Amazon Prime Day 2020: Tips and tricks for the best deals

Stephanie Asymkos
·Reporter
·4 mins read

Do not adjust your calendar. Amazon Prime Day, the e-commerce giant’s banner event, has moved from July to October and altered the entire timeline for holiday shopping.

The two-day sales extravaganza kicks off October 13, six weeks ahead of Black Friday, and Amazon (AMZN) is advertising a lineup of deep discounts traditionally reserved for Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Other retailers are offering sales of their own to compete.

Read more: Top tips for shopping online marketplaces for back-to-school and remote work supplies

Sara Skirboll, shopping and trends expert at RetailMeNot, and Nathan Burrow, Wirecutter’s deals expert, shared their best advice on how to shop smart and find the best deals during Amazon Prime Day and elsewhere.

Amazon Prime Day, the e-commerce giant’s banner event, has moved from July to October and altered the entire timeline of holiday shopping. (Photo: Getty)
Amazon Prime Day, the e-commerce giant’s banner event, has moved from July to October and altered the entire timeline of holiday shopping. (Photo: Getty)

Use Amazon’s tools

Leverage Amazon’s functionality to help you shop smarter, Burrow suggested.

First, add yourself to a waitlist for Lightning Deal items you missed. If an item that “sold out” never went through checkout, you get an alert and may be able to snap it up.

Second, add items you have your eye on to a wishlist using the “Add to List” button. You can adjust your settings on your Amazon app, so you get a push notification when an item becomes available.

Know the competition

A shopper leaves Macy's department store with bags in both hands during Black Friday shopping, Friday, Nov. 29, 2019, in New York. (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews)
A shopper leaves Macy's department store with bags in both hands during Black Friday shopping, Friday, Nov. 29, 2019, in New York. (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews)

Prime Day is expected to generate nearly $10 billion in sales for Amazon, according to research firm eMarketer. With those kinds of numbers, the retail industry is now running under the adage: “If you can’t beat them, join them.”

Read more: Here's one big way the pandemic is changing holiday shopping

These major retailers are planning big sales of their own on October 13 and 14 during the Prime Day event:

  • Best Buy (BBY)

  • Walmart (WMT)

  • Target (TGT)

  • Overstock (OSTK)

  • Zales

  • Macy’s (M)

  • QVC

  • Ray-Ban

Even if retailers can’t compete with Amazon’s scale and product breadth, they can at least attempt to sway spenders away from Prime Day with price matching, Burrow said.

“If you're willing to do the additional legwork, you can try online chat for Best Buy price matches or the Walmart customer care line to see if they'll honor a competitor's online price,” he said, “though there are ample exceptions.”

Shop early

Don’t lose sight of the reason why Prime Day was moved in the first place. The pandemic caused a major breakdown in the global supply chain and it’s still in the recovery process. That said, certain items —especially home gym staples like free weights or dumbbells — are still hard to come by, and expect shipping times to be slower than usual, even at Amazon.

Read more: Here's how the pandemic has changed our feelings about shopping

“It's so important to start early because you want to make sure that you get exactly what you want,” Skirboll said.

If you have your heart set on an in-demand item, scope out secondary marketplaces like Facebook Marketplace or Nextdoor for gently used or perhaps even new equivalents being sold in your neighborhood, she said.

Never pay for shipping

Myrtice Harris applies tape to a package before shipment at an Amazon fulfillment center in Baltimore. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File)
Myrtice Harris applies tape to a package before shipment at an Amazon fulfillment center in Baltimore. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File)

Free shipping isn’t a luxury, according to Skirboll, who makes it a point to never pay for shipping. While it’s easier to get free shipping from Amazon, you may find a better deal elsewhere—as long as you don’t have to pay extra to get the item delivered to you.

"There are so many free shipping codes and promotions being offered during the holidays that shoppers should expect free shipping,” she said.

If a retailer isn’t meeting your expectation, pick up the phone and kindly ask a customer service representative if they would be able to waive the fee, Skirboll said.

Read reviews and fine print

Rather than make a purchase in haste, shoppers should scope out a retailers’ return and exchange policy. Read the customer reviews, too, in an effort to eliminate buyer’s remorse.

Read more: Here's how quickly the richest CEOs in America can pay your bills

"Make sure to read reviews and the fine print,” Skirboll said.

Do your research

The internet gives shoppers the benefit of not having to painstakingly search and clip coupons. Browser extensions like Honey and Deal Finder “automatically search and apply coupon codes and cashback offers immediately at checkout,” Skirboll said.

"Do your research and always find a cashback offer or coupon code,” she said. “The goal is to always save money while you're spending it.”

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Yahoo Money sister site Cashay has a weekly newsletter.

Stephanie is a reporter for Yahoo Money and Cashay, a new personal finance website. Follow her on Twitter @SJAsymkos.

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