(Pocket-lint) - Everyone shops on Amazon. But not everyone actually digs around and has a play with all the site's hidden features and tools.
From a showroom that lets you virtually mix and match the furniture you want to buy, to digital coupons you can clip, there are loads of secret tips and tricks we've found that could save you money and totally change how you use Amazon.
Best Amazon tips and tricks
Amazon Prime membership
It feels silly to start off with this, because it's so obvious, but you really should join Amazon Prime if you want to master Amazon. A large chunk of the tips and tricks we suggest below only work if you're a member. It's a paid subscription that, for an annual or monthly fee, gives access to a number of Amazon services and enhancements.
Prime discounts for EBT and Medicaid cardholders
If you want to become an Amazon Prime member and have a valid EBT or Medicaid card in the US, you can join at the discounted price of $5.99 per month, rather than $12.99 a month. If you're eligible, you can join from here.
Prime discounts for students
If you want to become an Amazon Prime member and are enrolled in a college or university, join Prime Student. As a member, you'll get a sixth-month free trial that includes the following perks free two-day shipping on eligible purchases, Prime Video, and student-only offers and discounts. Once your trial ends, you can sign up for Amazon Prime at 50 per cent off. This will be valid for four years or until you graduate.
Share your Prime membership
Amazon allows you to add up to four other individuals to your Prime account so they can share your shipping benefits, but they need to be members of your household. To set it up, go to the Amazon Household website and click Add Adult/Teen/Child. You'll need their email address used on their Amazon accounts. The process also requires the adults to share credit or debit card information.
Part of Prime Household, Amazon Teen gives kids ages 13 to 17 the freedom to shop, but parents can approve their purchases before it's charged.
Want to easily browse the most discounted items on Amazon? Check out Amazon Outlet. It primarily aggregates overstocked and clearance items for sale on Amazon, but across every category you can imagine. These deals can save you up to 80 per cent!
Amazon Warehouse is similar to Amazon Outlet, but it shows big discounts on open-box and refurbished products - mostly tech and gadgets. Keep in mind these items can be used, opened, or damaged. But all items are listed by quality, including very good, acceptable, and like new.
Amazon Family is a hub for Prime members. It has deals on household and parenting items. But it also offers age-based product recommendations and regular sales on baby products. You get 20 per cent off diaper subscriptions and 15 per cent off remaining baby registry items.
Find deals on Amazon
Amazon's best deals for new products are found in the "Today's Deals" link on the top of any Amazon page. The section "Gold Box Deals of the Day" has new deals every day, as well as "Lightning Deals", which are limited time and sometimes end in minutes. To stay on top of everything, use Amazon's app, where you can view many deals 24 hours in advance and sign up for alerts.
You can even let the deals come to you via Amazon's daily deals email.
Watch deals on Amazon
When you see deals you like, click Watch this deal to save them. Then, go here to see deals you're watching.
Track and compares prices
- Bookmark this price tracker site. Camelcamelcamel.com monitors nearly every product on Amazon, can show you which are most discounted on any given day, show you the price history for a listing, and alert you when the price drops on items you want.
- Also try the site PriceGrabber or the extension PriceBlink, both which let you quickly check to see if an item is cheaper elsewhere.
- There's also WikiBuy, a site and an extension. It lets you earn cash back, apply promo codes, and watch for items to go on sale.
- Keepa is a browser extension that works just like Camelcamelcamel, but instead embeds the price history right onto the Amazon listing page. It has a mobile app version too.
- OnlinePriceAlert will email you when the item you want hits a specific price point you're willing to pay.
Amazon serves up coupons. There's actually an entire section on Amazon that's dedicated to coupons. You can find coupons for electronics, pet supplies, toys, and other items. No scissors or physical coupons required. To get started with Amazon coupons, go to Amazon.com, then click on the link at the top for "Today's Deals." In the menu of sub items, click on "Coupons."
Find promo codes
We already mentioned Wikibuy as a discount code aggregator extension you should try, but an alternative to that is Honey. It will automatically find coupons for you and apply them at checkout. Just install the extension and it will do everything.
Subscribe and Save
On many household and grocery items, Amazon gives you the option to "subscribe" and offers a discounted price if you do so. This is part of the retailer's Subscribe and Save program, where you receive regular shipments of the item for as much as 15 per cent off the regular price.
Turn loose change into gift cards for free
You can add spare coins in your purse to an Amazon gift card using a Coinstar kiosk. It's absolutely free, waving the 11.9 per cent service charge typically associated with cash exchanges. Choose an Amazon gift card to skip the fee and receive an eGift Card code you can use instantly.
Earn free Amazon Gift Cards
There are many rewards and survey sites that let you do online tasks to earn points redeemable for Amazon gift cards. For instance, there's Swagbucks, which is free to join and lets you complete surveys to earn points. There's also MyPoints and i-Say.
Amazon Assistant is an extension for Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer, Safari, and Microsoft Edge. It's free and easy to install. With it, you can watch for product comparisons that save time and money, access shortcuts to popular Amazon hubs right in your browser, and get notified when deals that you're watching go live with desktop notifications. It also lets you get information about orders and deliveries.
Monthly payment plans on items
Amazon lets you pay for some items over several months. This offer only applies to products sold and shipped by Amazon.com, such as the Amazon Echo, but also third-party products from other sellers. Just look for the "monthly payments" option on the product detail page.
- Go here to see monthly payment-eligible items.
- Read the fine print on the monthly payment plans here.
Trade in for cash
You can trade in your old devices, including phones, tablets, cameras, and more, as well as video games, old books, and textbooks, in exchange for an Amazon gift card. The items must be in decent condition and the shipping is even included!
Smile for Charity
Want to give a bit to charity while you shop? Then use AmazonSmile. First, bookmark smile.amazon.com, and be sure to always shop from there. On the desktop, you can use the AmazonSmile 1Button for Chrome or Amazon Smile! for Firefox browser extensions to be reminded to use Smile. Then, pick a charity - over a million available - and when you buy eligible products, 0.5 per cent will go to your charity.
Shop with Alexa
Using Amazon Alexa via an Amazon Echo speaker or the main Amazon app, you can order or re-order any items. Just say "Alexa, order [product name]." Be sure to set up a confirmation code in your Alexa app to prevent accidental orders. You can also use Alexa shopping skills to browse deals at other retailers. Also, stay tuned for more Alexa-only deals this holiday season.
Amazon Cash (or Top Up)
Amazon Cash lets you add money to your Amazon account balance. It essentially lets you apply cash toward your Amazon account balance so that you can finally have money to spend on Amazon without a bank card or a gift card hooked. Go here to get started.
Checkout and delivery
Same-day or one-hour deliveries
In over 8,000 cities, Prime members can get same-day delivery on qualifying orders over $35. Order by noon, and your package will be delivered by 9pm (seven days a week). If you order in the evening, you'll get free one-day delivery. Go here to see if you're eligible. There's also Amazon Prime Now, which offers deliveries in one to two hours. Enter your ZIP code to see if this option is available to you.
Late delivery reimbursement
If you buy something that qualifies for free shipping with Prime, but it doesn’t arrive on time, you can get a one-month extension of your membership. If you don’t have Prime, Amazon will refund the shipping costs. To inquire, go to Contact Amazon > select "An Order I Placed" > select your order > select Problem with an order > Shipping or delivery issues > Shipment is late.
All Prime members should see a new Amazon Day option when they checkout and pick their shipping option. The idea is, they can set any day of the week as their delivery day. So, if you select Friday, all the items you bought during the week will arrive on your designated "Amazon Day", or Friday. That day will be your default unless you change it at checkout. Weekend deliveries are available in some areas.
If you got a location near you with one, select Amazon Locker for pickup (or returns) at checkout. These are secure, self-service kiosks. There's more than 2,800 lockers are located across 70+ US cities. You'll find them at places like Whole Foods Markets and convenience stores.
An alternative to Amazon Locker is Amazon Key, which allows delivery people to enter your car, garage, or home when dropping off packages.
Cards, rewards, and points
Shopping with rewards points
Amazon Credit Builder
Amazon partnered with Synchrony Financial to launch Amazon Credit Builder so that it can lend to US shoppers with either bad credit or no credit history. It includes a card with 5 per cent cash back on purchases. It also offers tips on how to build credit. To start, Synchrony is issuing what are known as “secured” credit cards - where people can deposit $200, for instance, and have a $200 credit limit.
If you don't get approved for a typical Amazon credit card, you'll be prompted to apply. But the new card application is also available next to the other Amazon cards. To apply directly, go to Apply for Amazon Credit Builder > click Apply Now > and follow the on-screen instructions.
No-rush shipping credits
Prime members can get a little extra something if they choose free no-rush shipping at checkout (instead of the two-day option). Your package will usually arrive within five days, and you will get credits applied to your account to use for future purchases.
Miscellaneous tools and features
Amazon has launched a new section of its site. It appears to be a home shopping channel of sorts, reminiscent of QVC or HSN. From what we can tell, the site is used to promote products on Amazon.com. If you need to learn more about an item, we suggest looking at Amazon Live.
Amazon AR View
Amazon's app offers an AR View feature. It lets you browse through thousands of items listed on Amazon - things like home decor, electronics, office products, toys, and games - and place them in your home or wherever you want to see them. Using the feature, you can overlay, resize, and rotate the item to see how it will look and fit in real life. It's free to use, too.
Showroom is another free AR feature in the Amazon website and app that lets you place furniture items into a virtual room and see how well they fit together. You can adjust the look of the flooring and walls to mirror your own living room and easily change out items. Third-party items include couches, chairs, tables, lamps, rugs, and art. You can also try out Amazon's own Rivet and Stone and Beam brands.
Remember the Echo Look? It's one of Amazon's lesser-known Echo devices. Its sole purpose is to suggest new clothes for you to buy. It uses a "Style Check service" that combines machine learning algorithms with advice from "fashion specialists" to give you style advice. Now, Amazon has a newer product, called StyleSnap, that - like the Echo Look - uses AI to make fashion recommendations.
You simply click on the camera icon in the corner of the Alexa app and take a photo of an outfit you'd like to wear. Amazon will then serve up similar clothing items. Using deep-learning technology, StyleSnap can tell the difference between, say, a flare dress or a slip dress. The feature, which Amazon told us is now live in the Alexa app for iOS and Android, will also consider things like brand, price, and customer reviews.
Whole Foods benefits
Whole Foods is now owned by Amazon, and so it's an Amazon Prime perk: You can get 10 per cent off items, plus other weekly discounts and benefits such as two-hour deliveries via Prime Now and 5 per cent back on purchases via the Amazon Prime Rewards Visa Card. Download the Whole Foods Market app to get started saving. Also, try asking Alexa, "What are my Whole Foods deals?"
AmazonFresh was the original name for Amazon's grocery delivery and pickup service in select cities. Prime members can get the benefits of AmazonFresh for an additional monthly membership fee of $14.99. Go here to see if delivery or pickup is available in your area.
Amazon Prime Gaming
Previously a part of the Amazon Twitch Prime benefits, Amazon Prime Gaming offers access to free games for download every month as well as exclusive in-game content and loot and no extra cost. In addition, you get a free Twitch channel subscription each month, exclusive emoticons, expanded chat colour options and extended storage of your broadcasts.
Amazon Prime Book Box
Amazon offers Prime Book Box, a monthly children's book subscription service, to Prime members. If you subscribe, you will receive (delivered to your door) a box with four board books or two hardcover picture books or novels. Amazon said you'll save up to 40 per cent off the list price of these books. This service costs $22.99 a month.
Amazon Prime Wardrobe
Amazon Prime Wardrobe lets you try on clothes before you buy." Prime Wardrobe is considered a new Prime benefit, so subscribe to Amazon Prime to take advantage of the service. Once you do, you can order clothes, shoes, and accessories - with no upfront charge - and you get seven days to test them out. You then use the provided label to return them.
Amazon photo printing
Amazon will print your photos for you! Whether you want cards, wall decor, mugs, photo books, calendars, or prints. It's all printed on thick paper, in rich colour, and in the US. Better yet, place your order through Amazon Prime, and you'll get free shipping.