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Kip Tips

Best Things to Buy on Amazon Prime Day 2016

Deals can be found on everything from toys to televisions during the July 12 members-only sale.

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For the second year in a row, Amazon.com is holding Amazon Prime Day, a marathon shopping-fest aimed exclusively at Prime members. The company says it will offer more than 100,000 deals beginning July 12 at midnight Pacific time (3 a.m. on the East Coast). If you aren’t a Prime member, you can sign up for a 30-day trial membership, which will grant you access to the Prime Day sales.

SEE ALSO: 9 Worst Things to Buy Online

“Take it for test run and see if you actually think it’s worth paying for the full year’s subscription,” says Benjamin Glaser of DealNews.com. If you don’t think so, be sure to cancel the trial membership before 30 days to avoid being charged $99.

According to Amazon, the biggest sellers in the U.S. on Amazon Prime Day 2015 were toys, phone cases and pet supplies. Yet while the online retailer certainly recorded hefty orders last year, some shoppers complained that the best deals sold out too quickly. Other shoppers criticized the selection, likening it more to a garage sale than Black Friday in July. Griping on social media generated the hashtag #PrimeDayFail.

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We asked shopping experts for advice on what to look for during Amazon Prime Day 2016. One immediate recommendation was not to wait until July 12 to start shopping. Amazon featured discounts on selected items ahead of the big day. Tempting daily deals we saw included a Blendtex Total Blender for $279.99 (30% off the regular price) and a 28-piece Lenox set of dinnerware for $169.99 (70% off).

A letter posted on an online forum for Amazon sellers indicated that prices on Prime Day merchandise must be at least 20% lower than recent sale prices. “This is great for consumers because many retailers typically discount items after the holidays to move excess inventory,” says Kerry Sherin of Offers.com. “If the letter is true, consumers may even see some items at better prices than Black Friday.”

What to buy

The experts we talked with expect big discounts on video games, toys, computing devices, GoPro bundles and Fitbits. TVs will be another item to target. According to Amazon, the deal inventory on televisions will be double what it was last year on Black Friday and Cyber Monday combined.

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“We expect to see more deals for big-screen TVs (50 inches and up) this year, (an area) where prices have already dropped more significantly this summer than in the past,” says Brent Shelton of FatWallet.com. Shelton also recommends keeping an eye out for good deals on collectibles (celebrity, sports, Star Wars, and so on), health and beauty products, and music recording equipment.

Amazon is also expected to push its own merchandise on Prime Day. “Amazon products will be at some of their lowest prices,” says Shelton, “and some will sell out of stock quickly.” In particular, look for deals on Amazon’s Fire TV, Fire TV Stick, Echo, Kindle e-readers and Fire HD tablets. Include bundled Amazon gift cards in that mix, too.

Don’t be surprised to see special doorbuster deals – popular items deeply discounted but in limited supply -- aimed at luring new Primers. Sure, Amazon wants to sell lots of stuff on Prime Day…but it’s just one day. What it really wants is to sign up lots of new Prime members.

“[Prime membership] is a huge part of Amazon’s business model,” says Glaser of DealNews.com. “Amazon Prime members spend much more money than non-members and shop on Amazon much more frequently. Which, if you do it intelligently, isn’t necessarily a bad thing. There’s a lot of perks to Amazon Prime other than the two-day shipping.” (See our story 5 Surprising Perks of Amazon Prime for more.)

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One final word of advice: If you’re not a fan of Amazon and don’t want to join Prime, hang tight. “There are dozens of merchants joining the mid-July sales battle that may be able to offer similar or better deals to what you see on Prime Day,” says Sherin of Offers.com. “Just as Prime Day comes to end, many retailers will be boasting sales over the weekend of July 15.” Walmart, for one, is offering free shipping on online orders with no minimum to compete with Prime Day.

SEE ALSO: 8 Reasons to Shop at Walmart (Even If You Hate Walmart)