According to Amazon, on July 12, Amazon Prime Day will generate more sales than either Black Friday or Cyber Monday. That makes it Amazon’s biggest day of the year. But finding deals in a morass of discounted garbage isn’t easy. Here’s how to get what you want out of Amazon Prime Day.
Getting Prime Day deals requires having an Amazon Prime account. For users without a Prime account, you can acquire a free Prime trial subscription.
Amazon’s Gold Box Deals
A big chunk of Amazon’s Prime Day deals shows up on its Goldbox page. Goldbox deals can be sorted and filtered by price and type. To illustrate, here’s an example of the Goldbox interface:
In the left column, under Deal Type, look for two kinds of deals: Lightning Deals and Deals of the Day. Savings and Sales, along with Coupons, offer solid discounts as well.
The best deals tend to be Lightning Deals, which are time and quantity limited. Deals of the Day also offer good discounts, but offer better availability, compared to Lightning Deals.
If This Then That
If This Then That (guide to IFTTT) can automate almost anything. It can even automate deal-finding by using IFTTT Recipes, which function as customizable user-created automation scripts. It works like this: users can find or create automation scripts that detect certain conditions — such as whenever Amazon publishes new deals on their Goldbox page. For example, here’s the only one available through IFTTT, which links with Twitter.
I recommend installing the IFTTT mobile app, which allows users to receive alerts on deals whenever their recipe “triggers”. Although it’s possible to create a recipe that relies on emails for notifications (see recipe below).
For those of you who are gluttons for punishment, I’ve created a pair of notification recipes for Amazon’s Goldbox Deals. If you are new to IFTTT, to acquire a recipe, you must create an IFTTT account and click on a recipe link below. Then add the IFTTT recipe to your account.
On the downside, Amazon releases a large number of Goldbox deals, which could overwhelm a casual user. Optionally, if you possess some experience with RSS and IFTTT, you can generate a filtered IFTTT recipe, just by using a keyword filter. I won’t get into creating a custom IFTTT recipe because we’ve already covered it. You can read more about how IFTTT can save you money. Ben Stegner found a few pre-generated IFTTT recipes that save money.
There’s an App For That
The easiest method of finding Prime Day deals is to install an app. To my knowledge, the best app is Amazon Price Alert for Android. It works like this:
First, install the app on your Android device. Then click on the plus sign in through the lower-right side of the screen. You will then need to type in the name of the desired product. After locating what you want, add it to your watchlist and choose a price — if the product drops below the indicated price, you’ll receive an alert on your mobile phone.
Alternatively, you can also install the official Amazon app (available on both Android and iOS), and add items to your Watchlist. The app will notify the user of any price decreases on watched items. If you choose to install the official app, you must enable Your Watched and Waitlisted Deals, which is normally an option within the app’s Settings menu. Amazon provides full instructions on configuring the app.
Really Simple Syndication
My preferred technology for finding deals is Really Simple Syndication (what’s RSS?). Many websites publish information over a feed, or continuously updated list of published content. All of Amazon’s product category pages also includes an RSS feed. For example, its Goldbox deals are listed here:
Like all RSS feeds, you can copy-and-paste the feed URL into your favorite feed reader, like Feedly (guide to Feedly) or Inoreader. Additionally, most feed-reader pro subscriptions ($40 a year) allows users to search through feeds for keywords. For example, if you’ve subscribed to the Amazon Goldbox RSS feed above, you can search it terms like “hard drive”. Here’s an example using Feedly:
Another great option is SlickDeals’s RSS feed for its Front Page deals. It includes a great deal of content from Amazon (and other sites). The key selling point of using SlickDeals, though, is its amazing community of commenters and contributors. Here’s its feed:
Reddit’s Deal Sub-Reddits
Reddit.com, in addition to its dank memes, also hosts a number of deal-finding subreddits (or sub-sections, within Reddit). Mark O’Neil just published a great article on the best subreddits for saving money on Amazon.The most relevant of these are /r/AmazonUnder25, /r/AmazonUnder5, /r/AmazonSpecials, and /r/AmazonPrimeDeals.
Each of these subsections contains a hidden RSS link. By appending .rss to any Reddit URL, you create an RSS feed. Users can add this feed to any RSS reader, like Feedly, Old Reader, and Inoreader (Google Reader alternatives).
For example, the RSS feed for /r/AmazonDealsUS looks like this:
Chrome and Firefox Browser Extensions
If you want a deal on a particular product, several extensions for Chrome and Firefox can help.
Some extensions can monitor whenever a web page receives the modification, such as a change in price. Users can configure the extension to monitor a web page and fire off notifications whenever a particular kind of change occurs. On Chrome, the best two options are Visualping and Page Monitor. Firefox’s equivalent of Visualping is Alert Box.
To track changes to a particular product, you must first configure the extension. Out of the two extensions listed above, I prefer Visualping. It works like this: First, install the extension. Second, navigate to the web page containing the product you’d like to buy and run the extension by clicking on it in the Chrome or Firefox toolbar. The third step requires a little more explanation.
After installing the extension, navigate to the web page containing the product you’d like to buy and run the extension by clicking on it in the Chrome or Firefox toolbar. The second step requires a little more explanation.
To illustrate this method, I’m currently watching a Western Digital Red hard drive for a $10 price drop. So I’ve opened the web page and have clicked on the Visualping icon. You’ll see the following menu:
You then choose either to use the Server or the Browser option. The browser option requires keeping the page open as a tab. The server option allows you to close the window. It fires off an email alert whenever the price changes. I recommend using the browser option, which lets you get an instantaneous notification of a price change, rather than waiting for an email alert.
Once you’ve chosen a method, you must then select the frequency with which the extension checks the page in question. Visualping can only observe when changes occur on specific regions of the web page you’re tracking. So you will choose Pick Element and then highlight a region of the screen where the price is listed. It looks like this:
Finally, choose Start Monitoring to begin tracking price changes. If you’ve chosen the Browser option, you must keep that tab open, but not in the foreground, to continuously check prices.
On the downside, this method does not get the best deals – it only tracks price changes, which may or may not happen. Other extensions track an item’s price over a length of time, which gives you an indicator of when to buy a product. There are other options out there, such as CamelCamelCamel (best Amazon price trackers).
What’s the Best Method?
It depends on what you want to buy. For most users, installing an app is probably the simplest option. For those looking for a very specific item, creating multiple custom IFTTT recipes based on all the RSS feeds mentioned in this article will offer the steepest discounts.
Anyone else looking to score great Amazon Prime Day deals? What methods will you use?