Store Spotlight: How to Get the Best Price at Amazon.comSeptember 16, 2013 by Kyle 8 comments • Filed Under Store Spotlight
I should preface this article by saying, “Hello, my name is Kyle and I am an Amazon.com addict. It has been 17 hours since I placed my last order.”
Over the years I have learned some pretty cool tricks to maximize your savings at the online retail giant. So I thought it was time to put all my tips in one article so you can maximize your savings at Amazon.com as well.
Amazon Prime, Worth It?
The magic number is 5. If you buy from Amazon.com, or think you might, at least 5 times per month, then it is worth paying the $79 annual fee for the Amazon.com Prime membership. Essentially, I did the math based on a $5 shipping charge which is fairly conservative as larger items have shipping charges way above $5. Here is what you get for the $79 annual fee:
- FREE Unlimited 2-Day Shipping. This is by far the biggest benefit, especially since Amazon carries pretty much every product you can think of. Order something then 5 minutes later remember that you are almost out of toothpaste, no problem just log back in and place another order for some Crest. Also, it is very impressive that 2-day Prime shipping is also available on really large items like microwaves, televisions, and basketball hoops. How do I know this? Oh, just take my word for it.
- Access to Amazon.com Streaming Service. You can stream hundreds of TV shows and movies for free through your Smart TV, Wii, Roku, or other Internet connected device. Important Note: Only the primary Prime member has free access. Family members that have been added to the Prime membership are not eligible.
- Kindle Owners’ Lending Library. If you own a Kindle device you get to borrow one pre-selected book title per month. In my experience the titles are very good and include many new releases.
- Discounts Available. If you are a student you can get the Prime membership for an affordable $39 a year. You still get all the same features as a regular membership. Plus, you’ll also get student discounts on thousands of products.
Your best bet initially is to sign up for a 30-day free Prime trial membership to test out the service and make sure it fits your needs and is worth your money. The only downside I have seen with Amazon Prime is it makes it VERY easy to overspend if you are not careful. This is especially true if you use the 1-Click checkout option. They make it way too easy to make a purchase. Consider yourself warned.
Also, it’s worth noting that the best way to get the most bang for your buck is to “go in” with some family members and split the $79 Prime membership. The primary member can extend an invitation to join his or her account to up to 4 individuals.
The best way to explain this cool little app is to talk about what happened a couple years ago when the Amazon Price Check App stirred up some major controversy. Basically, what it came down to was brick & mortar stores not liking the fact that shoppers could pull out their smartphone and use this free app to instantly scan a product’s barcode and find out what Amazon.com currently sold the product for. Retailers cried foul and made the argument that their stores were essentially becoming a showcase for Amazon products.
Personally, I found it completely laughable. If you want my business, offer amazing customer service and exceed my expectations in every way possible and there is an EXCELLENT chance I will buy from you, even if Amazon.com is a bit cheaper. That is how it should work. Instead of wasting time being upset at what a competitor does, focus on your business and the things you actually have control over.
CamelCamelCamel.com hands down wins the ‘Dumbest Name of the Most Useful Website’ award. The free website allows you to track the price of millions of products sold by Amazon.com and sends you a cool alert via email or Twiiter when the price drops to historically low prices.
OK, now back up a second. Maybe you weren’t already aware that Amazon.com is constantly changing the prices of their products. Yes, they must certainly do. You can quickly see this by adding a few products to your ‘Save for Later’ folder in your Amazon account and track them over the course of a few days. They can change in price by up to 20% on certain product categories.
So this is where CamelCamelCamel comes into play. They’ll track the prices for you which allows you to only buy items when they are at, or below, historically low prices. I nice little tool for those that always wondered if they were getting the best deal possible.
Another similar website worth checking out is The Tracktor.com.
Gold Box Deal of the Day
Amazon.com Gold Box Deals are essentially a daily deal site within the Amazon platform. The main problem with the Gold Box Deal is they are really hard to find on their cluttered homepage so your best bet is to bookmark the actual link to the Gold Box page. Most of the Gold Box deals are kitchen items, small appliances, tech-gear, and electronics. For example, today they have a Logitech Wireless Keyboard and Mouse for $49.99 which is $50 less than the regular price. If you don’t care about owning a particular brand, the Gold Box Deals can really save you some money, especially when doing your Christmas shopping this year.
Subscribe and Save Program
The Amazon.com ‘Subscribe and Save’ program is a nifty little free program to help you save money on re-occurring purchases. Your diapers, paper towels, toilet paper, things like that. Essentially, you set up automatic delivery on specific items and if you have 5 or more set up you get 15% taken off your order total. Crystal at Money Saving Mom did a little experiment on toilet paper and paper towels and found them to be cheaper than her local Costco. The kicker is that they show up on your doorstep for free and you can cancel your subscription at any time.
A word of caution, always make sure that the prices are competitive. Since Amazon.com changes their pricing all the time, a good deal on Huggies in February may be a ripoff come June. Amazon makes this process a little bit easier by sending you an email if the price goes up so you can make an informed decision to cancel or not.
Amazon’s Outlet Store
Have you ever tried to find the Amazon.com Outlet from their homepage? If you have, you know that it is NOT possible. For whatever reason, they just don’t advertise it. My guess is they’d rather have you buy stuff at full price. The only way I have been able to land in their outlet is through a Google search.
In any case, the outlet offers some great savings up to 70% off the original price. Some of the best deals are on clothing, jewelry, shoes, and electronics. If you have a Prime membership you can still shop in the outlet and get free 2-day shipping. The secret is officially out, so go forth and save money.
Are you an Amazon.com addict? If so, how do you make sure you’re getting the best deal possible?
By Kyle James