Many retailers are celebrating Christmas in July this month with savings on various goods, but one retailer in particular is taking this sales strategy a step further. Amazon recently announced the first annual “Prime Day” to be held on Wednesday, July 15, promising deals bigger than Black Friday.
The hype leading up to the shopping event is causing lots of speculation: will Amazon Prime Day really beat Black Friday? Though there are sure to be lots of super-deep discounts on doorbusters, there will likewise be average sales you can find elsewhere for less. Shop smart by following this guide for avoiding Prime Day pitfalls and learn how to distinguish the real deals from the duds.
1. Sign up for free.
First thing’s first – if you’re not a member of Amazon Prime, you can’t access the deals available on Prime Day. According to an Amazon customer service representative I chatted with recently, “you can enroll for a 30 days Free Trial for Prime” and “yes, trial members are eligible for Prime Day deals.” So, you can sign up for a free trial and take advantage of Prime Day without committing to an annual fee of $99. You need to cancel your trial 30 days from the date of registration, however, to avoid being charged.
2. Make a list.
With Amazon touting better deals than Black Friday, your impulse control might be lacking come July 15. Prep yourself before you wreck your finances and make a list of items you’ve been wanting to purchase. Have you been meaning to replace your aging universal remote control? Bargain shopping for a back-to-school backpack? Regardless of what you’re shopping for, you should keep your searches limited to those items on your list so you don’t go over budget.
3. Research now.
With your list of desired items put together, now is a great time to research prices to ensure that great deal from Amazon is, in fact, a good deal. Set up trackers on the items using TrackIf.com, which will not only notify you about price drops, but also let you access price history of particular products. This will give you a good indication of when the item was best priced, and if Amazon’s Prime Day offer is as good as it seems. You can also consult PriceBlink, a browser add-on that notifies you when something you’re shopping for is better priced elsewhere.
4. Prepare your cart.
Popular items will sell out quickly so it’s smart to prepare ahead by loading up your cart with the items you’re eyeing. While you can’t predict which goods will be on sale beforehand, loading up your cart in advance of the sale will ensure a quick and easy check-out process so you don’t miss out on the doorbusters. You should also save your shipping, billing and payment information to make ordering a snap.
5. Consult coupon sites.
When shopping online, it’s always best to consult coupon sites for extra savings. While Prime Day prices will be available without coupons, you’ll want to check competitor sites and coupons to see if you can’t get a better deal elsewhere. CouponSherpa.com has hundreds of coupon codes available at your fingertips, while the browser add-on Honey will offer you a list of available promo codes at checkout. Use these tools to compare prices both before Prime Day and during the event and select the best deal.
6. Check reviews.
Some of the sales you’ll find may be offered on brands or models you’re unfamiliar with. Though the deal may be offering 60 to 75% off, it’s important to verify the quality of the good. If you can’t find a review on Amazon, it’s wise to search other sites for customer opinions. Check CNET.com for reviews on gadgets and fitness trackers, Consumer Reports’ for reviews on small kitchen appliances, toys and other household goods, or consult the consumer-review site Buzzillions for trusted comments on a wide variety of products.
7. Secure your personal data.
July 15 is on a Wednesday, falling in the middle of the workweek for most of us. Shopping while working is not advised, nor is shopping from an unsecured network from a nearby coffee shop during your lunch break. What’s a bargain-hungry worker bee to do in this situation? Hop on your company’s secured WiFi network during your break and shop from your smartphone or tablet. If there’s something you’re jonesing for that comes available during working hours, have a trusted family member watch the deals for you and log into your Amazon account to purchase on your behalf.
Andrea Woroch is a consumer and money-saving expert for Kinoli Inc. From smart spending tips to personal finance advice, Andrea transforms everyday consumers into savvy shoppers. As a sought-after media source, she has been featured among such top news outlets as Good Morning America, Today, CNN, Dr. OZ, New York Times, MONEY Magazine, Huffington Post, Forbes and many more. For more information, visit AndreaWoroch.com or follow her on Twitter for daily savings advice and tips