Amazon’s Prime Day kicked off at midnight Monday. In recent years, Amazon’s Prime Day has become one of the most anticipated sales events of the year for online shoppers looking for deals — and, maybe, an excuse to splurge.
And, for Amazon, the annual event has become successful enough that the e-commerce giant decided to double-down this year.
Last year’s Prime Day was the “biggest in history” for Amazon, the company said at the time, with Prime members buying over 100 million products and sales on the site increasing by more than 400% over a typical day. This year, Amazon will look to improve on those numbers with a Prime Day event that will stretch over two full days for the first time, on July 15 and 16. That means 48 hours of “more than one million deals” on products ranging from smart TVs to household items like paper towels, according to Amazon.
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To get the most out of the sales event, here are some common mistakes to avoid when shopping on Prime Day.
1. Paying $119 for Prime to participate
Yes, only Amazon subscribers can participate in all of the Prime Day deals, but even if you’re not already a subscriber, you don’t have to pay the $119 yearly fee to take advantage.
First of all, new subscribers can sign up for a 30-day free trial and get access to the deals. But, if you’ve already used up your free trial in the past 12 months — which would block you from getting another free trial — consumer savings expert Andrea Woroch notes that you can also consider signing up for just a one-month membership for $12.99 (or, just $6.49 if you’re still a student). But, Woroch tells CNBC Make It, only do that if you’re absolutely sure there are a few great deals available to make up for that monthlong subscription.
“Only do this if there’s an amazing deal on something you were planning to buy in which the savings are greater than this fee,” Woroch says. “Otherwise, perhaps you can ask a friend [with a Prime subscription] to buy it for you!”
And, always remember to read the fine print when you sign up for either the free trial or a monthlong Prime membership. Once your trial ends, Amazon will automatically enroll you in the paid membership plan unless you manually turn off the automatic renewal option before your trial or monthlong subscription ends.
2. Forgetting to check your Amazon account beforehand
Double-check to ensure your credit card info, account and shipping info are up to date. You don’t want to find out you need to update an expired credit card mid-purchase if you only have a limited amount of time to secure one of Amazon Prime Day’s limited-time “lightning deals.”
3. Not planning ahead — and then falling down the Prime Day rabbit hole
One of the biggest challenges for online shoppers during Prime Day is that so many products will be discounted — over a million, in fact, according to Amazon — so, it’s important to have an idea of what you want to buy beforehand, says Rick Broida, CNET’s online deal expert and author of the blog The Cheapskate. Broida notes that just because Prime Day lasts for two days this year, that shouldn’t change how shoppers prepare for the event.
“The most important advice I can give is to plan ahead,” Broida tells CNBC Make It. “If there’s something you’ve been planning to buy, by all means wait for Prime Day to see if it goes on sale. If it does, grab it, because many items will sell out quickly.”
Another good way to sort through all the deals on offer is to download the Amazon app and enable alerts, Broida says. Amazon posts new deals every few minutes, and many are limited-time offers, so you’ll want to know exactly when an item you were already thinking about buying goes on sale.
4. Assuming Prime Day has the best prices
Of course, you might not have to wait to get that specific big-ticket item on sale. Broida and Woroch both point out that Amazon has already been trickling out limited deals in the weeks ahead of the two-day Prime Day event. “Amazon is offering limited deals now so waiting for Prime Day could mean missing out on big savings,” Woroch says.
For instance, Amazon is already selling a bundled deal of an Echo Dot smart speaker and a Ring Video Doorbell Pro for $169 (the list price would be nearly $299), and the site is also offering 30% off many back to school and college products.
And, by all means, remember to shop around. Amazon is not the only retailer offering deals. Woroch points out that Amazon rival Walmart’s “Google Week ” runs from July 8 to July 16, and it includes limited-time deals on Google products. Like Walmart, other retailers — like Target, Macy’s and eBay — have taken note of Amazon’s Prime Day success and are offering their own mid-July deals in an effort to lure online shoppers.
5. Missing out on additional deals
Ahead of Prime Day, Amazon is offering multiple ways to save money during the event, including a $10 credit to use on Prime Day sales that you can land the first time you download and shop on the Amazon app. You can also score a $10 credit (off any purchase worth $50) by signing up for the free Amazon Assistant service, a web browser plugin that helps you find order updates, deals and product comparisons on Amazon. And, you can also get $10 to spend during Prime Day if you spend at least $10 at Whole Foods (which Amazon bought in 2017) or on Prime Now before July 16.
6. Making impulse purchases
It can be easy to get caught up in the many deals available during Prime Day, but that doesn’t mean you should talk yourself into buying a lot of products you don’t need just because they’re on sale.
“The most common mistake people make? Buying stuff they don’t need just because, well, “It’s Prime Day and it was on sale!” Broida tells CNBC Make It.
There are various ways to avoid overspending, including simply asking yourself questions like, “Do I need this?” And, according to Broida, it’s important to remember that Prime Day sales are far from the only, or even the best, deals that will be available all year. “Everything you see on sale [during Prime Day] will be on sale again for Black Friday — if not sooner,” he says.