How to make the most of Amazon’s ‘Prime Day’ and Target’s ‘Deal Days’

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Holiday shoppers are getting a head start on the season, with some big-name retailers leading the way.

Amazon recently announced a two-day “Prime Early Access Sale” starting October 11, and Target is hosting its own “Deal Days” beginning October 6.

“It’s just an arms race,” said Jeffrey Galak, an associate professor of marketing at Carnegie Mellon and an expert on consumer behavior.

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With sales starting earlier, retailers are hoping to lure shoppers with promotions well ahead of Black Friday and Cyber ​​Monday as consumers become increasingly concerned about higher prices.

“For consumers who have a head start on the holidays, it can be really beneficial,” Galak said. “If you’re planning to buy something and you can get it for a discount, that’s a win.”

On the other hand, “Buying something just because it’s on sale can make you overspend instead of saving.”

What to expect from Amazon’s October sale event

To make the most of the Prime Early Access Sale, expect the best discounts on Amazon devices like the Kindle, Echo, Fire TV streamers, and even their private label apparel, according to Julie Ramhold, consumer analyst at DealNews. com.

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“It’s just Prime Day 2.0,” she said.

This time around, however, Amazon is likely to offer more gift ideas — with deals on well-known brands like Hasbro, iRobot, and KitchenAid — rather than homewares.

“They’ll be trying to snag all the great holiday gifts: home decor, apparel, branded accessories and toys, toys, toys,” said Casey Runyan, editor-in-chief of online discount marketplace Brad’s Deals.

“Prime Day over the summer was very toothpastey; it’s not the same as buying that awesome kitchen gadget or hot toy,” Runyan added. (CNBC’s Select has a full round-up of the best early Amazon Prime Day deals to shop right now.)

Discounts on laptops and other electronics may not be as worthwhile, Ramhold warned. “We could see lower prices as Black Friday rolls around and a lot more retailers participate.”

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You must be an Amazon Prime member to take advantage of Prime Day deals.

You can sign up for a monthly membership or a 30-day free trial.

Deal hunters should be wary of the monthly promotion, however, Ramhold advised, as it won’t be extended through Black Friday.

“By hosting this Prime Day event in October, Amazon has affectively reassured that people will have to pay if they want to shop in November.”

The annual membership also comes with a catch, as the retail giant raised the price to $139 from $119 earlier this year.

What to expect from Target’s big sale

Expect heavily discounted seasonal items at Target, as well as Target brands like Good & Gather, Brightroom, and Room Essentials.

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Shoppers also have the benefit of the retailer’s price match guarantee, meaning all purchases made between October 6th and December 24th are eligible for a price match if the target price falls further before Christmas Eve.

“Overall, this is a huge incentive to shop on Target’s Deal Days because it eliminates concerns about item prices falling later — for example, during Black Friday,” Ramhold said.

Of course, you don’t have to be a member to participate, and you can still take advantage of free shipping by ordering online and choosing local pickup to get your items the same day.

“There’s a good chance many of the deals we see around Deal Days will return for Black Friday. However, if you see something during Deal Days and it fits your budget, grab it while you can,” Ramhold said.

“If you wait for these items, you may risk missing out.”

How to get the best deals on Christmas gifts

Start price tracking now to maximize your vacation savings.

Ramhold recommends creating a Wishlist and then using a price tracking browser extension like Camelcamelcamel or Keepa to keep track of price changes and receive price drop alerts for the items you want.

“Once you have an idea of ​​what they’re charging now, it’s much easier to tell if something is a really good deal.”

That can also depend heavily on the type of item, Runyan added. “Offers vary greatly by category,” she said. “For electronics, a 10% discount is good; in apparel and accessories, the profit margins are much larger, so there is more room for discounts.”

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