The rumour mill has been busy this year when it comes to the discount retail event Amazon Prime Day. If they're to be believed, it's really not long until Amazon Prime Day 2020 is upon us – with the month of October still very much the odds on favourite for the event month.
While no exact date in October has been confirmed by Amazon yet, we've no doubt the retail event will take place before the end of the year, and when it does, we expect to see some huge savings. In fact, there are already some pre-Amazon Prime Day 2020 deals trickling in!
So the deals are coming, but how do you ensure you don't miss out, or mess up, when it comes to snagging the best? Naturally part of the answer involves bookmarking our constantly updated list of the best Amazon Prime Day deals and (if you're fond of your fruit) our Apple Amazon Prime Day offers. But there are also some things we definitely recommend you do in advance and on the actual event too.These are our top five tips for making sure you bag a genuine bargain on Prime Day.
01. Come prepared, and time your Prime
Amazon pre-announces many of its Prime Day deals either in the days running up to the event or in the hours before a Lightning Deal begins. If you haven’t already signed up for Prime, you should think about doing so soon: Lightning Deals are usually open to anybody, but on previous Prime Days Amazon made them members-only. It’s free for 30 days and you can always cancel it later, so if you plan to start a free trial of Prime (with the view of cancelling) we suggest you sign up at the very beginning of October, to cover Prime Day. Once the event starts, it’s worth keeping an eye on Lightning Deals in particular because they’re only available for a very short time.
02. Check the price history
We’re big fans of price comparison services because they enable us to see whether a deal is too good to be true. Once a price goes live on Amazon, you can use CamelCamelCamel to see that item’s price history – it's free to make an account. The site works for various Amazon sites, not just the US one, and it can tell you whether that Prime Day Instant Pot deal is really a one-off.
You can use general price checkers such as PriceSpy too. They don’t tell you the Amazon price history, but they do tell you what lots of other retailers are charging, which is handy. That’s particularly useful with product categories where the price retailers charge often bears very little relation to the price the manufacturer says they should charge, such as 4K monitors and Ultra HD TVs.
By seeing what everyone else is charging you can see if that massive price drop is really a discount or just a comparison to an inflated RRP.
03. Check the product history
Just like in traditional retail, deals are often applied to items that Amazon or its partners wants to get rid of. That often means discontinued or end-of-line stock. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but if you know what’s current and what’s on its way out you can adjust your price expectations accordingly. It’s particularly important to do this with electronics such as TVs, computers and mobile devices as it makes a mockery of any quoted RRP: that was the recommended selling price when it was new, not what it’s actually worth now.
For example, last year Apple updated its iPod touch. Let’s say the old one gets discounted by 25 percent, bringing it down to £133 compared to £199 for a new one. That’s not necessarily a bargain: the outgoing model’s processor is four years old. The new one is twice as fast with three times better graphics performance, and it’ll be supported with iOS updates for longer.
04. Choose a section, not a SKU
You’ve more chance of bagging a deal if you think in terms of a general category rather than a specific product, or SKU (SKUs are retailers’ stock keeping units). You’re much more likely to get an Prime Day deal on, say, a 4K OLED UHD TV or a Core i7 laptop than on a very specific LG 4K OLED UHD TV or specific model of laptop. This will be more of a test for people that have learned to love a brand, but we still believe it'll be worth starting your searches more generally.
That said, if a laptop is what you're after and you can't wait, we've got a great selection of the best laptops for graphic design, all at the best prices.
05. Buy the things Amazon wants to sell you
It's no secret that some of the best discounts that you'll see on Prime Day are on Amazon products, Amazon products you didn’t know were Amazon products and products that play nice with Amazon Products. This is, after all, Amazon's show.
In the first category you have the Kindles, Echo devices and Fire TVs. In the second, Ring Doorbells (and keep an eye on Amazon’s fashion labels such as Find or Truth & Fable for that next fancy design event). And in the third category are primarily smart home devices such as Hue lights and smart plugs. If it can help Amazon sell more products or services, there will be a Prime Day deal to be had.