Amazon Prime Day Guide: Everything you need to know

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Odds are by this point you’ve heard of Amazon Prime Day, but that doesn’t mean you actually know what it is and why you should care about it. Is July 16 just another day for Amazon to push some silly sales out to people, or is it a meaningful shopping event? Should you be planning ahead for things to buy, or just winging it?

Well, there’s a lot to know about Prime Day, so let’s get right into it.

What is Amazon Prime Day?

Underneath all the advertising jargon you’ll read about Amazon Prime Day is a rather large shopping event that kicks off on July 16 at 3pm ET. It used to be a one-day event, but Amazon has since expanded that, and this year it will feature 36 hours of pure deal madness. Amazon claims that Prime Day is bigger than Black Friday and Cyber Monday, and basing it off of what we saw last year, it is entirely possible that the company can pull that off this year.

The shopping event is exclusive to members of Amazon’s Prime service, which offers free 2-day shipping on millions of items, access to Prime Video, photo storage, and much more. An Amazon Prime membership now costs $119 a year, but you can get a free 30-day trial to get all the benefits without shelling out any cash. Yes, that means that you’ll be able to shop all the Prime Day deals, get the free 2-day shipping, and all without paying anything for it. Keep in mind that after the 30 days Amazon will charge you for the year in full, so you’ll want to set a reminder to cancel if you don’t want to keep it.

How does Amazon Prime Day work?

Prime Day is not as straightforward as some other big shopping days, and that’s not such a bad thing. There are some things that you’ll want to keep in mind, especially if you are looking for deals on specific products. Last year, Amazon released deals in batches every three hours. This year, some of the promotions are based around six-hour blocks, so it’s possible the company has extended the times each deal will be available to accommodate for the longer event.

Amazon will have a few different deal styles running on Prime Day. There are a few different types of deals you can expect to see during the event, including Gold Box deals, Lightning deals, Coupon deals, and direct price drops. Each of these is a little different, so here’s what you can expect from each type:

  • Gold Box Deals of the Day: These are Amazon’s daily deals, and generally for these, the company has plenty of stock to fulfill orders on it all day long. We have seen Gold Box deals sell out in the past, but it’s far less often that these sell out than the other types of deals.
  • Lightning Deals: Like an actual bolt of lightning, these deals will come and go fast. On an average day, Lightning deals tend to last for around six hours, but on Prime Day it’s likely that the most popular deals will go in the blink of an eye. You can generally join a waitlist if it sells out, but that won’t guarantee that you will actually get the product.
  • Coupon Deals: Many sellers will be offering coupon codes as a way to help people save on Prime Day, and these require a little more work. Some will offer landing pages that automatically clip the coupon code for you, and others will require you to manually enter them during the checkout process. The few seconds of extra work can sometimes save you big, though.
  • Direct Price Drops: For a vast majority of deals on Prime Day, you’ll visit the page and the price will just be reduced.

Why should I care about Prime Day?

Most people shop all year, not just around Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Odds are there is something that you’re looking to buy, and who likes to pay full price for the items they want the most? Whether you’re heading off to college this year and need some essentials for your dorm room, or you’ve just been putting off a purchase of new luggage, cell phone accessories, headphones, and more, Prime Day may just offer the deal you need to own that new gear.

On Prime Day, Amazon doesn’t have deals in only one or two categories, it’s basically across everything that the site sells. This means there is literally a deal out there for everyone. Seriously. From Echo devices to Amazon services like Kindle Unlimited, Instant Pots, DNA test kits, and almost anything else you can think of, you’ll probably see a discount or ten on some of the most popular products.

As Amazon Prime Day grows in size and popularity, more retailers begin to join in on the fun, too. We’ve already seen Dell kick off a Black Friday in July sale, and eBay already said it will have thousands of exclusive deals on the big day as well. Odds are that you’ll see Best Buy, Target, and other big-box retailers joining in on the online fun. Even if you don’t want to shop at the other sites, it’s still great for the day. We’ve seen Amazon aggressively price-match other retailers in the past, and expect the same will happen if someone tries to beat its pricing this year.

How do I stay on top of Prime Day deals?

Amazon says that Prime Day 2018 will have millions of deals that are available worldwide, and being on a Monday in July odds are you’ll be working and not sitting at a computer all day to shop. Luckily, there are a few great ways to stay on top of the deals, and some of them you can do right from your phone.

First up is the Amazon app. You’ll want to make sure you have it downloaded and installed on your phone. First-time users will actually even get a $10 credit to use on Prime Day for signing in the first time, so don’t miss out. In the Amazon app, you’ll be able to set alerts for upcoming Lightning deals, watch deals that you’re interested in, and quickly check out when they go live.

If using your phone during the workday isn’t permitted, Amazon’s Assistant browser extension may be a better bet for you. You can install it for free, and as a Prime member, you’ll get $5 off your next $25 order for goods sold and shipped by Amazon. You will need to use the Assistant extension to find the deal, but it’s a small trade-off for the additional discount.

Our pals over at Thrifter will also be covering all 36 hours of the event. When it comes to big events like this that are full of deals, the team just doesn’t sleep. From deals that are likely to sell out quickly to coupon codes you may not have uncovered on your own, Thrifter will be the absolute best place to look for a Prime Day deal that you may be interested in. You’ll want to make sure that you are following them on Twitter and signed up for the Prime Day newsletter to have the best deals delivered right to your inbox.

What else should I know?

So, now that you know the basics about Prime Day, here are a couple of pro tips to help you get the absolute most out of the big event that you can. Our first words of advice are “Buy now, think later.” Seriously, some of these deals will sell out in just seconds, and the last thing you’ll want is to miss out on a great price because you were thinking too much about it. Amazon allows you to cancel an order before it ships, and on most items, the company even offers free returns. Instead of missing out, buy the deals that you’re most interested in, and then do your research on the product and such after you’ve completed the checkout process.

With such a wide variety of products being on sale during the event, it’s often times helpful to have some sort of gameplan ahead of time. Think about the things you want to buy and need the most. Jot them down, mark them in the app, and be ready to buy them when you see the deals hit. If you go in blind, you’ll either come out having purchased way too much (which is still a win when it’s discounted) or with nothing at all. The old saying “If you fail to plan, you are planning to fail” definitely applies here.

As mentioned above, you do 100% need to be an Amazon Prime member in order to get in on the Prime Day action. Get yourself the free 30-day trial to help save you money without costing you anything.

Let Thrifter help you

Prime Day just keeps getting bigger and bigger, and it’s really hard to maximize your savings during these big events. The team over at Thrifter is full of professional deal hunters who will literally be providing around the clock coverage of everything on Prime Day. From the best savings, as they hit to roundups of what you should be buying, the team will aim to make it as easy as possible to find the best deals that are available from the first to the last minute.

Drop them a follow on Twitter and sign up for their Prime Day newsletter to have the best deals delivered right to you throughout the day.