MONEY online shopping

5 Companies That Happily Lose Money to Get Your Business

Business models might be brilliant, crazy, or both—and can save you big money.

Handy workery
courtesy Handy

Losing money, it seems, is a great business model. In 2011, it was reported that Amazon lost $11 per customer on the annual shipping charges incurred by each Amazon Prime subscriber. For that matter, Amazon has famously lost money for much of its existence through exceptionally low prices, fast and (often) free shipping, and constantly expanding the business into new spheres. Yet experiments like Prime, which has come to be seen as a huge, all-powerful moneymaker, have paid off handsomely: The e-retailer is now worth more than Walmart.

Naturally, the cult of Amazon and its lose-money-to-make-money model has inspired legions of followers. As New York Times columnist Farhad Manjoo put it, “giving away real money is a key part of business” for startups like Jet.com, which is using hundreds of millions of dollars in funding to defray the costs involved with marketing a new business and offering the lowest prices on the web.

Of course, one hopes the plan isn’t to simply keep losing money indefinitely. The long-term goal of losing money is to make money by attracting bajillions of customers and perhaps easing back a bit on the discounts once a critical mass has been converted as fans of the company.

At least in the early days, when these businesses are desperate to attract new customers and the discounts remain extraordinary, “consumers could be in for a boon,” according to Manjoo. “After all, from the perspective of customers, what’s so bad about companies giving away their venture-funneled cash?”

We’re certainly not going to complain. Here are five businesses that’ll essentially pass along some of their funding cash to you, in the form of cheap prices on goods and services, so long as you become a customer.

Read next: 10 Things Millennials Buy More Often Than Other Generations

 

  • Jet

    Jet.com
    David Solodukho

    The new all-purpose members-only shopping site is being presented to the masses as a mashup of Amazon Prime and Costco, and a competitor to both as well. Jet promises prices that are 10% to 15% cheaper than anywhere else online, and it boosts shopper orders by using a unique algorithm that offers deeper discounts with every purchase. To get these great prices, customers must pay Jet’s annual $50 membership fee—which is where the company plans on making its money.

    But Jet admits it won’t make a profit for at least five years. In the meantime, it loses money on each order placed by many—if not most—members, who have likely signed up for three-month free trial subscriptions. As the Wall Street Journal noted, in some cases Jet is actually purchasing items from other retailers (like Walmart) to complete orders placed by Jet members. And it’s losing a ton of cash in the process.

  • Groupon

    Papa John's Pizza in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
    Betty LaRue—Alamy

    Groupon helped bring the concept of loss leaders to Main Street businesses all over America. Restaurants, spas, and what have you were encouraged to offer dirt-cheap daily deals that might lose money when the customer redeems the promotion, but theoretically help the business in the long run when the customer comes back later and pays full price. Groupon fired founder and CEO Andrew Mason in 2013, and as the company’s business model has evolved, its market value has gone from $6 billion to $1 billion and back up to $5 billion. And over the years, Groupon has spent a fortune in marketing and subsidies to acquire and keep subscribers.

    Groupon’s latest discount product is Groupon To Go, a food takeout and delivery service that just launched in Chicago and will expand to Boston and Austin this fall. To attract customers in the space already crowded with food-order specialists like Seamless and Eat24, Groupon To Go is indefinitely giving a flat 10% off orders at chains like Papa John’s, Subway, and Quiznos. These and all restaurants have pretty small profit margins to begin with, so a flat 10% off is substantial. Groupon gets a commission for each order placed, but it’s hard to see how the daily deal purveyor or the restaurants wind up actually making money in the big picture.

  • Postmates

    A bag of food from McDonald's ordered through the Postmates service next to a Postmates delivery bag.
    Chandice Choi—AP

    The courier service, which uses independent workers to offer ultra-fast same-day delivery on everything from hamburgers to sneakers, normally charges at least $5 for a pickup and dropoff, and a $20 delivery fee isn’t unheard of. To make its service an even better value, Postmates is planning on offering delivery for just $1 on some orders. How can it pull that off? Well, the firm recently raised $80 million more in funding, and it’ll use some of that money to subsidize the cost of $1 deliveries.

  • Luxe

    Luxe App on iphone
    courtesy Luxe

    Offered in seven big cities around the U.S., Luxe is a valet service that’ll meet you at a specified location, take the keys, and park your car for you. Not only does it eliminate the hassle of finding a parking spot, but using Luxe or a similar services like Zirx usually costs less than putting the vehicle in a private lot. Again, it’s funding, like the $30 million raised by Zirx, that allows these startups to charge about $15 per day for their services—and to not have to worry about making profits for quite some time.

  • Handy

    Handy workery
    courtesy Handy

    In addition to cleaning services, Handy allows customers to order someone over to fix a faucet, paint a room, and even change a light bulb. Its core product, home cleaning, usually costs $54 for a two-hour booking. But to attract new customers, Handy rolls out discounts that bring the rate down to $29 or even $19. Still, Handy is quick to point out that it has been easing off heavy discounting, and that in most instances the business model works even if a customer books only once.

    “You’re absolutely right that we don’t make money on certain customers on Day 1, but on the average customer, on Day 1, we make money,” Oisin Hanrahan, the co-founder and chief executive of Handy, explained to the New York Times.

MONEY freebies

Free Backpacks, Free Slurpees, Free Bowling All Coming Soon

girls at bowling alley
Sally and Richard Greenhill—Alamy

Take advantage of the flurry of freebies.

This Saturday, August 1, marks the beginning of a busy period for giveaways. Here are five freebies coming up in the very near future, including free backpacks, Slurpees, and games of bowling. Best of all, unlike, say, the deals offered recently for National Chicken Wing Day, there is no purchased required for any of the giveaway promotions below.

Free Backpacks & School Supplies
From noon to 3 p.m. on Saturday, August 1, some 400 participating TCC Verizon Wireless locations around the country will give away backpacks and school supplies per child in the store, while supplies last. Verizon plans on giving out 100,000 backpacks nationally, each with a notebook, folder, pencil case, ruler, and glue stick inside.

Free Fanta Slurpees
7-Eleven is hosting a special FREEkends (short for Free Weekends) promotion throughout August, in which the freebies are available only to members of its 7Rewards loyalty program who use the company’s mobile app. Every Saturday and Sunday in August, qualifying customers can show their smartphones to get a different freebie, starting with a free medium-size Fanta Slurpee on August 1-2. Free Starburst gum and Snickers and Butterginers bars are being given out later in the month.

Free Smoothies
The Juice It Up! raw juice bar chain, which has roughly 80 locations nationwide, is hosting a smoothie giveaway on the morning of Tuesday, August 4. From 9 a.m. to 11 a.m., all customers are welcomed to a complimentary small Strawberry Wave or California Cooler smoothie.

Free Root Beer Floats
Thursday, August 6, has been declared National Rootbeer Float Day—at least by A&W restaurants, which are giving away one free rootbeer float per customer from 2 p.m. until closing. No purchase is required, though restaurants will be collecting donations for the Wounded Warrior Project, which helps military veterans who have suffered service-related injuries or illnesses.

Free Bowling
Saturday, August 8, is National Bowling Day, when bowling alleys all over the country welcome visitors to a free game of bowling from 10 a.m. to noon. Bowling alleys host drink specials, contests, and prizes that stretch throughout the rest of the day.

MONEY deals

Best Chicken Wings Deals for National Chicken Wing Day

Chicken wings on plate in restaurant
Getty Images—iStock

Cheap—sometimes free—wings are up for grabs on Wednesday.

It’s time yet again for another totally made-up holiday that can benefit you in the form of cheap food. Wednesday, July 29, is being celebrated as National Chicken Wing Day, and naturally there is no shortage of pubs and wing houses happy to oblige with special deals on wings.

Here are the best offers from restaurants with multiple locations around the country:

Black Angus Steakhouse: The National Chicken Wing Day deal, announced to those who signed up for this 45-location chain’s promotional emails, is $9 for a dozen wings and a 16-ounce draft beer.

Beef O’Brady’s: Order 10 wings, get an extra five for free; order 20 wings, get an extra 10 for free; and so on.

East Coast Wings: Get six free wings with every adult entrée purchase on Wednesday.

Glory Days Grill: This sports bar restaurant with franchises in Florida, Maryland, Virginia, and West Virginia is hosting a special of $5 for a half-dozen wings, any style.

Hooters: An all-you-can-eat wing deal is priced at $12.99 for boneless, $14.99 for traditional bone-in wings.

Hurricane Grill & Wings: All-you-can-eat wings for $12.99.

Ker’s Winghouse: Buy 10 wings, get five free at this wing specialty restaurant with roughly two dozen locations in Florida.

Wings-N-Things: Buy one traditional wing meal with a drink on Wednesday, and a second meal (with drink) is free at this wing chain clustered around San Diego.

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MONEY deals

8 Ways to Negotiate a Better Price

559744101
Thomas Barwick—Getty Images

Simply asking for a discount can save you money.

Negotiating often means having to be a little bit pushy and understanding basic psychological techniques in order to get a good deal. Because of this, many of us forgo negotiating and continue paying retail price for almost everything we purchase.

We often forget, however, how simply asking for a discount can save money, thereby avoiding the need for negotiating tactics. It’s a simple idea but here are eight questions you can ask that could save you big bucks.

1. Does This Expired Coupon Still Work?

Many of us are guilty of clipping coupons for future use, and then forgetting about them only to realize they’ve expired. Instead of throwing away the expired coupon, take it to the store and ask if they will accept it, anyway.

Bed, Bath, and Beyond offers this for all of their coupons, and Walmart will take expired coupons as long as the register doesn’t read it as such. So, don’t let the expiration date fool you.

2. Is This the Best Price You Can Offer?

When working with smaller boutique shops, or thrift stores, they expect you to negotiate. Asking if this is the final price, or the best they can do, will often get you a bit of money knocked off the final price.

If they aren’t willing to budge, try walking away and seeing if they come down on their price. If not, just be patient and look for another salesperson who’s willing to negotiate on price.

3. Can You Match a Competitor’s Price?

Big stores like Target and Lowe’s will often match a competitor’s advertised price on the same object simply by asking. You can either bring in the competitor’s weekly circular displaying the price of the exact same item, or use your smartphone to bring up the webpage that displays the price online.

In some cases, you can even submit the price of a competitor after the fact, and receive a refund for the difference. This is another reason why it’s important to save your receipts.

4. I Want to Cancel My Service — Is There a Better Deal?

Threatening to cancel your Internet or cable TV service isn’t a negotiating tactic you should use all the time, but if you’re in the process of moving, or evaluating your yearly expenses, this could be the perfect time to ask this question.

Most companies will offer a six-month promotion, or other short-term deal, in order to keep you as a customer. Simply let them know that you’re thinking of switching services, or cancelling altogether, and ask if they can offer a better deal for you to stay with their service.

5. Will You Take $X If I Pay in Cash?

Nothing is a stronger negotiating strategy than cold hard cash. Ask the cashier or sales rep if they will take $X amount of money if you pay the entire balance in cash. Maybe even flash the cash you have as a way to let them know you’re serious.

Most of the time they will consider this option, especially when you’re buying a car, since the dealership can avoid additional red tape from loans and the fees.

6. Can We Barter Services Free of Charge?

If you have a particular set of skills, you may be able to barter services in exchange for something you need. I offer my landlord bookkeeping services in exchange for a discount on my portion of rent.

I have a friend who gets free labor on houses she renovates by offering scrap metal and other valuable recyclables to contractors in exchange for having them remove the items from the house. It’s a win-win for both parties. So don’t be afraid to barter your services instead of exchanging money.

7. Do I Qualify for Various Discounts?

A good portion of restaurants and retail stores offer military or senior discounts that aren’t publicly advertised. If you don’t ask, you won’t know what kind of various discounts are available. Most military or senior citizen discounts will be in the 10%-15% range.

Another lesser-known discount is the friends and family discount. Even if you’re not sure if a family member or friend qualifies you to receive a discount, it never hurts to ask. Some employees will occasionally use their discount on your behalf.

8. Are There Any Upcoming Sales or Holiday Promotions?

Most stores offer yearly sales and holiday promotions as a way to drum up business or clear out last season’s inventory. As a woman, I know that Victoria’s Secret offers their semi-annual sale, so that’s usually when I make any purchases.

Ask the customer service rep if there are any upcoming sales or holiday promotions, then mark your calendar so you can come back (or order online) to save some money. Sometimes they’ll even offer you the sale price right then and there. It never hurts to ask!

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MONEY credit cards

Should You Get the Amazon Prime Store Card?

Amazon Prime website
Alamy

The answer depends on what kind of shopper you are.

Everyone is buzzing about the new Amazon Prime Store Card, which offers 5% cash back on all Amazon.com purchases for Prime members. It was actually released without much fanfare back in March, but is getting attention now because of the marketing push around Amazon Prime Day, the company’s attempt to create a Black Friday-style retail frenzy in the run-up to back-to-school season.

The reasons that Amazon is pushing the card are clear: For one thing, by adding new Prime membership perks, it hopes to gain more Prime members, at $99 a year each. Perhaps less obviously, Amazon pays lower interchange fees to transaction processing companies for purchases made using the Prime Store Card than it does on those made using a traditional Visa, MasterCard, or AmEx.

But is the card good for consumers? The answer to that really depends on their relationship to Amazon and their credit.

Card Benefits

The rewards structure is pretty simple: 5% cash back on all purchases if you’re a Prime member. While the card doesn’t technically have an annual fee, you have to pony up nearly $100 bucks a year for the two-day shipping and media streaming service.

There’s currently a limited time offer of a $40 gift card if you sign up for the card. And Amazon won’t take long to make a decision on your creditworthiness: You’ll receive a response within a quarter of a minute.

The card also comes with a tiered financing option that’s meant to help consumers buy large purchases over time without interest. On items larger than $149, for instance, you have the option to pay off the full expense over six months without interest. But there’s a catch on this: If the purchase isn’t paid off at the end of that period, you’ll be “assessed on the promotional balance from the date of the purchase,” according to the card’s terms and conditions. If you carry a balance on non-financed purchases, you’ll pay a variable interest rate that’s currently at 26%.

Also, don’t expect a normal-looking piece of plastic if you’re approved. “The card itself is made out of paper, like an auto insurance card,” says NerdWallet’s Sean McQuay.

Pros …

So is it worth it? McQuay, who says he has used the card himself, notes that “5% is a great rewards rate and is generally only seen on rotating categories. To get 5% back on all purchases at a store as varied as Amazon is a great deal.”

Other cards do allow you to save money on Amazon purchases, but with more restrictions. The Discover it, for instance, offers 5% cash back on Amazon purchases, but only from July to September and only for up to $1,500. (And the Amazon.com Rewards Visa Card from Chase offers 3% back on Amazon purchases; 2% at gas stations, restaurants and drugstores; and 1% everywhere else.)

There’s also the simplicity: “The cash back appears on each statement balance automatically — no minimums, no opt-ins, no reminders,” McQuay adds.

And if you’re a heavy user who spends $200 a month at Amazon, using the card will earn you enough to cover the cost of Prime with some cash left over.

… and Cons

But the new card also has some serious downsides. For one thing, because the APR is very high, anyone who carries a balance should stay away. “A variable APR of 25.99% is horrible,” says CreditSesame.com’s John Ulzheimer. “If you carry a balance on the card then you’re funding your own rewards — and the rewards being enjoyed by others who are not carrying a balance.” By way of comparison, the Discover it’s APR ranges from 11% to 23%.

Another “benefit” could also get you in trouble, if you’re not disciplined enough. While the ability to pay for a big purchase without interest for at least half a year sounds appealing, you’ll end up with a much larger bill than you bargained for if you don’t pay off your new television on time.

Moreover, the credit limit might be much lower than you’re accustomed to. Matthew Goldman, the chief executive of credit card rewards site Wallaby Financial, received a credit limit that was a fraction of what he was offered on his other cards.

Even for the most creditworthy borrowers, a lower credit limit caps what you can earn in cash back. Moreover, using up a large portion of the available credit on an individual card can harm your overall credit score, says Goldman, making it more expensive to borrow in the future.

Finally, note that Amazon’s new product — unlike, say, the Amazon.com Rewards Visa Card — can only be used at Amazon.

The Verdict

Only apply for this card if you are already a Prime member who shops at Amazon frequently, doesn’t carry a balance and can hold yourself to spending about 20% to 30% of your available credit each month.

And realize that this is a difficult task when buying that shiny new toy is only a click away.

If that doesn’t sound like you, find a card that will first do no harm.

Read next: Amazon Prime Membership Should Come With a Warning

MONEY deals

Here Are the Best Drink Deals on National Tequila Day

150724_EM_Tequila
Jakub Gojda—Alamy

Uh-oh. Tequila Day 2015 is on a Friday. Could be trouble.

July 24 has come to be known as National Tequila Day, and many Mexican restaurants and bars celebrate with deals on tequila and margaritas to appease the masses. This year National Tequila Day falls on a Friday, so look for it to be extra festive.

Independent bars and restaurants around the country are hosting special tequila-themed promotions, and discounters such as Gilt City are offering Tequila Day deals here and there. Here are the top Tequila Day promotions at national chains:

Chevys: Shots of Jose Cuervo tequila are $2 all day on Friday.

El Torito: Same exact deal as Chevys–$2 Jose Cuervo shots all day on Friday.

On the Border: House margaritas and shots of Lunazul Reposado tequila are available at the special price of $2 each on both Friday and Saturday of this weekend.

Abuelo’s: Premium margaritas will be priced at $5.95 all day on Friday at participating locations of this Mexican restaurant chain, which has locations in 14 states. The options include the Agave Margarita, Skinny Margarita, Platinum Margarita, and Cerveza Rita.

If tequila isn’t your thing, perhaps pie and/or beer will do the trick: Friday is also Pie & Beer Day—at least it is in Utah.

MONEY Food & Drink

Best Made-Up Holiday Ever? Celebrate ‘Pie & Beer Day’ on Friday

Pie with pint glasses of beer
Tim Hill—Alamy

Because Pie, Beer & Chocolate Day would just be overkill.

Pioneer Day, held annually in Utah on July 24, is an official state holiday commemorating the day in 1847 when Mormons entered the Salt Lake Valley. There are parades, reenactment plays, festivals, and fireworks throughout Utah to celebrate, and most businesses and government offices are closed.

But because Pioneer Day is tied to a specific religion—the original pioneers being celebrated were all members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints fleeing oppression in the East—not everyone feels included. So sometime around a decade ago groups of (presumably non-Mormon) friends began hosting “Pie & Beer” Day parties as an alternative, to have some fun and make the most of what’s traditionally been a day off from work.

Why pie and beer? Beyond the brilliance of combining two things many people love to consume, it’s a play on words: “pie and beer” sounds a lot like “pioneer.” “Pie and Beer Day was created as a counter culture alternative for people that don’t fit into the established green jello and hand cart mold that has been around for generations,” the Utah Beer Blog explains. As for how to celebrate Pie & Beer Day, it’s as simple as this: “Gather friends and/or family – bring pie and beer – have and consume. It’s been this way for years and it’s a formula that has proven to work.”

As for what kind of pie to consume, traditional pie-pies like apple and blueberry are most often on the table, but pizza pies and meat pies are fair game as well. Root beer is just as welcome as ales, lagers, and stouts too. Pie & Beer Day, you see, is very inclusive.

While Pie & Beer festivities can take place anywhere, last year saw the first large-scale celebrations, and the 2015 edition will be even bigger. (It helps that July 24 this year is on a Friday.) Local radio station KRCL, which hosted a pie-and-beer tasting fundraiser on July 24 last year at the Beer Bar in Salt Lake City, is doing so again this Friday. A $20 “Pie Pass” provides five pieces of pie from local bakeries (craft beer samples cost extra).

The Salt Lake Tribune has rounded up a half-dozen other Salt Lake City saloons and breweries that are likewise hosting “Pie & Beer” specials on Friday, with brews and slices of pie starting at $2.50 each.

Those who celebrate Pie & Beer Day are quick to point out that the festivities aren’t meant to mock Mormonism or any religion. “We’re poking the bear a little bit, but we’re not disrespectful. It’s about kind of accepting the confines of our culture while celebrating our rebellious spirit,” Leslie Sutter, owner of Huntsville’s Shooting Star Saloon, which has held Pie & Beer Day specials for five years, told the New York Times last year.

Come to think of it, it’s pretty hard to argue against pie and beer. If you don’t love one, odds are you have quite a fondness for the other. As for the many, many among us who are enamored with both with equally high intensity, well, Friday will be quite a holiday indeed.

TIME AT&T

AT&T’s $49 Billion Acquisition of DirecTV to Get Regulatory Approval

It would be the year’s biggest media deal, report says

Step aside, Verizon and AOL.

If AT&T succeeds in its $49 billion dollar bid to acquire DirecTV, the match will be the year’s biggest media deal—an order of magnitude larger than the $4.4 billion Verizon agreed to shell out for AOL earlier this year. Even in the parallel universe where Comcast’s botched $45 billion Time Warner Cable takeover was a triumph, this deal is still bigger.

What’s more: the match—originally proposed in May 2014—seems very likely to go through. The deal is all but inked, reports The Wall Street Journal, citing unnamed sources.

Regulators from the Federal Communications Commissions are apparently in the midst of wrapping up their review of AT&T’s potential purchase. The company already has clearance from the Department of Justice. All that’s left is for the FCC’s five commissioners, including chairman Tom Wheeler, to formally submit their approval.

As Journal reporter Thomas Gryta notes:

The transaction will make AT&T the nation’s largest pay television provider in addition to the second biggest wireless carrier at a time when companies are trying to figure out how best to handle the massive shifts among media companies as video consumption moves online. The combination will pair AT&T’s regional U-verse pay TV business with DirecTV’s satellite operation, which is nationwide but lacks a robust broad band offering.

Previously, AT&T lost $4 billion and failed to win approval for an attempted T-Mobile takeover in 2011. This time round? Apparently things are going much more smoothly.

MONEY online shopping

5 Ways That Amazon Is Still Far Superior to New Upstart Jet.com

Amazon.com Inc. fulfillment center
Bartek Sadowski—Bloomberg via Getty Images

For the time being, Amazon has the edge in several key categories.

On Tuesday, the groundbreaking shopping site Jet.com launched nationwide, and one thing is immediately, abundantly clear: Jet’s prices are indeed as phenomenally cheap as promised.

Jet.com CEO Marc Lore says that the site, which gives members access to cheap goods based on a complicated dynamic pricing system, is not trying to compete against Amazon. Yet the site maintains that its prices are 10% to 15% cheaper than anywhere else on the web, Amazon included, and the prices of products on Jet are listed side by side with prices for the same items on Amazon. Jet’s claims on cheaper prices are more or less verified by a Wells Fargo analysis showing the site’s prices are 9% lower on average than Amazon’s, according to InternetRetailer.com,

What’s equally apparent as of Tuesday’s launch is that the overall customer experience at Jet is hardly the equal of the world’s largest e-retailer. Here are five categories where Amazon still has the edge over the new kid on the block:

Convenience. Jet members, who pay $50 annually after a free 90-day trial period, get free two-day shipping on most common household items, as long as the total purchase is at least $35. But because the company focuses relentlessly on keeping prices down, it promises slightly slower delivery (two to five days) on other products in order to control shipping costs.

Amazon Prime subscribers, by comparison, get two-day shipping on almost all purchases fulfilled directly by Amazon, and orders of $35+ are eligible for free same-day delivery in some parts of the country. Amazon customers who don’t subscribe to the $99-per-year Prime service can get free standard (slow) shipping on purchases of $35 or more. Amazon also gives all manner of shoppers a variety of shipping options—one-day, Saturday delivery, no-rush shipping in exchange for credits that equate to discounts—that should meet the needs of nearly every buyer.

Selection. Jet has an impressive 10 million or so products for sale. But Amazon’s selection blows Jet’s away by a factor of at least 10, and perhaps as much as 20 or 30. (Amazon doesn’t reveal the exact number of items it lists for sale, but estimates range from 100 million to upwards of 300 million.)

Early testers of Jet’s pilot program have noted that the selection is solid in terms of standard household items such as cleaning supplies and toiletries, but weak in categories like sporting goods, apparel, and (understandably) fresh and frozen foods. As of Tuesday, searches for things like “socks” and brands like “Hanes” and “Nike” yielded no results at all at Jet.com. (You can, however, purchase such items through Jet partners like Macy’s, J. Crew, Apple, and Crate & Barrel and get 5% to 15% back in the form of Jet.com credits.)

Browsing. Jet is terrific for shoppers who know exactly what they want to buy but simply want the cheapest price, assuming the site actually stocks the item in question. The browsing experience at Jet, on the other hand, leaves much to be desired compared to Amazon.

Amazon has countless pages, lists, filters, subcategories, and recommendations to help shoppers find the most suitable item in the situation when the customer is unsure what to buy. For instance, say you need to buy a birthday present for a party your child is attending. If you typed in “boys gift age 10″ at Amazon, you’d see more than 25,000 results that seem age-appropriate based on a quick scan. You could narrow the search in seconds by clicking on category filters like “Toys & Games” and choose among 20 more subcategories such as “Electronics for Kids,” “Puzzles,” and “Building Toys.” Enter the same search at Jet, and the site returns exactly one item—a set of FDNY figures that’s not necessarily appropriate for 10-year-olds but turned up, presumably, because the product contains 10 pieces.

User Reviews. Studies show that more than 60% of online shoppers consult user reviews before making a purchase decision. But for the time being at least, Jet has no user reviews whatsoever. This isn’t surprising considering the service is so new—it hasn’t had that many users yet. If and when Jet does give the option for members to add product reviews, it’ll likely take a long time until there are enough for shoppers to feel like they’re getting a true picture rather than the snap judgments of a few individuals.

Amazon has been compiling reviews for years, after all, so it’s got quite a head start. The absence of user reviews at Jet probably doesn’t matter much for household goods—diapers, paper towels, and such. Consumers tend to know the brands they like in these departments. As for other times when shoppers would feel more comfortable seeing reviews before picking an item to buy, there’s nothing to stop consumers from using Amazon like a showroom, in the same way that Amazon customers have used Target, Best Buy, and other physical stores as showrooms. The term “showrooming” means to scope out an item in one location before ultimately buying it from another, cheaper retailer. Now that Jet’s in the picture, the tables can be turned on Amazon, with showroomers browsing products and reviews on Amazon before purchasing them from Jet.

Other Membership Perks. In addition to shipping benefits on purchases, Prime subscribers have access to unlimited streaming of thousands of movies and TV shows, unlimited ad-free music streaming, unlimited photo storage, and free access to countless e-books via the Kindle Lending Library, among other perks. The value of these services depends entirely on how much (or how little) the subscriber actually uses them.

By contrast, right now the only benefit of a Jet membership is cheap prices. That may be the best benefit possible for shoppers, of course, but many Prime subscribers have gotten used to enjoying the extras that come along with membership. They’ll find the prospect of swapping Prime for Jet particularly difficult, and arguably not worth the tradeoff.

Read next: Everything You Need To Know About Amazon’s New Rival Jet.com

MONEY deals

This Week’s Best Deals: Free Music, 50% Off Krispy Kreme Donuts

Jeff Tweedy of Wilco performs during Pitchfork Music Festival 2015 at Union Park on July 17, 2015 in Chicago, United States.
Daniel Boczarski—Redferns via Getty Images Jeff Tweedy of Wilco performs during Pitchfork Music Festival 2015 at Union Park on July 17, 2015 in Chicago, United States.

Get the new Wilco album for free, and get $20 worth of Krispy Kreme for just $10.

Whether you want to save on sweets, or just get new tunes for free, here are the best bargains this week:

Free Music Download
Music fans were delighted a few days ago when indie darling Wilco declared that it was releasing a new album, and that it would be completely free for a limited time. Be sure to download “Star Wars” soon, as the band has suggested that it will eventually start charging for it. Not a Wilco fan? You can still get your freebie fix by downloading the Wine for Dummies eBook. Brush up on your wine knowledge while saving $12. Or just keep an eye out for these 16 things you can always get for free.

Huge Discounts on Hip Clothing
Ladies who love trendy clothing with an edge should pay close attention, as two of the best brands in the business are having big sales. French Connection is slashing an extra 70% off sale items via coupon code “SALE70,” which is the best discount we’ve ever seen from the purveyor of chic and casual styles. Madewell, J. Crew’s kid sister, is also offering its top sale of the year, taking an additional 40% off via coupon code “EXTRA40.” Deals ends July 22.

50% Off Krispy Kreme
While we frequently see “buy one dozen donuts, get a dozen free” promotions from Krispy Kreme, this is a rare opportunity to essentially get half off anything you’d like, since Groupon is now selling a $20 credit for just $10. Plus, you can buy up to 10 credits at this price, which means a potential $100 off your donut consumption. (Keep in mind though that you must use the credit by August 26, so you probably don’t want to buy that many vouchers unless you’re buying for an event or your entire office.)

Rare Discount on the iPad mini 3
It’s been a bit odd how few deals there have been this year for the iPad mini 3; the iPad Air 2 has seen a slew of discounts, but the smaller of the two Apple tablets has barely seen a price cut. That just makes this deal on an Apple iPad mini 3 128GB WiFi Tablet all the better. It’s selling for $449.99 at Best Buy, which is a savings of $80. That’s likely the best deal you’ll see on this model, unless you wait until the fall when Apple is expected to release the next generation.

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