Black Friday? Been there. Cyber Monday? Done that.
But what about Amazon Prime Day? The online summer sale offers some of the year’s biggest discounts on a wide variety of products. But are you prepared? Do you have an attack plan?
If not, there’s no need to panic. We called in the reinforcements. RetailMeNot’s Sara Skirboll talked to "Good Morning America" about all things Amazon: what to buy, what to avoid and what to expect during the online extravaganza.
What is Amazon Prime Day, anyway?
Amazon Prime Day is an online sales event that typically lasts about 36 hours in July. Deals are exclusive to Amazon Prime members and range from TVs to baby wipes to all kinds of products. Despite being called Prime "Day," not all the deals are daylong. Skirboll says to expect certain "lightning sales" on items that have limited quantities. While some bargains will be available for the duration of Prime Day, these "lightning sales" will pop up at random and last only as long as items are in stock.
"It’s like Black Friday, but without all the lines!" Skirboll says.
If you’re not a Prime member already, Skirboll recommends signing up for the free month-long trial. It’ll help you get a grasp on whether or not Amazon Prime is right for you. If you decide it isn’t, just remember to cancel your trial or you’ll automatically enroll and pay the $12.99 monthly service fee.
What will be the biggest deals this Prime Day?
Some of Amazon’s deepest discounts will be on their own branded products including Echo devices, Fire Tablets, Kindles, and more. You should also expect to find deals on Amazon’s services including Music Unlimited and Kindle Unlimited. In addition, shoppers should also be able to find deals on toys, laptops, and TVs.
Last year was the first Prime Day with Whole Foods as part of Amazon and this year, we are already seeing opportunities to score big there. Now through July 16, U.S. Prime members who spend $10 at Whole Foods Market get a $10 credit to use on Amazon for Prime Day. Whole Foods Market will also offer Prime members exclusive weekly deals on summertime favorites with discounts of 25-50% off.
What should you avoid buying on Amazon Prime Day?
While there are exceptional opportunities to save big time on Prime Day, Skirboll suggests waiting until black Friday to buy things like beauty products, designer products, winter wear, sneakers, cookware and appliances.
How to ensure you get the best deal?
It's not uncommon for the price of products to fluctuate before a sale, with retailers marking an item up then reducing the price and listing it as "on sale" soon after, according to ABC News' Rebecca Jarvis.
Websites like Camel Camel Camel can track price history of a product so that shoppers can compare and check if they are actually getting a good deal.
In addition to smart shopping tactics like price comparing, it's important to read the fine print.
Many products sold on Amazon can be done through a third-party seller. Those sellers may not always offer the same warranty, shipping and return policies as products fulfilled directly through Amazon.
Tips and tricks for a successful Amazon Prime Day?
Planning goes a long way. Make sure you really need what you’re going to buy. Don’t get distracted by deep discounts. That said, there will be amazing deals on things like toys and smart home devices. Sometimes things sell out quickly, so if you need them, get them. And it’s OK to get ahead on your winter holiday shopping.
Also, Skirboll encourages looking around for other retailers offering deals besides just Amazon.
"That pair of sneakers doesn’t need to necessarily come from Amazon," she notes.
RetailMeNot collected data suggesting 250 retailers will compete with Amazon during Prime Day. That’s an increase of 194 last year and from just 7 in 2015.
"That's a win for consumers," Skirboll said.
Isn't Target one of those retailers?
Yes. Target announced 15% off for teachers the week of July 13 to kick off the back-to-school shopping season, as well as "deal days" on July 15 and 16.
Target states that its sale will include thousands of rarely discounted items as well as their Target-owned brands that span across categories like home decor and apparel.
For shoppers looking to score deals outside of the basic Amazon electronics, look out for deep discounts on Target brand apparel like A New Day, Universal Thread, Cat & Jack or home decor brands like Hearth & Hand, OpalHouse or Project62.
Prices on appliances are likely to be slashed, too, Skirboll says.
This year, Target will offer deals on some big names -- Instant Pot, Kitchen Aid, and Dyson for example -- and on 7/16 they’ll offer 5% off Target eGift Cards.
"If shoppers strategize, picking up a few discounted Target gift cards can benefit them all season long for back to school shopping, Labor Day sales and even into the holiday shopping season," Skirboll says.
Who else is offering deals?
Skirboll says Macy's, Bloomingdales and Petco, among others, have already kicked off their big July sales, and eBay is also hosting a "crash sale" July 16.
"Not only will the site have deals on major brands like Apple, Samsung and KitchenAid, but if the Amazon site crashes, they will drop even more discounts," Skirboll predicts. "If that happens, eBay’s offer may lure customers away from their Amazon tab to check out deals they can actually redeem."
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This story was originally published in 2018 and has since been updated.