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Amazon predicts Amazon Prime Day deals will deliver "record breaking sales," but shoppers and sellers will be watching to see whether the online retailer can deliver on its promise to improve the quantity and quality of deals for consumers who were disappointed last year by middling savings and items that sold out in seconds.
According to sellers, everyone involved is more willing to take bigger bets this year and increase their stocks after seeing numbers on par with Black Friday.
Here's how to get the best deals out of the day (and here's a list of the best deals themselves):
Click fast, think slow
The deals will go fast, so you if think you see something you like, click "buy" to put in your cart and reserve it for 15 minutes. Then Google it and use a 3rd-party price tracking service like Camel Camel Camel to see what the historical prices on the item are to make sure it's really a good deal, or even that unique. "Check out retailers like Wal-Mart for branded items, especially toys, Newegg for electronics or eBay for unbranded products," said Helen Fang, general manager of e-commerce for Coupons.com.
After all, "Just because you're seeing a deal on Prime Day doesn't mean it's the best deal," said Sara Skirboll, spokeswoman for the RetailMeNot coupon site.
For instance, a speaker that normally sells for $300 might be on sale for $250 on Prime Day, but using a price tracking service you can see that it might drop to $250 at several points during the year anyway.
"It might not be something you want to jump on," said Jacqui Cheng, editor-in-chief of deal review sites The Wirecutter and The Sweethome. Last year the sites highlighted only about 35 deals out of the 3,200 pre-researched products they were tracking.
See the deals before they go live
Instead of hitting refresh all day, you can download the Amazon smartphone app and see "Lightning Deals" before they go live, posted up to 24 hours in advance. Mark the categories or specific deals you're interested and you'll get push alerts just before they go on the site.
Extra Ways to Save
Leverage the free trial membership
The big thing about Prime Day is that deals are only open to members of Amazon Prime's $99 per year special membership club. You can sign up for a free trial membership just for the sale and then cancel before your first month is up. Amazon is banking that many people will, and then either love the features so much or forget to cancel. You might not want to, though, a recent analysis from J.P. Morgan Chase found that a Prime Membership actually has an over $500 value when you consider the free shipping and streaming media.
Order through Alexa
Save an extra $10 when you order through an Amazon Alexa-enabled device. Just don't be silly and buy one just to get that smidgen of savings.
Save with Prime Now
Save yet $10 more on your first "Prime Now" order of $20 or more. These are products that Amazon promises to deliver within just an hour in select (mostly urban) geographies. You'll also get another $10 coupon to use later in the month.
What to Watch Out For
With the deal frenzy going on, there will also be some situations to watch out for. Chinese counterfeiters selling on Amazon.com have exploded this year, CNBC reports, so you need to watch out for prices that seem too good from sellers you've never heard of.
Sometimes during these deal holidays, an amazing high-def TV will go on sale for an incredible price. But scope the spec sheet and you'll see certain things are missing, like ports or features. These are known as "derivative" products. One year a "4K" TV advertised as a deal on Black Friday turned out to only be "4K" when the picture was stationary.
"It's a big sale day and their goal is to flood you with as much information and make you act impulsively," said Cheng.
A lot of items may be on sale for a good price, but you might also be able to get that product at another point in the year, perhaps after some more planning and saving up. Don't feel the pressure to buy, "Unless you want it for next weekend," Cheng said.
Don't shop hungry
If you go grocery shopping when you're hungry and without a list, your cart just ends up full of Fruit Roll Ups and Lunchables. Same thing on Amazon Prime Day. Use the site's "wishlist" feature to bookmark items you've researched that you need, said Dealnews features editor Benjamin Glaser. Then, on Prime Day, sort it by discount. Anything with a good price drop is worth thinking about picking up.
What if Your Item Sells Out?
Last Prime Day, social media and media coverage focused on would-be shoppers who complained about items that sold out mere moments after being posted. If that happens on Tuesday, hop on over to Wal-Mart, Macy's or Best Buy. Just like last year, other retailers are trying to grab the coattails of Prime Day by launching competing sales days, including pricematching certain deals.