WIRED legitimately covers great deals throughout the year, including Prime Day. Our tips below will help you find these discounts on your own.
How do you know if an offer is good?
ABC: Always check (i.e. prices). Researching the price of an item is the most important aspect in determining the quality of a discount. Don’t fall prey to misleading marketing language and inflated MSRP prices – our advice only takes a moment. The easiest step is to take a second to Google the items you’re considering to see the price at multiple stores.
One tool we like to use is Camelcamelcamel, which tracks Amazon prices over time. Simply paste the Amazon or ASIN link (found in the Product Information section on the Amazon product page) into Camelcamelcamel’s search bar and you will be able to see an item’s lowest recorded price, average price, and how often the price fluctuates. Some offers, such as Lightning Deals, are excluded from price history, but it’s always useful to see what price an item has sold for in the past.
We also really like Keepa, which has an extension (available for multiple browsers) that shows recent product price history right on the Amazon page so you never have to open a new tab. Other great tools are Honey, which can potentially save you money through promo codes but also tracks price history at various retailers across the web, and Octoshop, which can quickly show you the price of a product at several retailers.
Keep in mind that these services may not work all the time. But being able to see how much a product costs just before the sale starts (and if the MSRP past increase) can be very useful. The combination of these tools can help you determine if a transaction is worth your money.
WIRED always checks offers to determine their quality. You can check out our current deals coverage to find summaries of the best discounts available, during Prime Day and throughout the year.
What is a lightning deal?
Lightning Deals are limited time offers that Amazon runs for only a few hours each. They’re not limited to Prime Day, but they’re especially prevalent during big sales. Once an item is sold out, you may be able to join a waitlist, but not always.
Frankly speaking, the Lightning Deals selection is often full of impulse buys, like makeup and skincare products or toys. Prime members can browse upcoming deals on Amazon’s website and mobile app. The app can also alert you before a Lightning Deal starts.
How can I be sure an offer won’t sell out?
It’s always disappointing when an item on sale is out of stock. If you know what time an offer starts, be sure to actively pay attention to the product page around the start time. You may also be able to add an item to your cart before the sale begins, so you can refresh the page to snag it immediately.
It’s a good idea to create an account with trusted retailers so that you can register your credit card information and shipping details in advance. This will make the checkout process as fast as possible. It’s also a good idea to clear your web browser’s cache before you start shopping during sales events like Prime Day. Just be sure to log back into those retailers afterwards.