With the shutters down on high streets and retail parks around the world, meaning that home delivery is the only option for almost anything other than food and medicine, it’s no surprise that Amazon is seeing business boom. The online retailer, already a one-stop shop for many people, has seen customers flock through its virtual doors in the weeks since coronavirus hit.
The site is experiencing an extended period of sales at the level usually reserved for the shopping frenzy of Black Friday, with reported surges reaching $11,000 (£8,800) a second. Its share price is booming, too, making its already rich founder, Jeff Bezos, even richer.
But while the site offers everything you could need at the moment, from food to films, via fish tanks and photo frames, there are many who feel uncomfortable about adding to its dominance. Concerns about its treatment of workers, how little tax it pays and its impact on smaller retailers are not new, but this crisis has shone the spotlight on them again.
In the US, some Amazon workers are protesting against their treatment, accusing the company of putting revenue above safety by not supplying enough face masks or checking that employees are not sick when they turn up to work.
In December, the UK campaign group Fair Tax Mark put Amazon at the top of a list of companies that it said were “aggressively avoiding” tax, saying it had paid just $3.4bn in tax on revenues of $960.5bn and profits of $26.8bn. With countries needing to rebuild their finances after the crisis, attention is likely to fall on corporations that are not seen to be paying their fair share.
It is also worth remembering that however quick the delivery might be, it is not always as handy as being able to go to a shop and bring something home straight away. We will, one day, be back to that situation, so it is worth protecting your local retailers in the short term if you can. It is also worth looking for online alternatives.
You can often cut out the middleman if you are buying electronics. For computers, phones and TVs, Dell, Apple and Samsung are all offering free delivery on their products, although Samsung has suspended orders to Northern Ireland, the Channel Islands and the Scottish Highlands. For gaming, Nintendo has the Switch Lite for sale on its website, although the Switch is out of stock.
Box.co.uk sells kitchen appliances such as toasters and coffee makers alongside gaming consoles, TVs and computers from its base in Birmingham. Free delivery takes five days, but you can pay to get items the next day. During the crisis the company is offering a total of £10,000-worth of products to deserving individuals who are nominated through the website.
Currys PC World is taking orders and has a sale on some of the equipment that you might be looking for at the moment, including printers, wifi extenders and coffee machines. Next-day delivery costs £5; standard delivery is free, but will take five to 10 days.
John Lewis is offering free standard delivery on orders over £50 or next-day delivery for £6.95. It is not offering two-person deliveries, and is calling ahead to check whether customers are self-isolating. Orders can be delivered to Waitrose, Co-op and Booths stores, too.
It is worth seeing if independent retailers near you are still operating. In Carlisle, for example, @Home PC is advertising contact-free delivery on laptops and accessories.
In the US, you can find most electronic goods on Best Buy, which has an Amazon-price-match guarantee. With an added in-store Geek Squad to deal with all your electronic woes (once the shutdown is over, of course), it strikes a nice balance between online convenience and in-store customer service. It is currently offering curbside deliveries, too, which helps to keep you and your courier safe.
Environmentally friendly cleaning products, pet food and baby gear are available at Ethicalsupermarket.com. Standard delivery in the UK is free on orders over £50, or £3.95 on smaller orders. It is a good place to buy in bulk – Ecover laundry liquid, for example, is available in a range of sizes up to 15 litres, which sells for £49.59. Its website has a lengthy description of what it is doing to keep staff safe.
Wilko’s stores are still open, and so is its online shop. It is offering delivery within seven days for a £5 fee. Cleaning products, pet food and nappies are all available, as well as items from its DIY, gardening and stationery ranges. However, the virtual toiletries aisle looks pretty bare (when we checked, most toothpaste and shower gel was out of stock).
Viking-direct.co.uk usually supplies offices, but individuals can register. It sells all kinds of things you might need at work, home or the current hybrid of the two, including bin liners, dishwasher tablets, toilet rolls and biscuits. Delivery is free on orders over £30 and is usually next day.
For US customers, Target has it all, from nappies to kids’ toys to groceries. The store lets you select items by delivery option, including same-day delivery and store pickup. The same-day option uses Shipt, meaning free delivery for Shipt members, or those using a free trial; the free trial lasts four weeks. If you are not a Shipt member, the markup is applied per item, so it can end up getting pricey. Currently, you can expect purchases made at the beginning of the week to be delivered at the end of the week – but these windows are particularly sensitive to change at the moment.
Beauty and personal care
Superdrug’s shops are open, and it is running a same-day delivery service from some shops via a courier firm called Stuart. The delivery charge starts at £5.40. You need to check that it works from a local branch before you make your order. If it doesn’t, you can use the usual delivery service, which is free for loyalty card holders on orders over £10 and for everyone spending more than £15.
For high-end beauty items, take a look at the companies’ own sites. Clarins’ online shop is still open, for instance, and delivery is free on orders over £50. Benefit warns that its orders are taking a couple of weeks to arrive, but it does have a sale on so it may be worth the wait.
For electric toothbrushes, razors and the like, manufacturers often offer direct sales. Philips is offering free delivery on a range that includes personal care items, baby bottle sterilisers and very upmarket juicers.
Very.co.uk is effectively an online department store, with a huge range of beauty products at different price points, and tech from men’s grooming products to hairdryers. It also stocks toys, appliances and a small range of DVDs and music.
In the US, Sephora offers high-street and luxury beauty products. Sephora is a multinational chain, so unlike platforms where you buy from individual sellers, there is less reason to worry about counterfeit products. Plus you get two free samples with every order. Standard shipping orders can take up to two weeks to arrive, or you can choose a range of speedier delivery options, normally at a higher cost.
Depop is like eBay, but for trendy clothing and beauty products. The platform has listings from a range of individual sellers and stores, and there are star ratings so you can choose to buy from trusted sellers. Purchases are protected by PayPal.
It’s hard to avoid Amazon if you want to watch something that it has bought the rights for, but for films and music there are many other options.
The BFI has new and classic films to rent on its website. One-off rentals start at £2.50 each, or a subscription offers older films. That costs £4.99 a month, but there is a 14-day free trial at the start.
Curzon is offering the cinema experience at home, with very recent films such as Portrait of a Lady on Fire available to stream for less than £10. You don’t need to subscribe to watch, and there is a free film when you register your details.
Cinema Paradiso has a wider range of films and TV programmes, but this is a DVD rental service so you can’t watch straight away. Again there is a 14-day free trial; the monthly cost depends on which subscription you choose. The basic one is £5.99 and offers two rentals a month.
Zavvi is not on the high street any longer, but lives online selling DVDs, music and games – both electronic and board. You can buy a delivery pass for £9.99, which gives you standard delivery for a year and reduces the cost of the next-day service. It is warning that, to protect staff, orders are taking 48 hours longer than usual.
HMV does most of its business online these days, too, and is another option if you don’t need to watch something straight away.
Last week, Amazon was revealed to be the mystery donor of £250,000 to a fund to help bookshops suffering hardship. The organisers welcomed the gesture, while also noting that there was still “no greater threat to high-street bookselling” than the US giant.
Books are in fact some of the easiest items to find a good alternative source for. Many independent shops are offering deliveries – a lot will order titles for you even if they don’t have them in stock. You can find local shops via the Booksellers Association’s website.
There are also online-only shops such as Wordery.com, which has more than 10m books available and also some notebooks and a very small number of games. It offers free delivery worldwide, although there is quite a long list of countries that it cannot currently send books to.
The Big Green Bookshop will order what you want and get it sent to you. It runs a weekly “buy a stranger a book” scheme on its website and Twitter feed, so if you have spare cash you can treat someone else.
Hive.co.uk is selling ebooks and books for home delivery and paying double commission to the smaller bookshops it normally uses for collection service. It is currently taking orders only for the UK and relies on Royal Mail for deliveries, so how long your order takes will vary depending on your local service. You can choose which shop the commission goes to, so if your local shop is not currently trading, this is a way to get some money to it. It usually sells CDs and DVDs, too, so keep an eye out in case they are added to its offering.
The Guardian Bookshop supports the newspaper and offers books at a discount. There is currently 20% off children’s activity books, which could prove handy. Delivery is free on orders of £15 or more.
For ebooks, there’s nowhere other than Amazon to buy Kindle versions, but there are other options. Many libraries, for instance, are offering loans online – check out your local council’s website for details. It is possible to convert ebooks bought elsewhere to Kindle’s format using free software such as Calibre.
Ebooks.com serves customers around the world and has titles starting at 99p in the UK. It has got the thumbs-up from Ethical Consumer magazine and is the only ebook seller in its top five.
Through Indiebound, readers in the US can search for and buy from independent booksellers. You can search by zip code or store name – in case you are looking to support a particular store. Speed and cost of shipping depends on the bookstore.
Alternatively, Bookshop is a platform that has been set up to help independent stores make a profit. Stores earn 30% commission on any sales they generate, while Bookshop handles the packing, shipping and returns for them and runs the website. It also puts 10% of its non-bookstore affiliated sales into an overall earnings pool that is evenly divided up and shared with participating stores every six months. In March, it raised more than $230,000 for independent stores.
This article contains affiliate links, which means we may earn a small commission if a reader clicks through and makes a purchase. All our journalism is independent and is in no way influenced by any advertiser or commercial initiative. By clicking on an affiliate link, you accept that third-party cookies will be set. More information.
Tempemail , Tempmail – Temp email addressess (10 minutes emails)– When you want to create account on some forum or social media, like Facebook, Reddit, Twitter, TikTok you have to enter information about your e-mail box to get an activation link. Unfortunately, after registration, this social media sends you dozens of messages with useless information, which you are not interested in. To avoid that, visit this Temp mail generator: tempemail.co and you will have a Temp mail disposable address and end up on a bunch of spam lists. This email will expire after 10 minute so you can call this Temp mail 10 minute email. Our service is free! Let’s enjoy!