Last-Minute Shopping: The 10 Best Online Retailers (Not Named Amazon.com)
For a decade now, online retailers have increasingly grown their sales to the point they now rival traditional brick and mortar establishments. Let's face it, it's just easier to shop online if you have a computer, an Internet connection and a desire to avoid crowds. You can sit there with a mug full of cider (or vodka) in your pajamas (or naked) and purchase gifts for your family (or members of your swingers club). It's easy and, dare we say it, fun. Oh, we dare.
But not all online retailers are created equal. Sure, anyone can grab some nerds and throw an e-commerce Web site online, but that doesn't make it good. With the thousands of Web sites competing for eyeballs and dollars, you have to set yourself apart and it's hard to know just who is doing it right and who is making a mess. Fortunately for you, we've taken some of the pain out of it and put together our list of the best 10 online retailers.
This list does not include Amazon.com because, let's face it, they are the granddaddy of e-tail and still lead the pack. This list is the best of the rest.
10. & 9. Cabelas.com and EddieBauer.com
Sears.com may not have "Wish Book" Kristy McNichol, but it can still get you an air hockey table.
When I was a kid, my father used to LOVE him some Cabelas. Being an outdoorsman, he regularly bought things from their sizable mail-order catalog. He also loved Eddie Bauer. Well, if my dad were still around, he would most certainly be ordering some outerwear, fishing gear or a good canvas bag (he had a LOT of them) from one of these establishments. Both Web sites are very well organized and simple to use, both keys for getting your shopping done efficiently. If you have an outdoor lover in the family, these sites are as good as they get.
8. & 7. HomeDepot.com and Lowes.com
Home improvement and the Web may seem like an odd marriage, but for giants Home Depot and Lowe's, it really works. Home Depot automatically recognizes your location and conveniently searches for products at your store. Lowe's lets you set your location as well. Both give you tons of options for products and comparison features, making it easy to put together a plan to wreck your kitchen cheaply and easily before calling a contractor to do it the right way... or just having one of these two do it for you. Yeah, they have that, too.
Seriously, Sears. Growing up, I will admit that I used to look through the "Wish Book" (a.k.a. the Sears catalog) at all the worthless crap my parents would be best advised not to get me. I'd dog ear pages and craftily hand it to my mom, hoping she'd be dumb enough to buy me that regulation sized air hockey table (whose regulations?). Also, my crush as a young kid, Kristy McNichol (hubba hubba), was often featured on the pages. For a while, Sears was sort of dying, but they have made quite the recovery and their Web site is a great example of how to do things the right way. It's easy to use and has local pick-up options. It may not be the "Wish Book," but it's damn close.