Amazon “Competitor” is Often Cheaper, Study Finds is nowhere near ready to launch, but this retail startup continues to gather buzz as a threat to Amazon.

Earlier today the WSJ reported that someone is already comparing prices between the two sites. may still be in beta and offer a more limited selection (5 million items vs 300 million items on Amazon) but that hasn't stopped data pricing startup Boomerang Commerce from crunching the numbers.

Jet’s prices for items ranging from Cuisinart CNGA -27.27% coffee makers to Gain laundry detergent are lower than Amazon 94% percent of the time.


But the research by Boomerang, which was granted early access to, does provide a window into how the startup aims to price its products. The study, which looked at 200 products across a handful of categories, found that 188 items sold by both Jet and Amazon were less expensive on the former.

On the whole, Boomerang found that was cheaper than Amazon by 27% in its sample. Among goods that are “shipped and sold by Amazon” — those that aren’t offered by third-party merchants — Jet was 17% cheaper. It also found that Amazon was 28% less expensive for items offered under its private-label Basics brand than equivalent products on Jet.

While I think  it's a little crazy to compare prices in a store which isn't even open yet, this study has me paying close attention. I like low prices as much as the next person, and it looks like the folks behind think they can really go toe-to-toe with their much larger competitor. has certainly convinced its investors; the startup has raised $220 million on the best that it can grow a business on a $50 a year shopping club membership while still matching Amazon on price.

I'm not yet convinced that's plan to trade discounts in exchange for using debit cards or waiving returns prove practical.

But thinks it can pull it off. "Jet is clearly waging a pricing war with Amazon," said Boomerang CEO Guru Hariharan told the WSJ in an interview. "There are some early indications that Jet is leading on price, but there is still good value in Prime," he said.

I should say so.

If is going to require both the $50 a year membership and a minimum order for free shipping then Prime, at $99 a year, is the better value. Amazon Prime has no minimum order size for its free shipping option (on a limited number of eligible items, though).

The nice thing about Prime (besides the free digital streaming) is the fact that I can buy a single item and get free shipping. That is a convenience which might not be able to match.

Let's see what happens when flips the switch.

image by Phil Roeder, markhillary

About Nate Hoffelder (11467 Articles)
Nate Hoffelder is the founder and editor of The Digital Reader: "I've been into reading ebooks since forever, but I only got my first ereader in July 2007. Everything quickly spiraled out of control from there. Before I started this blog in January 2010 I covered ebooks, ebook readers, and digital publishing for about 2 years as a part of MobileRead Forums. It's a great community, and being a member is a joy. But I thought I could make something out of how I covered the news for MobileRead, so I started this blog."

19 Comments on Amazon “Competitor” is Often Cheaper, Study Finds

  1. Amazon’s minimum for free shipping is $35, not $25.

  2. Membership? Deal killer for me. I don’t like Costco’s, Sams or Prime. As far as I’m concerned they are just attempts to lock me into one place to shop for x, y and z. I am almost always willing to put in the time to shop around and reward: lower price, ease of shopping, low shipping.

  3. Let’s see, Amazon has micron-thin margins overall, the ability deploy resources among multiple business lines, a structure that has always paid a lot of attention to minimizing operating costs, and what the financial markets believe to be infinitely deep pockets. So that adds up to a lot of vulnerability on pricing, right?

    We’ll have to see. If’s investors are willing to pay me to order stuff from them rather than Amazon I’m happy to oblige, but I’m not going to rush to join them in putting my money into

    • Well, if you strip out the nonsense about beating Amazon and simply ponder whether the startup can build a business …

      I think they can. They have the money, they have the people, and thy have the hype. I think is going to be one of the larger web retailers in about 5 years.

      At which point they will be acquired.

  4. People seem to think that Amazon LLC doesn’t generate profits because doesn’t.
    Not. So.

    The online retail operation generates tons of profit for Bezos to play with and not just because of third party fulfillment or Prime. So yes, there is (theoretically) room for somebody to try to undercut them…
    …if you assume Bezos will stand for it.

    Most likely, he’ll play along as they burn through their funding and once it gets tight, he’ll pull in some of the money he uses as in-house venture capital for new initiatives and *then* undercut them. It’ll be cheaper to put them out of his misery that way and he won’t burn $200 millon that way.
    But he could.
    He can easily afford a couple billion.

    It’ll be interesting to see how far Jet gets.

  5. Nothing new here except that it’s Amazon. Surveys repeatedly show Amazon is far from the cheapest.

    The whole point of the Prime lock-in, like the Kindle lock-in, to to ensure customers don’t have an incentive to shop around and find where the cheaper prices are.

    When it comes to ebooks the US retailers largely have a 0.99 minimum list-price, despite which smaller stores like Txtr US, Versent, Inktera and Books-A-Million will often have ebooks cheaper. In the UK Apple, Nook UK and Txtr GB regularly undercut Amazon.

  6. I would be more curious to see a comparison of Costco versus

    I am happy to pay the $50/year for Costco, because we use it often for the seasonal fruit in bulk, as well as buying our meat in bulk when there’s coupons. Also, if you wear glasses the membership fees are worthwhile for the very cheap glasses/lenses combos (I’ve paid under $100 for frames and lenses that lasted 3+ years).

    I know Jet sees themselves as a Prime competitor, but their model seems more like a competitor to warehouses to me.

  7. It’s not just price though. Amazon has fantastic customer service. Some people are willing to pay more because they know Amazon will take care of them. You can see that with how Fba is exploding and, how Fulfilled by Amazon 3rd party merchants can sell items at a higher cost than Merchant fulfilled.

  8. I just got my invite and I’m so underwhelmed by the selection that price isn’t a concern. It’s hard to buy what they don’t have.

  9. I had placed my first order with and here is my short experience
    1. After 4 days I received an email that they cancelled the most expensive item on my order – Steam Mop – because the listing was incorrect and they could not find it. Well whose mistake is this? And why should I suffer? PLUS after 4 days when you are expecting that item… Come on Jet.
    2. After 6 days I receive an email saying some of the items on my order will be delayed. The email did not have details about what items were those. So Pathetic. Now I will have to wait for the order to find out which item I need to order again from some other seller.
    3. After 11 days of my order, I receive another email saying one more item is cancelled because of unavailability. This is not acceptable at all. At least not something you expect from other online sellers – and not in the first order. Pity on you – Jet.

    So after this experience, I don’t think I am going to trust at all for any of my future order. Long live Amazon – Short live Jet.

    Oh and did I forget to mention… they issued me a $2 credit for all this non-sense. Feel good now?

  10. I was browsing on Jet and received a magazine subscription from them that I do not want; NOT likely to go there again!

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