Stores Form an Anti-Amazon Alliance With ShopRunner

By  |  Wednesday, October 6, 2010 at 7:19 pm

In what world does Barnes & Noble join forces with Borders, and Dick’s Sporting Goods team up with Sports Authority? The one in which has 8 percent of the U.S. e-commerce market. You know what they say about desperate times.

A new service called Shoprunner is a direct challenge to Amazon Prime. For $79 per year, members get free two-day shipping on orders from 15 online retailers, with another 27 retailers coming soon. Other perks include free returns and members-only offers. There’s also a universal marketplace, which is open to non-members as well.

ShopRunner is obviously in its early stages, and attracting customers is going to be tough until more retailers are on board and the marketplace is more inviting (some sections are missing now). I’m willing to cut ShopRunner some slack on those issues, but over at American Public Media, Forrester Research analyst Brian Walker points to a bigger problem: Amazon stands to gain more from Prime than individual retailers do from ShopRunner, simply because Amazon gets all the money to itself.

With Prime, Amazon collects the membership costs and benefits from every item purchased. Amazon might even lose some money on shipping, but makes it back on all the products sold. With ShopRunner, sales are divided between every retailer, and the more that sign on, the slighter chance that any individual retailer stands to gain from a single customer. On top of this, the company that owns ShopRunner, GSI Commerce, gets a cut of the revenue from membership fees.

What to do, then? If you’re a frequent buyer from the retailers who’ve signed on, and you love two-day shipping, by all means give it a try. Otherwise, I’d keep a close eye on the list of participants to see if any retailers drop out with time. A fragile alliance is not something you want to be a part of.



11 Comments For This Post

  1. Jen Says:

    Shoprunner is a TOTAL scam–read the fine print carefully. Your "FREE" trial membership is not free if you don't cancel before the end of the 30-day period. If you use the service even ONCE during their so-called "FREE" trial period, and cancel ONE DAY after the 30 day trial period, they will charge you the full $79. No pro-rating, no partial refund, nothing. I canceled ONE DAY after the 30 days and they gave NO sort of consideration for having used the service ONCE. I paid $79 to ship ONE item from Toys r Us! So if you sign up just to get free shipping during their BOGUS free trial, make sure to CANCEL RIGHT AWAY!!!

  2. Jay Says:

    Enter text right here!Yes, Shoprunner is a total scam. You better beware of not cancelling in time!

  3. bill thwart Says:

    Its a great deal if your just using the free trial and have enough brains to cancel in time "or" if your going to keep it and use it over 10 times…other wise yes it dose prey on the stupid….I know some one who works there..and if you cancel after the 30 days and only use it once your eligible for a $65, if you press the issue and $40 if you use it twice, nothing after that… so as any one knows about "free trials" read the fine print…

  4. Tasha Says:

    Should have read this board first, because I just fell for the not cancelling on time scam. In my case, they claim the membership began on December 9th, so you would think I would still be able to cancel on January 9th, right? WRONG! December has 31 days in it! This is horrible!

  5. Hope Says:

    I tried to cancel my 30 day "free trial" membership on day 25 and my login and password didn't work (yes I wrote them down and typed exactly). I contacted Shoprunner for assistance and they "couldn't find" my account no matter what information I gave them. I called back on day 27 just in case and they still "couldn't find" my account. In retrospect I can see they did that on purpose so I would give up and they could get my money. Suddenly they found my account and charged it – but they couldn't find it when I tried to cancel. I finally spoke with someone who would LISTEN to my entire situation and when I told him I also had emails that I sent on day 25 and day 27 asking for help, he put in a request for the full refund and gave me an "issue number". When the money still wasn't refunded to my account, I called back with the issue number and explained again (and followed up with an email) but Shoprunner refuses to refund my money – they said "out of consideration" they would give me $65 of my $79 back but my time is worth much more than that.
    So even thought I tried to follow their rules I was still burned – and I'm still waiting for that $65!!

  6. furious Says:

    BEWARE of I did all my Christmas shopping online and could only use the service twice. I was mostly interested in ToysRUs but all the items I wanted were excluded from the shoprunner free shipping. When I signed up I didn't realize items were going to be excluded. I was able to use it on 2 Barnes and Noble orders but I could have purchased $5 more and I would have gotten free shipping anyway. I was 2 days late in canceling the free trial and they won't refund my money. I have never heard of such a ripoff. It says that you can cancel the free trial at "any time" but I didn't see that later it says if you don't cancel within 30 days no refund will be given. You'd think they would want satisfied customers.

  7. Phred Says:

    Funny how the people on here complaining about "scam" are actually the ones who were trying to scam ShopRunner… I have use both Amazon Prime and ShopRunner and ShopRunner is superior. And I GLADLY pay the $79 annual fee because I have already made enough purchase in December to get my money's worth and I still have 11 more months. I'm now getting my vitamins, and pet supplies with free express shipping (NOT slow ground shipping) and they keep adding more and more stores.

    ShopRunner is great for legitimate consumers, and I think that needs to be pointed out. Even according the self accounts of every person complain ::: ShopRunner did NOT "scam" you — you attempted to scam THEM. And then you wanted to ignore your part of the bargain, which allows for a 30-day free trial, and whine when YOU fail.

  8. Phred Says:

    P.S. People like you make the cost of everything go up for all of the rest of us so I'm not a huge fan… If your goal in life is to scam companies out of free stuff — you're probably best just keeping your credit card in your wallet, rather than providing it and then accusing a company of scamming you when you don't keep your end of the deal.

  9. yuwey Says:

    Avoid Shoprunner at all costs!

    Check their "F" rating at the BBB here.

    Don't make the same mistake I did: Ordered from and signed up for trial on Dec 18. Did not receive item until Jan 10 after I returned home from holidays. Shoprunner rep denied Dec order date even though my Shoprunner acct. page clearly indicates order placed on Dec 18, not Jan 10. Have ordered from in the past with no problems except this once.

  10. Mark Says:

    Mr. Jared Newman….I suggest you sign up for the free trial and see how it works, or should I say doesn't work and then write an article. Do your homework!

  11. Brian Says:

    “Phred” claims to be a legitimate customer of shoprunner, but google for parts of his comment and you will notice that the exact same comment was posted word-for-word on many sites with comments unfavorable to shoprunner. Sounds like astroturfing to me.