Amazon is kicking 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 the deal is as good as it seems.
The promotion is Amazon’s second Prime-linked shopping event this year, offering somethan usual in hopes of persuading wary consumers to open their wallets. With inflation running at a 40-year high, more Americans are cutting back on spending, reducing sales at Amazon and other retailers.
Amazon bills the two-day event as providing hundreds of thousands of discounts to its Prime shopping club members. But like the regular summer Prime Day event, this latest sale may offer the steepest discounts on Amazon products like Kindle and Alexa devices.
At the same time, recent research shows that some discounts available on Amazon may be less attractive than they appear. Some marketers even claim their products are being sold at a discount when they have actually raised the price, researchers from the University of Florida, the University of South Carolina and Arizona State University found. And some sellers appear to raise their “start-up” prices so that their “discounts” appear steeper afterward, previous research shows.
“The deceptive discount displays we discovered are difficult for shoppers to detect because that would require tracking both prices and the presence of discounts over time,” said Jinhong Xie, a marketing professor at the University of Florida and one of co-authors of the new study said in an email to CBS MoneyWatch.
“However, buyers can avoid this pitfall by checking prices more thoroughly before buying,” Xie added.
Here’s what you need to know about Amazon’s Prime Early Access sales.
What time does Prime Day start in October?
The event started at 12 am. Pacific Time on October 11 (3 a.m. Eastern Time) and will last until the end of the day on October 12.
What does Prime Early Access mean?
The two-day event aims to get Amazon Prime members to start their holiday shopping early on the site. Like the summer Prime Day event, the two-day sale is also aimed at getting 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 qualify for discounts during the event?
Yes, the offer is only available to people who have signed up for the Prime membership plan, which costs either $14.99 per month or $139 for the year.
However, users can sign up for Amazon’s 30-day Prime free trial and cancel it before the time period ends. After 30 days, either a monthly fee or annual fees will be charged.
What’s on offer during Prime Early Access?
The retailer is touting savings of up to 70% on some of its own devices, including the Echo Dot bundle with Amazon’s smart plug, which sells for $17.99 during the event. Amazon says it’s 72% off its regular price of $30.98.
Other brands sold during the event include:
- Up to 50% on headphones from manufacturers like Bose, Sony and JBL
- Up to 50% off Hasbro toys
- Up to 45% on vacuum cleaners from iRobot and Shark
- Up to 15% off Peloton products, including the original bike, which retails for $1,225, down from $1,445
- Kitchen items such as appliances from KitchenAid and Cuisinart are also sold
How do I know I’m getting a good deal?
The most important step is to research the prices for a product you are interested in.
A site often used by bargain hunters is CamelCamelCamel, a price tracking service. You’ll need to sign up for the free link to the site, 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 soaps is being promoted as a Prime Exclusive Deal, selling for $8.47, or 42% off. And putting the URL into CamelCamelCamel shows that the product was recently sold at $14.48, but that the price also dropped to $7.56 in October 2021 through a third-party seller.
How to get $10 in Prime Early Access freebies
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 a $10 future promotional credit in your account.
What should I avoid buying during Prime Early Access?
According to experts at BlackFriday.com, there are two categories where you might be better off waiting for bigger discounts during November’s Black Friday events: TVs and computers. They suggest holding off on buying a TV, laptop or other computers until next month, when there may be bigger discounts.