Bigger Than Black Friday? How to Make the Most of Amazon Prime Day

amazon prime day
Lars Plougmann under Creative Commons

Amazon turns 20 next week, and it’s celebrating with huge deals.

Set an alarm for Amazon Prime Day, which starts at midnight Pacific time on Wednesday, July 15. Amazon Prime Customers will be treated to new deals every few minutes, and every product category is eligible to appear in the Prime Day spotlight.

Not a Prime member? You can still get in on this celebration. Sign up for a free 30-day Prime trial before July 15 to reap the benefits all day on Wednesday.

Customers in the U.S., Canada, U.K., Spain, Italy, Germany, France, Austria and Japan will be the lucky recipients of Amazon’s festivities, according to The Verge. Deals will be announced as Deals of the Day (which do indeed last all day) and Lightning Deals, which are more time-sensitive and have limited supply.

“Prime Day is a one-day only event filled with more deals than Black Friday, exclusively for Prime members around the globe,” Vice President of Amazon Prime Greg Greeley said in a statement.

So how can you make the most of Amazon Prime Day? Before we get into some tips and tricks, here’s a quick explainer of how Prime works, in case you’re signing up for the first time.

What’s All the Amazon Prime Hoopla?

People who have Amazon Prime really love Amazon Prime. For just $99 a year (less if you can grab an Amazon Student subscription or share your account with a family member), you get two-day delivery on any item for sale on that features a “Prime” icon — all 20 million of them. You can get a giant flatscreen TV or 20 pounds of cat litter shipped for free, in two days. (You see where we’re going with this: clearly, you should order the heavy stuff as soon as you get your Prime account.)

Prime members usually cover their subscription costs after just a few orders, and Rich McCormick of The Verge notes that Prime customers spend more than double the average Amazon customer each year. It’s hard to beat the simplicity of getting items dropped at your door with the click of a button; Amazon Prime members likely reduce their shopping needs at local retailers because of the ease of shopping from home.

How Amazon Prime Goes Beyond Free Shipping

Amazon Prime is more than just free shipping. The company now offers same-day delivery in 14 American cities, meaning you can get just about anything your mind can conceive delivered to your door within a few hours. Delivery prices are based on order amount, and start at $5.99 per order under $35 for Prime members.

But same-day delivery is an extra you have to pay for. Most of Prime’s other components are included in your initial membership.

For music lovers, there’s Prime Streaming Music, which offers curated playlists and access to plenty of tunes. It’s also a place to store music you’ve already purchased through Amazon.

If you need a place to stash your photos, Prime members can store unlimited photos on Amazon Cloud Storage. Bookworms can tap into the Kindle Owners’ Lending Library to borrow popular Kindle titles for free.

And Amazon Prime Streaming Video has thousands of movies and TV shows. It’s no Netflix, but it’s worth checking Amazon’s growing selection. Pro tip: With Prime, you can stream most of HBO’s archive of original series.

Amazon wants to be top dog in your home, whether it’s arriving on your doorstep or streaming through your speakers. Prime Day is a big party, sure, but it’s also a way to introduce hundreds of thousands more potential customers to all Amazon offers.

How to Celebrate Amazon Prime Day

Here’s how to max out on this single day of amazing deals.

Get a Trial Membership

Remember, if you don’t already have an Amazon Prime account, don’t shell out $99 just for Prime Day. Instead, sign up for a free 30-day Prime membership trial and take part in Prime day before you commit to the service.

Make a Shopping List

Just because something is half-off with free shipping doesn’t mean you need it.

If you’re hoping to purchase specific items or upgrade what you already have at home, write it down. Check back with this list during Prime Day to make sure you have good spending decisions in your cart instead of a bunch of stuff you’ll regret in a week.

Submit Your #PrimeLiving Photos

Amazon invites Prime fans to try out Prime Photos with a big incentive: the chance to win a $10,000 Amazon gift card.

Sign into your Prime Photos and submit a photo that shows why you love Amazon Prime. Do it before July 15 — contestants will be featured daily on Amazon social media before the grand prize winner is chosen for “the image that most creatively captures a happy moment of #PrimeLiving.” Each country will have its own contest winner.

Listen to Prime Music

Play any song through Prime Music on July 15 and you’ll be entered for a chance to win up to $25,000 in Amazon gift cards. While the grand prize winner will receive $25,000 to spend on Amazon, there are a few chances to win. Take a look lower in the prize ranks: Five fourth-prize winners will receive $5,000 in gift cards, and five fifth-prize winners will each get $1,000 to spend on Amazon.

Take a Quiz

The “What’s Your Prime Personality?” quiz is fun, quick, and could win you $2,000 in Amazon gift cards.

Follow Amazon on Social Media

The company has been posting frequent updates on Twitter and Facebook about Prime Day and related contests, so stay tuned on Prime Day to catch any extra-special or surprise deals.

Your Turn: How do you plan to take advantage of Amazon Prime Day?

Disclosure: We have a serious Taco Bell addiction around here. The affiliate links in this post help us order off the dollar menu. Thanks for your support!

Lisa Rowan is a writer, editor and podcaster living in Washington, DC. She is car-free and loves ordering heavy stuff with her Prime account.

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