- You should make sure you’re getting the best value when you’re shopping for tech products on Amazon.
- We asked experts for their best advice when it comes to tech shopping on Amazon.
- They explained what to make of fake reviews, how to see if you’re getting the best deal, and how to unlock little-known savings.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
Gone are the days when you could run down to the nearest computer superstore to make a quick purchase.
With a few exceptions – like Best Buy and some regional chains like Fry’s – such stores don’t exist anymore, staked through the heart by Amazon’s convenience and pricing.
And let’s be serious: Despite the presence of other sites, most of your tech gadget shopping is probably at Amazon.
But are you making the most of Amazon when it comes to your tech shopping? We spoke to experts who gave us their best advice for getting the most value out of Amazon’s tech section.
Here are nine tips to keep in mind when you’re shopping for tech gadgets on Amazon.
Amazon is chock full of deals if you know where to look for them
Amazon’s usual prices are generally pretty competitive, but you can often do better with a little homework.
Most major tech blogs advise their readers about good Amazon deals when they see them, for example, so it pays to scan those sites, especially when you are thinking about making a purchase.
“Typically, these are lightning deals and only available for a day or less, so you have to be ready to act fast,” Derek Hales, editor of home product site ModernCastle.com, told Business Insider.
And don’t forget that Amazon itself curates daily deals in its Gold Box.
Keep on eye on price fluctuations
“Amazon prices fluctuate frequently,” Rick Broida, CNET’s Cheapskate writer, told Business Insider.
And of course, any gadget that was once on sale is likely to go on sale again. You can use a service like CamelCamelCamel or Honey to view the price history of anything on Amazon. Even better, you can automate the process: Let those sites send you an alert when there’s a price drop so you can swoop in and buy just at the right moment.
Be on guard against fake reviews
Fake reviews are a serious problem on Amazon. And it’s especially bad among tech products, where many different companies sometimes sell essentially the same gadget with different branding.
“Suppose you want to buy a dashcam,” Broida said. “There are a zillion similar or even identical dashcams out there, and sellers try to game the system by putting up fake reviews.”
Thankfully, there are tools which can help vet the reviews and detect ones that are likely fake. Fakespot and ReviewMeta will let you know the percentage of questionable reviews written for a given product, which can help you make a more informed decision.
“Just because a product has fake reviews, that doesn’t mean it’s a bad product,” Broida said.
If a product has hundreds of reviews, for examples, then fake ones are less worrisome. But if a product has just a few dozen reviews, then a bunch of fakes might give you pause.
Learn how to make the most of legitimate reviews
Moreover, not all legitimate reviews are equally useful.
Hales says: “Initially, I look at all of the one-star reviews to try and understand if there are legitimate problems with the product. Many times, especially with tech products, less savvy consumers may slam the product with a one-star review because of factors unrelated to the product’s performance of specs.”
In other words, frustrated customers may downgrade a product because of shipping or delivery issues, or because they tried using the product in a way it wasn’t designed to work. None of those factors should affect your decision to buy the product, so you can disregard some of the lowest rated reviews. And no matter that a one-star review says, it’s often more illuminating than scanning just the 5-star reviews, which may gloss over actual concerns.
Get a discount on used and returned electronics from Amazon Warehouse
Amazon Warehouse is where you can find deep discounts on returned, used, and refurbished products (and products with packaging that was damaged in the warehouse). Hales says not to worry about most of these resealed packages.
“Typically, they are still in great shape. The only difference is that it was returned by another Amazon shopper,” he said.
You can win free stuff on Amazon
Perhaps one of Amazon’s best-kept secrets, Amazon runs thousands of giveaways each and every week. But good luck finding it on the usual site – you need to bookmark the special Amazon Giveaway page.
There are a lot of tech products on these pages every day, and you can potentially win one instantly with just a click. Even if you don’t win (and honestly, don’t expect to win often), just entering the giveaway guarantees you a discount on purchase, sometimes as high as 40%.
Don’t worry about warranties
Should you spend a lot of time trying to assess the warranty of tech products for sale on Amazon? Broida doesn’t think so.
“I don’t pay much attention,” he told Business Insider. “Most tech products have a pretty standard one-year warranty.”
Keep in mind, though, that refurbished products usually have a much more abbreviated 90-day warranty. Choose one of those products with care.
Be aware of retailer-specific products
Sometimes, tech companies sell many variations of a model, each one for a specific retailer. This allows them to offer specific features in different models, but often, the result is that it becomes very difficult to directly compare features and prices between different retailers.
Be aware of this trick and try to compare against the original model – you may need to go to the manufacturer’s own web site to make sense of the original price and features.
Find a gadget cheaper elsewhere
Amazon isn’t the only site on the internet, and despite the lure of Amazon Prime’s free shipping and other perks, it can pay to look elsewhere for no other reason than to price compare. In the last couple of years, sites like BestBuy.com and Walmart.com have aggressively tried to undercut Amazon, so it’s a good idea to not limit yourself to one site.
A browser plugin called PriceBlink proactively looks for better deals when you shop on Amazon, and it will automatically alert you in a notification bar at the top of the screen if it finds the item you’re looking at cheaper elsewhere.
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