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We all like shopping. Even those who claim they don’t. Amazon has brought the joy of shopping even to those who used to hate walking between stores or just having to leave the house to buy a new camera.
But the more we get used to not leaving our chair, the more spoiled we get. How many of us know – especially those of us that have read the MUO Amazon shopping guide – that there are great Amazon deals out there but keep forgetting to check or just lose the daily e-mails in a swamped inbox? And how many have wished the picture gallery was just a little bit better, so the product images are easier to look at (I know I did)? If you’re one of these people, here are some Amazon shopping enhancers that will turn an excellent shopping experience into a perfect one.
PictureFox [Firefox] [No Longer Available]
PictureFox is a Firefox add-on that makes it easier for you to browse through Amazon product images as well as share links. After you install it, you’ll be able to hover with your mouse over any product in Amazon and instantly get a larger image of it. You’ll no longer need to click the product and then click the gallery to get the bigger image.
When you enter the product’s page, you’ll notice two things. First, the add-on shortens all product URLs to www.amazon.com/dp/ASIN. Second, and more importantly, you get a completely different product gallery. To access it, look for the small orange icon on the top left of the product image.
This will open PictureFox’s gallery (clicking on the picture itself will open the regular Amazon gallery). When a product image is available in HD you can click on it to view it in full size. Otherwise, you can easily browse through all the variants and colors of the product. You no longer have to click on each thumbnail separately to view the image, which is quite a relief.
PictureFox makes Amazon browsing much more visual, and makes it much easier to see all the images in good quality, size, and zoom.
Amazon Deals! [Chrome]
If you’re more into special Amazon deals, you might like Amazon Deals! add-on. This is a Chrome add-on which helps you keep track of all those discounts and price drops Amazon frequently has. The add-on places a small Amazon button in your add-on bar, which, when clicked, displays a list of all the latest deals on Amazon, including links, prices and posting date.
By default, every time you click on the icon, you’ll get the full deals list starting with the newest. If you want to browse just a certain category, click the “Categories” link at the bottom and choose the category you’d like to browse. Note that when you click elsewhere and the window closes, it will display the general newest links again. There is no way that I could see to make the add-on always display just one category by default.
You can also use the add-on to search on Amazon if you want to perform a quick search without opening the website. From here you can click the links to get to the actual product pages.
Amazon Deals! is not the most customizable add-on, but if general deals are what you’re after, it definitely provides easy access to those.
PriceWatcher [Windows & Mac]
PriceWatcher (formerly AmazonWatcher) is a downloadable app that helps you track specific Amazon products. If you’re serious about getting the best deals, PriceWatcher will help you grab what you want at exactly the right time.
You can easily search and add products within the program’s interface, and then set it to alert you when the price drops to your requested price, or when an out-of-stock item comes back into stock. You can also set it to automatically add this product to your cart at the right moment. The program can also be configured to send e-mail alerts, in case you’re away from your computer when the desired price drop occurs.
As far as customizing goes, you can set how often PriceWatcher will check for changes in your items, choose how bothersome it would be when alerting you about it, and control the program’s startup. You can also select what the alert sounds like, but you can only choose WAV files.
PriceWatcher is well-made and easy to use, and can definitely help you grab some deals when you’re looking for something specific and have the patience to wait for it.
Bonus: Kindle Daily Deal
This is no great secret, but many people still don’t know about it. If you own a Kindle (or a Kindle account), you can get a different book every day for peanuts. Turn your browser over to http://amzn.to/kindeal and enjoy interesting books for a dollar or two.
These are really good Amazon shopping deals, especially when many eBooks today cost the same as paper ones.
Amazon keeps evolving, and some will say they are very well near perfect. But nothing is ever really perfect, and us tweakers will always look for ways to make things just a little bit better. With time, Amazon may integrate these things into the website itself, and then we’ll be on the lookout again to find things that make it even better!
Know of some more enhancers that make Amazon better? Let us know about them in the comments.