People shop on Amazon because it’s simple. You browse around for something you like, click, and watch that thing arrive at your door in a few days.
If you want, though, it’s totally possible to get more out of the site. In fact, doing so is as easy as downloading a few browser extensions.
We’ve rounded up a few of the most convenient ones below. They’re all free to use, and when used right, they will all help you take greater control of your shopping habits.
These are two of many tools that will monitor a product's price history over time.
The Camelizer (Chrome, Firefox) comes from Camelcamelcamel, which we've highlighted before, and is altogether fast and straightforward. Click the button while you're on a product's page, and a simple chart of that product's price changes quickly loads on top.
It also makes it easier to create price watches -- if you want to know when something is, say, $50 off, you can set that parameter on the page, then receive an email, Twitter, or Facebook notification when it's live. Having these on-hand is an easy way to make sure you're paying something close to the lowest price possible.
Honey scours sites for coupons you can use, and automatically presents lower prices for a given product.
Honey (Chrome, Firefox) works for many other retailers that aren't Amazon, but it still saves you the trouble of digging through product pages to find limited-time discounts (and then entering those codes manually).
With Amazon, though, the extension recently added a button to product pages that will show you when a third-party Amazon seller has a better deal available. It even takes taxes and shipping fees into account. You'll still want to make sure that seller is trustworthy, but it can't hurt to know those deals are available in the first place.
Amazon Assistant is the site's official browser extension, and makes it simple to add things to your wish list.
This works for several retailers, not just Amazon -- there's nothing stopping you from adding a TV from Best Buy, for example. The extension (Chrome, Firefox) will then see if it has any matching products available on Amazon itself, just in case you want to get the most from your Prime subscription.
And if you just want to quickly see what Amazon's promoting for its 'Deal of the Day,' it shows those as well.
If something has a high user rating, it's generally safe to buy. Spend long enough reading those reviews, though, and it won't be hard to find some sketchiness. Between dummy accounts and people who 'received a product in exchange for (their) honest review,' several companies, particularly smaller ones, are not above inflating ratings to move units.
Fakespot (Chrome, Firefox) aims to counteract that. It analyses the reviews for a given product, and the profiles of the people writing them, then gives a grade on their overall trustworthiness. It's not perfect -- good things can still have fake reviews -- but it doesn't hurt to keep in mind, and it's certainly easier than scraping through mountains of poor grammar yourself.
This isn't the only tool like this. ReviewMeta (Chrome, Firefox) works similarly, but goes a little more in-depth, breaking the reviews down by things like unverified purchases and how many reviewers have only recommended products from a particular brand.
You know the big chart of details at the bottom of every Amazon listing? DS Amazon Quick View (Chrome) takes that information and makes it viewable just by hovering over a product's image.
If you're looking up laptops, for instance, you can check the basic specs of every device in your search results without clicking back and forth or opening a bunch of tabs. It will also show you how popular a certain product is, and whether or not Amazon (or a trusted third-party) is actually selling it.
If you like the idea of being a good person, Smile Always ensures a piece of your purchase always goes to charity.
Amazon doesn't exactly broadcast this, but its AmazonSmile program automatically donates 0.5% of select purchases you make through the site to a charity of your choice. You don't have to pay anything extra -- you just buy what you already were going to buy, and money goes to the American Red Cross, ASPCA, or one of a few others.
To enable it, though, you have to use 'smile.amazon.com,' instead of the usual URL. Smile Always here (Chrome, Firefox) simply routes you there by default. You should still try to donate directly, but something's better than nothing.
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