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Prime Day: Are You Really Saving Money?

online shopping
gregorylee on Deposit Photos

For decades, shoppers have been accustomed to having only one day in the year for crazy discounts on products: Black Friday. Then, the internet came around, and e-commerce stores needed to compete with local retail stores. So, they created Cyber Monday, which is the Monday after Black Friday. But Amazon — being Amazon — thought this wasn’t enough, so to boost sales, they decided to have their own little summer Black Friday. In 2015, Amazon started Prime Day. To compete, other retail stores such as Walmart, Kohl’s, Target and Best Buy started having their own summer sales.  

“Wow!! That’s great —having multiple major sale days throughout the year! Let’s get out the credit cards (cha-ching)!!” 

Wait — Before you go spending your hard-earned money, ask yourself, “Am I really saving money?”

Deceptive pricing

Here is some information that retailers don’t want customers to know: Some discounted claims are an illusion, including “going out of business,” marketing for one of the big annual shopping days, or sales in general. Retail and e-commerce stores will jack up the prices and then discount the new, higher price. So, that 60% off is not actually 60% off its normal price. These fictitious prices will sometimes cost you more than the product is actually worth, and sometimes, it realistically might be only 10% to 20% off.

Amazon’s role in all of this.

Some stores use these tactics more often than others, and some don’t do it at all. So, this situation is dependent on the company. Amazon might not even need to play this dirty game because it doesn’t make its money through e-commerce but through web services and cloud computing. Ultimately, there is no way to prove a company is manipulating prices without tracking its prices. So, for you to accurately know if Amazon is doing this or not, you would need to know the initial price before the big sale. 

What can you do about it?

There isn’t much you can do. Businesses don’t plan on stopping this strategy anytime soon because it works. The only way to really avoid this is by not shopping at all, which doesn’t solve the problem of you wanting that nice top, cute shoes and awesome video game. You can try looking at different websites and stores to see if you can find the same product for cheaper. 

On these big shopping days, such as Prime Day and Black Friday, you probably will have some savings. Just keep in mind that the savings might not be as big as you are expecting. Hopefully, you aren’t paying the same price or more.

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