Now that Amazon has a successful yet slightly rocky Prime Day 2018 under its belt, they may have an idea of exactly how huge their customer base is. It’s so big that it crashed the site in the first hour of Prime Day’s launch. Amazon reported that their sales in the first hour still surpassed their first-hour sales on Prime Day 2017 despite the glitches. The rise in online sales should not be entirely surprising, since back in 2016 Americans spent $396 billion while online shopping and they’re predicted to spend an incredible $684 billion by 2020. Just the example from Amazon shows how big online sales have gotten.

Amazon isn’t the only retailer fighting for a piece of the growing e-commerce pie; large retailers like Newegg, Walmart, and Home Depot also launched big sales on July 16 in an attempt to ride the spending wave from Prime Day hype. If you’re one of the many consumers spending money on online purchases and getting excited about the huge sales lately, you may be feeling overwhelmed by all the vying for your business. If you’re venturing into the world of online sales or online shopping in general, take some helpful tips along that let you shop smart.

Don’t fall for inflated “sale” prices.

A promising sale price during a huge sales event may actually be higher than the product’s sale price on a normal day two weeks ago. Use sites like camelcamelcamel that track Amazon prices over time to see if you are truly getting a good deal. For comparing prices across sites and checking price histories, try a browser plug-in like Honey.

Have an idea of what you want before going in.

Sales are tempting. Don’t buy that expensive gaming laptop just because it’s 60% off if you don’t actually need a gaming laptop. Research what items may be going on sale, and try to stick to a list of wanted items or even just a budget before diving in.

Stock up on non-perishables that you use a ton.

While a lot of people tend to focus on the exciting tech and prestige items that go on sale during big events, remember to think practically as well. Amazon, for example, has a large selection of foods and household items. Use a sale as an opportunity to cheaply stock up on batteries, snacks, or toiletries that you use often.

Creatively hop into “private” sales.

Prime Day is technically only for Amazon Prime subscribers. You can sneakily circumvent this by utilizing one of many ways to get a free trial period, or just seeing if a family member or friend will allow you to borrow access through their account. I won’t tell.

When shopping at a retailer’s online store, keep a look out for in-store deals.

Often when a retailer’s online store has a large sale, their brick-and-mortar spaces have some unique and satisfying sales going on as well. Even Amazon extends its savings to brick-and-mortars that they own, such as Whole Foods.

Online shopping does not need to feel overwhelming. Have a plan and be vigilant for the real “best deals,” then you can sit back and enjoy the feeling of big retailers fighting for your attention.

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