I can be sucker for a deal. Tell me something is 20 percent off, and I will at least consider what you’re selling. And with Amazon Prime Day coming up, I’m willing to consider a lot.
Starting at 3 p.m. EST on July 16, the retail giant will offer millions of deals as a way to pep up sales in the doldrums of summer.
So what are the best Amazon Prime Day deals? Well, it doesn’t matter unless you’re signed up for Amazon Prime. So that’s step one.
And I find that to be the gateway drug. I really don’t order that much from Amazon otherwise, so after my 30-day trial is over, I’m going to be spending $12.99 a month either for nothing or for the privilege of being heavily marketed to. But I’ve got 30 days to cancel, so I’m giving it a try.
Amazon’s Marketing Ploys
When you look closely at Amazon as a shopping environment, what you quickly discover is that items or products are the smallest part of it. They get you as fully integrated into their platform as some people are with Apple or Google.
The first sign of this is that they’re giving away $10 credit if you download and sign onto the app. Who’s going to object to that?
The app is heavily promoted within the site’s “How to Shop Prime Day” guide. And on the site, you’ll find that there deals to be had within the app and via the voice-activated system Alexa, as well as by shopping in Whole Foods stores.
The company is also using Amazon Prime Day as a time to offer deals and pick up new users for its subscription programs like Amazon Music (four months for 99 cents) and Audible (save 66 percent on the first three months).
Amazon Prime Rewards Card
And even in the long term, Amazon is also motivating those who play its loyalty game: Purchases made on the Amazon Prime Rewards Visa card can get 10 percent cash back instead of the standard five percent on purchases at Amazon and Whole Foods. So if you’re racking up points, this is the time to make a big purchase and combine a deep discount with a higher reward percentage.
There are also specific items that will net greater rewards on the credit card. For example, select musical instruments and LG TVs will get you a total of 10 percent cash back.
How to Take Advantage of Amazon Prime Day Deals
If you’re trying to resist being roped into another spending platform, research items you want and target your ideal price. Personally, I’m keen on a new grill pan and maybe a Chromebook. So yes, now that I'm a member with the app, I may scroll through to find some savings on those items on Amazon Prime Day.
I’ll probably also watch the news reports of how much people spent. I secretly hope there’s a fight over the yoga-mat deal at Whole Foods, just like how people fight over flat screen TVs at Walmart on Black Friday.
What Not to Do
There are some good ways not to approach Amazon Prime Day, as well. In one experiment, I searched for the words “Amazon Prime Day Deals 2018 Women.” That search turned up $20 “diamond” earring deals that looked like they came from a Sears going-out-out-of-business sale.
Also, by scrolling through the products, I found that independent sellers add the words “Amazon Prime Day deal” or “Black Friday” to the description of their products. So searching the words is just going to turn up sellers who understand the art of search engine optimization (SEO).
Meanwhile, the app allows you the fun of “watching” Amazon Prime Day deals. It provides a button for following upcoming deals in which the prices will be revealed at a specific time, like an essential oil diffuser that will be going on sale at 3:04 a.m. EST. But come on. Who’s that desperate for aromatherapy?
That’s what I thought until I put it on my watch list at night, then woke up to find it was only $11.99. I considered it. Then I came to my senses.
Don’t Get Suckered!
Shopping this way — by putting the deal first before your need — is the enemy of anyone trying to save money. Searching for deals and watching for discounts is a backwards process that defeats the saving-oriented approach. If you want something, research it and then find the deal. Don’t start with the deal and decide you need it.
Just remember this: July 16 falls in a summer lull of entertainment. The World Cup will be over. Wimbledon, too. There are several weeks before U.S. Open starts. If you’ve seen the summer movies and already gone on vacation, you may be suffering in the heat without much going on.
Amazon is counting on you sitting in front of your computer at work wishing you were anywhere else. What’s left to do but go on a little shopping spree as escapism?
If that’s where your thinking lies, keep in mind that Amazon created an appointment for you and millions of other people to go shopping. They picked it. Not you. The real key to shopping Amazon Prime Day? No deal is real if you’re buying an item you don’t need.