The cat is out of the bag. This year, Amazon Prime Day — one of the biggest sales events of the year, rivaling Black Friday in scale and depth of price cuts – is July 15 and July 16, running for a full 48 hours. Amazon has promised over a million special offers for Amazon Prime members, and shoppers all over the world are seizing the deals.
But not all the bargains this month are on Amazon. Other retailers, including eBay, Target, and Walmart, are holding their own competing sales to attract a share of the hordes of online shoppers. Depending on what you need to buy, the price on one of these rival sites could be better than what Amazon has to offer.
Here’s what you need to know to find the best mid-July deals across all sites, not just Amazon.
Retailers Cutting Prices on Amazon Prime Day
The e-tail site eBay was the first retailer to challenge Amazon for Prime Day shopping traffic. As soon as Amazon revealed when Prime Day would be, eBay countered by announcing a “Crash Sale” on July 15, the first day of Prime Day. This term is a crafty pun that works on two levels. First, it implies that eBay is “crashing” Amazon’s party, and second, it takes a sly dig at the other retailer over the fact that its servers crashed on Prime Day last year.
Ebay promises “doorbuster savings” of more than 50% on several top brands, including Apple, LG, Samsung, Garmin, and KitchenAid. On top of that, eBay pledges to release a new batch of “too-good-to-be-true deals” if Amazon’s servers crash again this year.
Unlike Amazon, however, eBay didn’t wait until July 15 to launch its bargains. The Crash Sale is just the climax of a full three weeks of sales in July. The site kicked off the savings event with a Fourth of July sale during the first week of the month, with savings of up to 85% off on a wide assortment of products, including kitchen appliances, cookware, camping gear, outdoor toys, and robotic vacuums.
The sales continue with “Hot Deals for Hot Days” running from July 8 through July 22. During this period, eBay promises new deals every day, with up to 80% off on electronics, appliances, and smart home devices. So if you’re in the market for this kind of product, you have some time after Prime Day to keep shopping.
Target was also quick to respond to Amazon’s news by announcing its own Target Deal Days event, which will run over both days of Prime Day. The retailer promises discounts on “hundreds of thousands of items,” some which rarely go on sale. So far, we’ve seen KitchenAid Professional 5 Quart Mixers priced at $280 ($120 off the regular price) and Google Home Smart Speakers at two for $100. And, as the retailer teasingly notes, unlike Prime Day’s sales, there’s “no membership required” to take advantage of these deals.
Target also stresses that when you shop its sale, you won’t need to wait for your purchases to arrive. Target customers – or “guests,” as the retailer calls them – have a wide range of options for pickup and delivery, including same-day delivery and pickup within one hour. If you place a Drive Up order from the Target app, you won’t even need to leave your car to pick up your items; a Target employee will bring them right out to the parking lot for you.
Of course, if you don’t mind waiting a while for your purchases, you can take advantage of Target’s free shipping. It’s available for any purchase of $35 or more, or for an order of any size placed with the Target REDcard credit card or debit card. And, as always, REDcard users can also get an extra 5% off on all their Target purchases during the sale.
Amazon’s biggest retail competitor, Walmart, quickly jumped into the Prime Day fray as well. In fact, it did Amazon one better by announcing an online sale running from July 14 through July 17 – both days of Prime Day, plus a day on either end.
Walmart isn’t offering quite as many options for shipping as Target, but its usual free shipping is available for orders over $35. Shoppers who spend this much can get free two-day shipping on select items, or even next-day shipping in select areas. Items that don’t qualify for this deal can get free shipping, but with a delivery time of three to five days.
Though these three retailers were the first to announce competing sales during Prime Day, they certainly aren’t the only ones. A report from RetailMeNot estimates that 250 retailers across the U.S. will get in on the act, up from 194 last year. The report describes Prime Day as the unofficial kickoff for back-to-school sales and the biggest driver of online sales during the whole back-to-school shopping season.
Other stores offering sales to compete with Prime Day include:
- Best Buy. Last year, Best Buy ran a two-day sale from noon on July 15 through the same time on July 17, with deals on items such as laptops, tablets, 4K Ultra HDTVs, and smart home devices. This year, Best Buy is running a 48-hour “Flash Sale.” Whatever you buy through Best Buy will come with a choice of delivery options: free in-store pickup in one hour, same-day delivery, or free shipping on orders of $35 or more.
- Dell. Computer manufacturer Dell is running its annual Black Friday in July sale from July 1 through 8am on July 15. New doorbuster deals appear at 11am every weekday, and members of Dell’s rewards program, Dell Advantage, get exclusive early access. You can save up to 60% on TV and home entertainment, up to 50% on audio equipment and gaming accessories, and up to 40% on monitors and other electronics, among other deals. The site also offers free standard delivery, free returns, and price matching.
- Macy’s. Macy’s Black Friday in July already happened and ended on July 14, just before Prime Day started. There were savings of 50% or more on a variety of items, including clothing, jewelry, luggage, and kitchenware. One particular steal was a 6-quart Instant Pot for $60 – almost exactly the same deal that was one of the biggest hits of Amazon’s Prime Day event last year. In addition, the site was offering Flash Specials that changed every day throughout the sale.
- Nordstrom. The Nordstrom Anniversary Sale officially falls on July 19 each year, but the retailer is offering early access to Nordstrom Rewards cardholders from July 12 through 18 – a period that overlaps with Prime Day. If you don’t have a Nordstrom Rewards credit card, you can apply online and get instant approval, allowing you to shop the site’s deals even before your plastic arrives. And if you apply for the card and immediately make a purchase with it, you’ll receive a $40 bonus “Note” to spend on any future purchase.
- Bed Bath & Beyond. Instead of one big blowout sale, home retailer Bed Bath & Beyond is offering a variety of sales throughout the month of July. Specific deals include 20% off Rachael Ray cookware through July 15, select Black & Decker kitchen appliances for $19.99 through July 21, and up to 50% off all patio furniture throughout the entire month.
How to Shop the Sales
With so many different sales going on, you need a strategy to find the best price for everything on your shopping list. Here are some tips for turning all these rival sales to your best advantage.
Shopping for One Item
If you’ve been waiting for a great sale to take the plunge on a big purchase, such as a major appliance or a smart TV, now’s your chance. Start by doing a bit of research to figure out exactly which brand and model you want – or, if you’re willing to be flexible, a list of brands and models you would find acceptable. Then, decide what your “action price” is – that is, how low the price would have to fall on one of these items for you to jump in and buy immediately. Knowing this ahead of time will enable you to keep a cool head as new deals pop up and avoid getting caught up in the excitement of the moment.
Once you know what you want and what you’re willing to pay for it, keep your eye on a variety of retail sites to see when one of the items on your list goes on sale. A price comparison app such as BuyVia can help with this. If you think you see a match, double-check the model number to make sure it’s the one you want.
What you do next depends on the nature of the sale you’ve found. If quantities are limited, or if the sale is only active for a brief period of time, then go ahead and jump on the bargain before it gets away. However, if you have time, check the prices on competing sites first to make sure you’re getting the best possible deal.
Pro Tip: A great way to save even more on both in-store and online purchases is to use the Ibotta app. You will earn a percentage of each purchase back into your account as a cash back reward.
Shopping for Multiple Items
If you’ve got several items on your list, that makes sale shopping a little more complicated. On one hand, shopping for multiple items improves the chances that you’ll find a bargain on at least one of them. But on the other hand, it’s much harder to track the prices of multiple products at once, increasing the odds you’ll miss out on a bargain.
There’s also a greater risk that you’ll get carried away with deal hunting and go over budget. For instance, if you find one big item slashed from $1,000 to $500, you’ve just scored a great deal. But if you find three deals like this and snap them all up, you’ve just spent $1,500, which could be more than you can really afford.
To avoid these problems, prioritize your list. Figure out which items are the most important to buy during the sale, and focus on those specific products as you shop so you won’t miss a deal. Some price comparison apps can help you with this by setting up alerts so that you learn about deals as soon as they pop up.
Also, set a total budget for your spending during the sales. Give yourself a set dollar amount to spend on all your bargains combined. Then, as you shop, keep a running tally, subtracting what you’ve already spent from your total so you’ll know how much more you can afford to spend. That way, you won’t have any unpleasant surprises when your next credit card bill arrives.
Here’s one final tip for Prime Day sales shopping: Don’t let yourself get carried away. With so many stores offering so many bargains, it’s easy to lose your head and start throwing items into your virtual cart willy-nilly, whether you actually need them or not. This risk is especially high if you’ve ever experienced a bout of compulsive spending.
To keep your bargain-grabbing impulses in check, force yourself to slow down and think rationally. Remember that just because some Prime Day deals are unbeatable, that doesn’t mean all of them are. Stick closely to your shopping list, and avoid impulse buys. And always keep your budget in mind as you shop.
What are you planning to buy during this year’s Prime Day sales? Which sites do you expect to shop?