(Disclosure: Some of the links below may be affiliate links)
These days, a lot of shopping is done online. It is so practical to shop for something online. It can save you a lot of time. And it allows you to compare many different websites to get the best deals easily. Shopping online can also save you some money.
Of course, online shopping also has its dark side. Since shopping online is convenient, some people buy many more things than they should. It is easy to press a button and get items delivered home. At least, it occurred to me! I am sure it happened to many of you.
Online shopping can be a great thing if you only buy things you need. But you still need to know where to shop online. Even in our small Swiss country, there are hundreds of websites where to shop. And let’s not forget that sometimes online shopping is not cheaper than shopping in a normal shop!
In this article, I list the best online shopping websites in Switzerland. This list should allow you to shop for the best prices!
Electronics – Digitec
If you need to shop for electronics, your first choice should be Digitec. They have a massive choice of computers, phones, laptops, monitors, and every electronic you would ever need.
I am a geek and have bought many things at Digitec (probably too many). They had the best price for 95% of the things I needed. And they also have excellent customer service. I had to return a few items under guarantee, and it was a great experience, with no problems at all.
Over the years, I have bought pieces for several computers on Digitec and all my current accessories and monitors. I also bought my TV and my multimedia system there. Digitec is my website of choice for this.
Now, sometimes, you can find slightly better prices on Galaxus. But I have had issues with the customer service of Galaxus. It was much more challenging to return something. In the beginning, the website of Galaxus was terrible to search for, but now it seems they have improved a lot.
Nevertheless, I generally start with Digitec first. If it is expensive, I will also check with other Galaxus and sometimes other websites.
These differences are a bit weird because they are parts of the same company, Galaxus Digitec. And for information, Migros has a majority stake in Galaxus Digitec.
While Digitec is strictly for Electronics, you can buy almost anything in Galaxus. There even have office furniture. It is currently the largest online retailer in Switzerland. I would also go there for home appliances, for instance.
Clothes – Zalando
If you want to shop online for clothes, you need to check out Zalando first. It is the most used website for clothes to this day. Women mostly use Zalando. But they also have a wide choice for men. I have myself ordered a few things there. Every woman I know is aware of Zalando.
Zalando has a vast choice of clothes, shoes, bags, accessories, and excellent prices. They also have a 30-day return policy. You can send it back for free if your order does not fit you.
And even though they have a lot of cheap clothes, they also have some luxury clothes. And they have brand products as well. It should be your first choice. If you are not in urgent need of clothes, you should try to wait for sales.
Now there are other choices as well. I hate shopping for clothes. But when I do, I generally go to EMP Online. They are more expensive. But I only buy one or two pieces of clothing a year, so it is not that bad. And I have not bought anything more costly than 25 CHF in many years.
Second-Hand – Ricardo
If you are frugal, you may want to buy many things second-hand instead of buying them new. There are so many things that are fine when you buy them second-hand.
The best website to buy second-hand things online is Ricardo. It is an auction-based website for second-hand shopping. There are also some new items, but I rarely use this site for new items. What is excellent about Ricardo is that most sellers will send the item to you. You do not have to go there and pick it up. But sometimes, you can pick it up yourself if it is not too far.
Sometimes, you can find cheaper options on Anibis. However, almost nobody will send you things. And a lot of the advertisements are out of date. Another issue is that sometimes people will not answer you. But it is still worth looking if you need something specific.
If you want more choices, I have an entire article about buying second-hand items.
These two websites are probably the best if you need to sell something online. I have written about online selling in Switzerland before.
Groceries – Migros and Coop
There are also several options for shopping online for food.
For me, the best option is Le Shop, from Migros. You have access to a wide choice of food products. You will have to pay some delivery fees. Unfortunately, there is a minimum of 99 CHF per order. This minimum is more than we spend every week on groceries. The basic delivery fee is 7.90 CHF. But you will only pay 2.90 CHF from a 200 CHF purchase.
If you prefer Coop, you will also have access to Coop @ Home. They also have a vast choice of products. The delivery will cost 7.90 CHF for a less than 160 CHF purchase and 5.90 CHF starting from 160 CHF. If you order at least 200 CHF, the delivery is free. There is a minimum of 99.90 CHF for each order. Coop Delivery is slightly cheaper than Migros.
Now, there is a big problem with both of these options. It is one of the cases where convenience has a considerable price. First of all, you will have to pay delivery fees. But this is a small price compared to the big problem.
Neither Coop nor Migros is the cheapest place to shop for groceries. I have talked about the best ways to reduce your food budget. You can save a lot of money by shopping at discounters like Lidl and Aldi. By shopping online for groceries, you will lose money.
I would love to do my groceries online and deliver them to my door. But currently, the premium for that is too high for my choice.
Books – Amazon France (or Germany)
For books, I buy almost everything on Amazon. For instance, I purchased my Kindle Paperwhite and some of my favorite books.
Amazon has a massive choice of books. And they deliver for free. You have to be careful about taxes. It used to be that you could circumvent the taxes with purchases below 100 EUR, but this is not the case anymore. Now, Amazon will compute your taxes, and you should not have any surprises.
Another option is Book Depository. I find it a bit more expensive than Amazon, but sometimes you can find some excellent offers. Interestingly, they belong to Amazon as well. They also have an extensive choice. You will have to pay border taxes as well.
I do not buy paper books anymore. I buy almost everything on my Kindle. There are ways to get cheap ebooks on Kindle. I buy second-hand books when I do not find cheap books on my Kindle. Second-hand books are significantly cheaper and are fine. You can find some in a near-perfect state.
I am using Amazon France mostly because I speak French. But if you speak German, nothing prevents you from using Amazon Germany (amazon.de). They also deliver many things to Switzerland.
Furniture – Ikea
You can also shop for furniture online.
For this, my favorite shop is Ikea. They have reasonable prices and good quality. I think they have the best balance between quality and price of all the furniture shops available in Switzerland. They generally do not offer delivery for free, but most furniture shops are the same. And if you buy something big, it will be much better to receive it by post than to rent (or find) a big truck to pick it up.
Now, Ikea is not the only online shop available for furniture. I also found some excellent pieces of furniture at Lipo. They are often cheaper than Ikea, and most of their stuff is quite sturdy. And the last one would be Conforama. Now, you have to be careful about their stuff. You can find some very cheap stuff at Conforama, but you can also find some awful quality. Some of their furniture will not last more than a year. But you get what you pay for!
I do not often shop for furniture online because it is easier to see it real. And also, we do not change furniture often. But you can save a lot of time by doing it online.
Almost Everything – Aliexpress
If you like online shopping a lot and want a wide variety of things, Aliexpress could be just for you.
Aliexpress is an online retail service owned by Alibaba. You can find almost everything on it. And you can sometimes find great detail for some small gadgets or home appliances.
The disadvantage of Aliexpress is that it will sometimes take a very long time to ship to Switzerland. You must decide whether you want a very low price or a short delivery.
I do not use Aliexpress a lot, but I know many people who do. You need to remember that just because it comes from China does not mean it is cheaper than if it was from Switzerland! Some things are less expensive in Switzerland than in China. It is especially true if we take shipping costs into account. Nevertheless, you can find some great deals on Aliexpress!
Making the most out of online shopping
Regardless of where you shop online, you can try to get the most out of online shopping with two things.
1. Avoid currency conversion fees with Neon
If you shop on a foreign website, you will likely pay in euros or even dollars. You may not know this, but Swiss credit cards will charge you a hefty fee (from 1% to 2%) when you pay in other currencies. This fee is higher than the cashback they are giving you!
Fortunately, there is a solution: Neon is the only Swiss bank with free payments in foreign currencies! By using their credit cards, you will not pay any fees when you pay in another currency.
2. Get some cashback
If you are shopping online, you will likely use a credit card. Therefore, you want to ensure you are getting some cash back on each transaction.
Secondly, you also want to ensure you are using the free credit card. Unless you spend a lot of money with your credit card, you want a free credit card!
Think of it that way: All the money you can save on your credit card bill and all the money you make with cashback can go towards saving (or buying more things online)!
To optimize your credit card usage, you can read about my credit card strategy for minimum fees and maximum cashback.
3. Be secure with online shopping
There are some risks with online shopping. But if you follow a few simple rules, you will be able to limit these risks:
- Always use different passwords for each website.
- Never store your credit card information with online vendors.
- Never use a website that you do not trust.
- Check your credit card statement to make sure everything is alright.
If you want to take online security seriously, I have an article about securing your online personal finances.
Comparator – Top Preise
If you want to be sure to get the best price, you can also use a comparator. The best comparator for online shopping in Switzerland is Toppreise. If you know exactly the item you want, this is a great place to find the best deal.
Here is an example of looking for an iPhone X on Toppreise:
Strangely, the cheapest is at First Store, a shop I did not even know. This result shows that it is often worth it to compare!
Rules for online shopping
Now, online shopping is great! There is no denying it. However, it is so convenient that we often buy things we do not need because we do not consider the purchase.
Just because something is easy to buy does not make it necessary!
You need to think seriously before you buy something. You should already know what you will buy before you even start browsing online shops!
And there is another thing! Although it is often very competitive to buy things online, online shopping is not always cheaper! You can usually find some excellent sales in a real store.
For instance, I buy all my second-hand books in a store in Fribourg (Emmaüs), and I have never found an online alternative that is as cheap. I think that groceries are the most expensive things to shop for online instead of in a real shop. All options for online grocery shopping are too costly for now.
And we have found excellent prices for clothes at C&A. for me and Mrs. The Poor Swiss. Just because it is easier to shop online should not make you complacent!
There are many great websites for online shopping in Switzerland. If you know what you want to buy, you can compare the prices on these websites to find better deals.
I used to shop a lot online, especially for electronics. Now, I shop less. But when I have something to buy, I generally try to get it online. If I can avoid driving to a shop and get it delivered to my house, I will try to do it! However, I only shop online for things that are cheaper online.
Online Shopping is very convenient, and this convenience is double-edged. Yes, saving time and avoiding shops is great. However, it makes many people shop more than they would if they had to go to a shop. And sometimes, it is significantly more expensive to shop online than it is to shop in a regular shop. Therefore, it is essential to compare brick and mortar shops and not only compare online websites.
If you are interested in selling things, I have also talked about selling items online in Switzerland.
What about you? What is your favorite website for online shopping?