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When Should You Buy Direct Instead of From Amazon?

A woman browsing Amazon on a tablet.
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It’s no secret that Amazon is the go-to place for online shopping. Because the convenient platform carries virtually everything, it makes it really simple to buy whatever you need and have it delivered right to your porch. You might find yourself wondering “is it better to buy from Amazon than the manufacturer?” The answer—yes and no. Amazon is convenient and has plenty of perks. Sometimes, though, it’s better to order directly from the manufacturer.

We’ve broken down some of the most common situations in which it’s best to buy from Amazon, and when ordering from the manufacturer might serve you better. Hopefully, these tips will help you shop smarter and help you answer your question “should I buy from Amazon?”!

When to Buy on Amazon

Two Amazon boxes on a porch.
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As you might have guessed, there are many good reasons to buy just about anything on Amazon. Below, you’ll find the most common occasions when ordering from Amazon just makes the most sense.

You Need It Fast

If you’re one of the 100 million people in the United States who subscribes to Amazon Prime, you enjoy free two-day shipping on most of the items you purchase from there. This is especially useful when you need something quickly, like a new phone charger or an auto part.

Some direct retailers offer free shipping after you spend a certain amount, but many just don’t have the necessary resources to package and get every product to customers in that short of a time frame.

The one exception here is big-ticket items, like appliances or cell phones. Some furniture manufacturers, for example, offer fast delivery and free assembly when you buy directly through them. While Amazon does offer assembly services, they’re only available in certain areas and for an additional fee.

You’re Buying Multiple Items

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Whether you’re Christmas shopping or treating yourself to some early birthday presents, Amazon offers the convenience of buying items from multiple companies, but only paying one shipping cost or none at all if you’re a Prime member.

Not only does this save you money, but it also saves you the time and hassle of having to check out on multiple websites. If you have a big shopping list and want to avoid the confusion of having 15 tabs open at once, Amazon is the way to go!

You Have an Amazon Credit Card

A couple buys something online

If you have an Amazon Rewards Visa Signature Card, you get 5% cashback on all Amazon purchases if you’re also an Amazon Prime member. If you don’t have Prime, you still get 3% cashback.

Prime members can also get an extra 5-20% cashback on eligible items during special promotions. If you shop on Amazon a lot, this can all add up to some major savings.

When to Buy Direct

Someone removing a loyalty card from a wallet.

Although shopping on Amazon definitely has its perks, there are times when it might serve you to buy directly from the manufacturer. Sure, we all want to save cash whenever possible, but there are other reasons why you might want to consider buying direct.

You Joined a Loyalty Program or Have a Coupon

Lots of businesses offer rewards programs to customers who shop with them. Usually, you can only rack up these reward points when you buy directly through them.

Many companies also offer special coupon codes or loyalty programs with discounts if you sign up for their email list. Of course, you can only redeem these codes or get special discounts if you order directly from that company.

Sometimes, though, the discount might not even be worth it. For example, 10% off a $50 pair of jeans isn’t nearly as valuable as 10% off a $1,200 treadmill.

You Want to Support Small Businesses

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Depending on the plan they use, companies that sell on Amazon pay a subscription fee, as well as selling fees for every item sold on the platform. If you want an item from a specific company, buying directly from their website will save them the fees they have to pay to Amazon.

This can be especially helpful for small businesses, for where every dollar really counts. If you decide to purchase the item through Amazon, but still want to support that business, be sure to leave a review. Positive reviews of products on Amazon, obviously, lead to additional sales for that company.

You’re Concerned About Authenticity or Safety

Is Amazon safe to order from? Most of the time, yes. But, because there are so many sellers on Amazon, some sleazy types have jumped at the opportunity to sell fake versions of popular items. Unfortunately, some of them are also so good at what they do, counterfeit items are being tagged as the real deal throughout every step of the buying process.

This means you and a friend could purchase a product from the same Amazon link, and you could receive a fake while your friend gets the genuine article. Many shoppers don’t realize they’ve purchased a counterfeit until they experience an issue, like poor quality or even an injury resulting from poor construction and quality control.

Customers tend to report this most often with clothing, beauty products, and jewelry, but it can happen with almost anything. Still, if you’re purchasing anything you’ll be ingesting or putting on your skin, you might want to consider ordering direct. Cheap ingredients in fake beauty products, for example, can cause rashes or even burn your skin.

So, how can you tell if something is fake? Unfortunately, there isn’t a straight-forward answer, as it differs from product to product. The best way to avoid getting scammed is to read plenty of customer reviews, look for verified purchases, and check customer photos of the product whenever they’re available. If anything feels sketchy, move on to a different seller, or buy directly from the manufacturer.

In particular, if you’re making a large purchase and wondering “is Amazon safe to order from?”, you might feel more comfortable buying directly from the manufacturer, as you won’t have to wonder if you’re receiving the real thing. We recommend that you always purchase safety items, like car seats and life vests, directly from the manufacturer or a store that doesn’t allow third-party selling, like Target or Costco.

So, is it better to buy from Amazon than the manufacturer? A lot of it depends on your needs, wants, and personal preferences. Shop smart, be diligent, and keep safety in mind with every purchase.

Anne Taylor Anne Taylor
Anne Taylor is a writer with a BA in Journalism and a passion for storytelling. Her work has been published on a variety of websites including Mental Floss and Well + Good, and she recently published her first novel, What it Takes to Lose. When she's not writing, Anne loves to travel (19 countries and counting), spend time outside, and play with her dog, Pepper. Read Full Bio »
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