Amazon Prime Day: How to get a good deal during the October promotion

Amazon kicks off its two-day Prime Early Access sale on Tuesday, with the retailer offering discounts on products ranging from Peloton to KitchenAid appliances. But before you buy, it’s important to do your research to make sure what’s on offer is as good as it looks.

The promotion is Amazon’s second Prime-connected shopping event this year and features some Holiday offers earlier than usual, hoping to persuade cautious consumers to open their wallets. With inflation at a 40-year high, more Americans are cutting spending, hurting sales at Amazon and other retailers.

Amazon credits the two-day event with hundreds of thousands of discounts for its members of its Prime shopping club. But as with its regular Summer Prime Day event, this latest sale offers possibly the deepest discounts on Amazon’s own products like Kindle and Alexa devices.

At the same time, recent research suggests that some discounts available on Amazon may not be as attractive as they appear. Some retailers even claim their products are being sold at a discount when they’ve actually increased the price, researchers from the University of Florida, the University of South Carolina and Arizona State University have found. And some sellers appear to be increasing their “initial” prices to make their “discounts” look steeper later, previous research shows.

“The misleading discount ads we discovered are difficult for shoppers to spot, as doing so would require tracking both prices and the presence of discount ads over time,” Jinhong Xie, professor of marketing at the University of Florida and one of the co-authors of the new study said in an email to CBS MoneyWatch.

“But buyers can avoid this trap by checking prices more thoroughly before buying,” Xie added.

Here’s what you should know about Amazon’s Prime Early Access sale.

When does Prime Day start in October?

The event began at 00:00 Pacific Time (03:00 Eastern Time) on October 11 and will run until the end of the day on October 12.

What does Prime Early Access mean?

The aim of the two-day event is to convince Amazon Prime members to start their Christmas shopping on the site early. Like summer’s Prime Day event, the two-day sale aims to convince people to sign up for Amazon’s Prime membership, as the deals are only available to Prime members.

Do I have to be a Prime member to get discounts during the event?

Yes, the promotion is only available to people who have signed up for the Prime membership plan, which costs either $14.99 per month or $139 per year.

However, users can sign up for Amazon’s 30-day free Prime trial and cancel before the period ends. After the 30 days are up, you will be charged either a monthly fee or the annual fee.

What is offered during Prime Early Access?

The retailer is touting savings of up to 70% on some of its own devices, like the Echo Dot bundle with Amazon’s smart plug, which is selling for $17.99 during the event. Amazon says this is 72% off its regular price of $30.98.

Other brands on sale during the event include:

  • Up to 50% off headphones from brands like Bose, Sony and JBL
  • Up to 50% off Hasbro toys
  • Up to 45% off iRobot and Shark vacuum cleaners
  • Up to 15% off Peloton products including the original bike priced at $1,225 instead of $1,445
  • Kitchen items such as appliances from KitchenAid and Cuisinart are also offered

How do I know I’m getting a good deal?

The most important step is pricing research for a product you are interested in.

One site frequently used by bargain hunters is CamelCamelCamel, a price tracking service. You have to sign up for the site’s free login, but after that you can enter an Amazon URL for a product and the service will give you the price history for that product.

For example, this three-pack of Mrs. Meyer’s hand soap is advertised as a Prime Exclusive Deal and costs $8.47, or a 42% discount. And pasting the URL into CamelCamelCamel shows that the product was recently sold for $14.48, but its price dropped to $7.56 in October 2021 via a third party.

How To Get $10 In Freebies With Prime Early Access

There are a few ways to get a little extra buying power during Amazon’s Prime Early Access.

For example, if you buy a $50 gift card from Amazon or other brands — including restaurants like Panera and retailers like Gap — you’ll get $10 in future promotional credit in your account.

What shouldn’t I buy during Prime Early Access?

According to experts, there are two categories where you’d better wait for bigger sales during November’s Black Friday events: TVs and computers. They recommend waiting until next month to buy a TV, laptop, or other computer, when steeper discounts may be available.

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