WIRED legally covers great deals throughout the year, including on Prime Day. Our tips below will help you find the great discounts on your own.
How do I know if a deal is good?
ABC: Always be on the lookout (prices, that is). Examining the price of an item is the most important aspect in determining the quality of a discount. Do not fall victim to misleading marketing language and high MSRP prices – our tips only take a few moments. The easiest step is to spend a second to Google the items you are reviewing so you can see the price across multiple stores.
One tool we like to use is Camelcamelcamel, which tracks Amazon prices over time. Just paste the Amazon link or ASIN (found in the product information section on the Amazon product page) into Camelcamelcamel̵[ads1]7;s search box, and you will be able to see the lowest registered price of an item, the average price and how often the price fluctuates. Some deals, such as Lightning Deals, are excluded from the price history, but it is still useful to see what an item has sold for in the past.
We also like Keepa, which has an extension (available for multiple browsers) that shows the latest pricing history of products directly on the Amazon page so you never have to open a new tab. Other great tools are Honey, which can potentially save you money via promotional codes, but also track price history at various online retailers, and Octoshop, which can quickly show you the price of a product across multiple retailers.
Keep in mind that these services may not work all the time. But to be able to see how much a product cost right before the sale started (and about MSRP happened to increase) can be very useful. By putting these tools together, you can find out if a deal is worth your money.
WIRED always fact checks agreements to determine quality. You can check out our ongoing quote coverage to find summaries of the best discounts available – during Prime Day and year-round.
What is a Lightning Deal?
Lightning Deals are time-limited deals that Amazon runs for just a few hours each. They are not limited to Prime Day, but they are especially prevalent during major sales events. When an item is sold out, you may be able to join a waiting list, but not always.
To put it bluntly, the Lightning Deals range is often full of impulse purchases, such as make-up and skin care products or toys. Prime members can browse upcoming deals on the Amazon website and in the mobile app. The app can also notify you before a Lightning Deal begins.
How do I ensure that a deal is not sold out?
It is always disappointing when an item on sale goes out of stock. If you know when an appointment starts, be sure to actively consider the product page around the start time. You can also add an item to your shopping cart before the sale starts, so you can refresh the page to catch it right away.
It’s smart to create an account with trusted retailers so you can save your credit card information and shipping details in advance. This will make the check-out process as fast as possible. It is also a good idea to clear your browser cache before you start shopping during sales events such as Prime Day. Just be sure to log in again with these resellers afterwards.