t consider our game and others like it as luxury.I’m back to your model that you create brand value and create product value as a founder. As we pick up new stores, direct sales, and interest to license and distribute our products, we are very much in the Arnold Value Loop.

          3. awaldstein

            Best loop in the market!And the only one that can win in the brutal retail cycles.Best of luck with this!

          4. Alex Wolf

            Thanks Arnold.SHOP #local #smallbiz #femalefounder

    4. ShanaC

      Same. It’s too hard to shop

      1. Teresa Myers

        It’s hard yes, but we always need things—so I prefer on-line shopping for most things and go in person for the dire necessities such as fish, meat and produce—all groceries and some small personal items and Rx pickups.In my early days I could shop til I dropped, but now with all the frenzy I am so turned off. On line, I mostly do Sears, Walmart, Target and JC Penney’sbecause I am frugal with meager income.

    5. Drew Meyers

      Shopping is literally just about my least favorite activity to do. That, and sitting in traffic.

      1. JimHirshfield

        You could do both this weekend. 😉

        1. Drew Meyers

          Fortunately, I will be doing neither 🙂

  4. Dave Pinsen

    I like the mobile website for Jimmy Johns: https://www.jimmyjohns.comOne opened near me recently. The bread and cold cuts are much higher quality than other sandwich chains, and their mobile website is so easy to use that I order and pay on my phone before picking up (they also deliver, but charge extra for it). That way I can customize my order with a couple of taps of my thumb.Then I get there, they recognize me, and just hand me my bag with a smile. Really smooth operation. I feel sorry for the Subway franchise on the same street.

  5. pointsnfigures

    I like Etsy. This year I will be perusing Craigslist for used spotting scopes and binoculars

  6. William Mougayar

    I admit that I haven’t ordered anything from Etsy yet. I will need to try it.

  7. Robert Heiblim

    Etsy is great for finding something “special” so I also go there. Amazon, well as long as no one demands profits then pricing is often good. I find my range increasing these days often spreading the shopping around when needed. That is what is great about the internet too. Distance is no longer an issue so you can find the general at the best going price and the long tail no matter where it is.

  8. jason wright

    i’m thinking of opening an Etsy store in 2015 at handmade dot co dot uk. a possible joint venture with a young and up and coming entrepreneur. you read it it here first.

  9. LE

    Really sad:…At a Michigan City, Ind., Walmart, a couple donning Chicago Bears jerseys ripped a set of Sony speakers out of another shopper’s hands, hurling explicatives as the man whipped the box around, nearly bashing a scooter-bound man in the face with the package.And some 150 miles south, in Indianapolis, a man was tossed from a city mall early Friday after being “too rowdy” — and promptly started a second brawl with another man in the parking lot, WXIN-TV reported.

    1. jason wright

      it’s the new sport, on cable very soon.

      1. LE

        It’s our version of british soccer hooligans.

        1. Guest

          Hunter gatherer instincts run deep

        2. jason wright

          The hunter gatherer instinct runs deep

    2. JimHirshfield

      Only in the USA.

      1. LE

        By the way note that I didn’t say “look at all the stupid most likely lower class people and how they act”. That’s an assumption on my part of course.Freedom of speech. Only in the USA.

        1. pointsnfigures

          Bears fans are angry this year

          1. LE

            You know even Mr. “I don’t watch or know about sports” knows who Ditka was and the Bears are.

  10. Matt Zagaja

    I’m a big fan of the App Store and iTunes store. Books, movies, games, music, and software are all delivered nearly instantly to my computer, iPad, iPhone, or Mac. I may have consumed the kool-aid on this one, but I think that in general software and content provide incredible value for your dollar today. If you don’t believe me here are a few of my choices:1Password –… password manager solves many of the issues with password management and security breaches. Use it daily.TurboScan – FREE for Thanksgiving I use this to make scans of everything and push them to Evernote, etc. Best $4 I spent when I bought it a year or two ago.Pixelmator – for only $15 you get a Photoshop equivalent if you’re a Mac user. Great for anyone who needs to do a little bit of photo editing and doesn’t need all the Photoshop features. Of course Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom are now $10/month so that’s a great deal if you’re looking to step-up. I remember when these programs would cost $1000.Also to save money I do a bit of my own car work and is great for shopping for components. They also provide content that shows you how to do some of the work. When I bought my Volvo used it had been sideswiped and I purchased a kit from that enabled me to remove or at least mask most of the damage. They sell some great supplies to keep that Tesla in good shape as well, Fred.

  11. Supratim Dasgupta

    Esy is great. My wife joined me in the US on a dependent Visa(H4) which prohibits any sort of work/earning in the US. Etsy since its a global market place is the only site that lets her sell her cool applique work lanterns(see link below) & tribal jewelry . I must say It has made a lot of difference in her life in being able to express the artist in her and get appreciated for it.http://www.clickodisha.odia…Just curious. Does anyone know how come they have not got acquired by Amazon?

    1. Supratim Dasgupta

      Here is what she sells on Etsy

  12. Jay Fulcher

    My favorite is Wingtip ( Like Fred with Etsy, I am an original investor and board member so in full disclosure I am biased. Wingtip is both an online and physical luxury brand retailer connected to a club concept. The physical location (store #1) is in one of San Francisco’s most iconic and beautiful buildings that is on the National Historic Registry list – the former Bank of Italy located downtown in the financial district. Wingtip carries unique brands and labels ranging from custom suits and shirts and bespoke clothing and jewelrey, to shoes, hats, ties, casual and sports wear, wine and spirits, bar accessories, glassware, fly fishing equipment, etc., etc. the club is amazing with full bar, themed meeting rooms, board room, outdoor rooftop deck and kitchen (a rarity in SF), wine cave, billiards, golf simulator, and common areas to meet friends, have meetings, hold interviews, and socialize. This model is truly an innovative concept that takes prior attempts a step further.

  13. kenberger

    LEAST favorite is, where Google still doesn’t have stock for the Nexus 6.Maybe they just don’t really want to sell too many of these. T-mo has a slightly, but not much, better story.

  14. rtolmach1

    I share your love of Etsy!For books for children and teens: A 10% discount on all titles makes it cost-competitive with Amazon and B&N online (and cheaper than BN stores), PLUS they donate 7.5% towards the school, teacher, or nonprofit of your choice. Disclosure: I am involved in that store.

  15. Guest


  16. Herr Hur

    There’s no Amazon specifically for Sweden, and only ships some of its goods to Sweden. So I would have to say the chinese gadget sites: mini in the box, light in the box and TomTop.

  17. John Clyman

    For truly one-of-a-kind items, I personally love FossilEra, You can give a gift that was literally millions of years in the making. And what self-respecting geek could resist an adorable trilobite specimen like this guy?…(Disclosure: I’m an investor.)

  18. ShanaC

    Amazon.But seriously, I buy a lot of stuff online. I prefer it way more to stores, and stores can be fun too. The only exception is groceries, and there are times where I wish I could do bulk shopping of groceries online too in a way that I felt worked for me.Maybe in a few months

    1. Supratim Dasgupta

      You can Instacart. If you are ready for the high markup on prices. Anyone used WunWun?

      1. ShanaC

        i’m not ready for high markups. I also like he greenmarket and looking at my produce before I buy it. And using coupons when I remember.(I’m sort of a nut about how to buy groceries. I also realized you could theoretically arbitrage things like coupons, which have different values sent out to different parts of the country, if you know what you are doing, which I don’t. Total waste of time unless you have the time, but interesting nonetheless)

        1. Supratim Dasgupta

          I had few bad experiences with ordering fresh produce online. Have been taught how to pick fresh vegetables by my dad since I was in 5th grade, so cannot tolerate stuff thats not picked fresh. Hence stopped buying produce online completely.At the store I always check for coupons on my phone before buying anything. Usually I use a combination of Shopsavvy(app) and then Dealplus for coupon. Can say I easily offset my phone bill with the monthly savings ;-).Instacart is good except for the markup. which I am fine if they disclosed upfront instead of claiming just 3.99 delivery fee. I find it a little odd that Whole Foods supports them wholeheartedly inspite of the fact that they are not forthcoming about their markup.

          1. ShanaC

            the supermarkets close to me may not take digital coupons. They’ve been hit with coupon fraud recently. I’ll have to check.TBH, I actually do not buy a lot of packaged goods.

          2. Supratim Dasgupta

            Most places I have been the policy is, if it scans, its good. Sometimes I have seen cashiers are hesitant and I remind them of saving trees 😉 and it always works.The ONLY place I fail is ICON parking. They need paper coupons and its aways a pain to remember to print one before returning. And you cant keep copies in the car. You HAVE to pay before they get your car. Sucha a pain! But the difference is $16 so I just go for it.I think the digital coupon space has a lot of scope for disruption. So does instant delivery of discounted gift cards. I downloaded ‘Raise’ you can buy giftcards at 2-30% discount and they are available for use immediately!

  19. frankhwhite

    Interesting / delicious indie food at

  20. Kevin Stecko

    Shameless plug: But for other stores that I like: is super fun, is a neat community of inventors.

  21. J W

    I’m sorry to say this because I used to love Etsy, it was a true marketplace of makers, now it’s a bazaar of cheap mass produced items posing as handcrafts… of course Etsy charges per product posted so they won’t care removing them…

    1. jason wright

      I fear so

    2. fredwilson

      that is false. they take down numerous listings every day.

      1. J W

        Fred I don’t mean disrespect but it’s not false… take a look at this:…mass produced in China… there are hundreds of items like this on Etsy… hundreds…

        1. fredwilson

          flag it and it will be taken downbetter to do that than send it to me

  22. AMT Editorial Staff

    For specialty items, we love etsy. We still find it sometimes overwhelming….But the weekly emails are high quality and to narrow the focus. is hard to beat, esp. the lightning deals & subscribe and save option. We dropped costco in favor of amazon for bulk goods.

  23. Emily Merkle

    thinkgeek is fun.

    1. DR BOB

      Socks or stocks?

  24. RenataBliss

    I’ll admit it… I’m an online shopaholic. I shop anywhere and everywhere, and I spend hours finding the right thing for the moment, especially if it is in some way both unique and cost effective.For presents, Etsy is terrific because you get something truly unique, but because I split my time between the US and Australia, I find if I deliver to Aus then the wait time is often enormous, and the cost of postage is prohibitive. (Right now I’m wearing a vintage YSL cuff that I found for my family to buy me for my birthday that came from Etsy, and I plan months ahead of significant birthdays to get amazing presents from this site).I don’t agree with the comment that most stuff is cheap imitations. To get great things online requires patience, and there’s so much on Etsy that it’s actually easy to get lost inside ecosystems of great (and not so great) items. For a shopper like myself, it’s a delicious experience.Ebay and Amazon are both good for cheap [insert item here, esp electronic], but Amazon fails to deliver to Australia for most products so I only shop on it when I’m in the US.Alibaba is an interesting experience as well. They race to the bottom in terms of price, and their UX is seriously lagging, but they had some options on one item that I couldn’t find elsewhere recently. However I’m still waiting for delivery on this thing 3 weeks later.For interior design and homeware products as well as the occasional fashion item, offers a good range of things, and some smaller clothing sites that came from ads on FB provide a broader and better quality range than what I’d find on Ebay or Amazon. I haven’t bought any tech from this site, but I’d probably do a price comparison across the behemoths and this site to see who has the best price when I do.Ebay doesn’t do personal resolutions on issues, and frustratingly they close off the option to enter into a dispute after 45 days. I was in the US for a couple of months just recently, and once I returned an item still hadn’t been delivered but Ebay had closed off the option to complain about it. However a nicely worded message to the vendor that explains that you’ll submit a poor rating always results in instant (positive) results. I got the item within 3 days of posting a complaint directly to the vendor.I also used to love deal sites, but actually what they sell is almost invariably rubbish.

  25. ellen sing

    There is so much on etsy. It is mind boggling. I do not like the way etsy searches for items. I do enjoy some of the handmade items but the vintage items are way overpriced and most look like thrift store items that are bought for a few dollars and marked up 2000 percent.I do most of my online shopping on amazon and did some on the vente privee site that is now gone in the U.S. I also enjoy the larger auction sites like Sotheby, Christies and Bonhams for interesting goods.

  26. Marcus

    For business start-ups,raw materials such as steel,motors and the likes,with competitive prices…….Alibaba/Aliexpress is my choice.And online phone if queries with suppliers.

  27. Greg Van Horn

    Amazon.Bonobos – they were great (just haven’t purchased from them in a while, haven’t needed any new clothes) – Sneaker head

  28. Chris

    While I have a few issues with Etsy, it’s tough to deny that it has had a tremendous impact on the maker market.I started shopping on, same type of vendors but they don’t take a share of the profits. I even begun selling my products on there.