Illustration via Max Fleishman

The 12 best apps for online shopping

From women's fashion to gourmet foods.


Amrita Khalid


Published Jun 16, 2016   Updated May 26, 2021, 2:41 pm CDT

It may have taken you some years to hop on the online shopping bandwagon, but now you’re finally there. Your credit card information hasn’t been stolen, returns are relatively easy (although you should be avoiding them if you’re eco-conscious), and stuff arrives on time. At least for the most part. 

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Shopping apps can now offer you the same selection, access, and convenience as what you’d find with your desktop browser. The latest wave of shopping apps are better tailored to how people process and search for information on their smartphones. But it can still be overwhelming, especially if you don’t know where to start. Here are our picks for the best online shopping apps in every category. 

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Women’s Fashion

1) Polyvore

Polyvore/Amrita Khalid

Growing up, we all fantasized about Cher’s computer program in the movie Clueless that could search through her closet. It took some years, but Polyvore finally gave it to us. 

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Polyvore gathers all the women’s fashion available online in one hyper-social, easy to organize app. If you avoid shopping online for clothes because you’re particular about how they fit, Polyvore lets you upload photos of yourself to see how they’d look. If you avoid shopping online for clothes because you lack inspiration, Polyvore lets you browse thousands of user-submitted style ideas. You can create outfits from scratch or browse the styles that are trending. 

Polyvore is available on iTunes and Google Play. 


2) Fab

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Fab/Amrita Khalid

Whether it’s a unicorn iPhone charger for your little sister or a Bert and Ernie T-shirt for the new boyfriend, Fab is your one-stop shop for the eccentric gifts you can only seem to find on the internet. Geared towards a young, hip clientele with loads of disposable income, Fab’s inventory focuses on men’s and women’s accessories, home decor, and tech, and it includes over 500 brands. You’re virtually guaranteed to find something you’ve never seen before. 

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Fab is available on iTunes and Google Play

3) Fancy


Need a teepee dog bed for your new pup, a drone that fits in the palm of your hand, or a Batman branding iron? Get thee to Fancy. For those with serious shopping addictions, Fancy is the worst enabler. The store specializes in the type of luxury goods and high-end tech that you won’t find elsewhere. But if you’re in a bind and need to get something for the man or woman who truly has everything, Fancy is the way to go. 

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Fancy is available on iTunes and Google Play

Home Decor

4) One Kings Lane

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One Kings Lane/Amrita Khalid

If Dwell is your Bible and you’re familiar with the term “house porn,” you’re no doubt familiar with  One Kings Lane. Home decorating addicts know how easy it is to blow half a weeks paycheck on starfish canape plates, pineapple flatware and another accent rug at the online home decor super store. For those of who you already have it blocked on your browser at work, download the One Kings Lane mobile app if you’re ever in a pinch. The app can text you notifications when a sale is about to go live and is also fully integrated with Pinterest and Instagram

One Kings Lane is available on iTunes. 

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Men’s Fashion

5) Jack Threads

Jack Threads/Amrita Khalid

Shopping for men’s fashion is difficult, both IRL and online. Jack Threads specializes in clothing for the 20- or 30-something male whose fashion tastes veer towards stylish but not outlandish. Its selection includes “up and coming brands” and old favorites like Ben Sherman. Whether you need a nice tie for work or some basic T-shirts for summer, you’re likely to find much to choose from. You can also try out clothes at home first with its TryOuts program. 

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JackThreads is available on iTunes  and Google Play


6) Gilt


If you’re eyeing a Kate Spade shift dress for the summer or considering a Blueprint juice cleanse but don’t want to splurge, you’re likely to find it on sale at Gilt at some point. Consisting solely of flash sales that last 24 hours, Gilt includes categories for women’s and men’s fashion, home, and deals specific to your city. Think of it as a more high-end Living Social. 

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Gilt is available on iTunes and Google Play

7) Shopkick


Shopkick is the shopping app for those who hate online shopping. The app lets you accumulate reward points for the real-life shopping you do. Simply turn on location services the next time you go shopping at participating Shopkick vendors, such as Target and Old Navy. The app gives you “kicks,” or reward points, for just visiting. You’ll also accumulate kicks for buying specific items, which you can scan on the app itself. You can redeem kicks for gift cards to Shopkick’s participating retail partners. 

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Shopkick is available on iTunes and Google Play

8) Wondermall

Wondermall/Amrita Khalid

Wondermall allows you to shop online sales at all your favorite brick-and-mortar retailers from one central destination. The app allows you to select your favorite brands at set-up. You can grab that blouse from Free People and that bag from Kate Spade, and then check-out in one go. There’s no need for typing in promo or coupon codes; Wondermall does the work for you and applies all the discounts at checkout. 

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Wondermall is available on iTunes. 


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9) Sephora to Go

Any beauty junkie should consider the Sephora app to be the next best alternative to actually stepping inside the store. There’s even a noted upside to shopping for beauty products on Sephora’s well-organized, colorful app versus IRL: It lets you access reviews and product descriptions. Sephora to Go also offers mobile discounts and lets you try on lipshades with Sephora Virtual Artist. 

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Sephora to Go is available on iTunes and Google Play 

Too Lazy to Go to the Store

10) Jet


If you need to stock up on basic sundries and don’t have an Amazon Prime subscription, Jet is a good, commitment-free alternative. Its mammoth online inventory includes everything from Gatorade to gadgets. The company offers free two-day shipping on orders of $35 or more for the basics that ship from its fulfillment center; anything outside of that reverts to five-day shipping. 

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Jet is available on iTunes and Google Play. 

11) Amazon Prime Now 

Amazon Now/Amrita Khalid

Meet the faster version of Amazon Prime that can make leaving the house seem so 2015. Amazon Prime Now offers a vast selection of everything from grocery items to meals from your favorite local restaurants, delivered to your door in a matter of a couple of hours. Whether you’re a busy student during finals week or a new mom, it’s likely that Amazon Prime Now will be a mainstay on your phone. 

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Amazon Prime Now is available on iTunes and Google Play

Gourmet Foods 

12) Goldbely

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If you’re an online shopping addict and a foodie, Goldbely is the best of both worlds (also, God help you!). The app curates from a selection of iconic restaurants all over the country. You can ship Crack Pie from New York’s Momofuku Milk Bar to your mother in Wisconsin or Maine lobster rolls to your brother in Reno. 

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Goldbely is available on iTunes

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*First Published: Jun 16, 2016, 8:00 am CDT