Founded in 1994, Amazon.com has steadily grown into one of the most popular online retailers in the world. In 2012, Amazon hit $61 billion in sales, according to InternetRetailer.com's Top 500 list. As the company continues to grow, consumers have looked far and wide to score significant deals on the website. Here are five of the best ways to save money on Amazon purchases:
Subscribe & Save program. If you regularly buy household items such as diapers, shampoo and laundry soap from Amazon, consider signing up for the website's free Subscribe & Save program. The benefits include discounts of up to 15 percent off when you buy at least five products on a monthly delivery schedule. The more items you have scheduled for delivery, the bigger your discount. The best part is you'll get free shipping on every Subscribe & Save order. There are no upfront charges, and you pay only when the item is shipped. You can also cancel your subscription at any time.
Gold Box Deals. At the top of the Amazon homepage, click on the link to "Today's Deals," and you'll see the Amazon Gold Box Deals - hand-picked daily offers featuring products from popular categories such as electronics, tools and sporting goods. The deals are time-sensitive and allow a certain number of redemptions before they expire. You can also sign up for the daily deals to be sent directly to your email inbox.
Use price fluctuations to your advantage. Based on supply and demand, Amazon changes the price of many products on a daily (sometimes hourly) basis. Use this to your advantage by adding products you are interested in to your cart by clicking on the "save for later" link. By doing this, you can track price changes directly through your virtual shopping cart. This strategy can save you a substantial amount of money on big-ticket items like kitchen appliances.
Amazon.com outlet. A number of shoppers aren't aware that Amazon has a virtual outlet. (This may be because shoppers can't easily find a link to it on the website's homepage.) The company uses the outlet to unload older inventory to make room for new products and passes the savings along to you. Find savings of up to 70 percent off shopping categories such as electronics, jewelry and apparel. So, how do you find it? Simply Google "Amazon.com Outlet."
Consider prime membership. If you're a frequent Amazon shopper and don't have an Amazon Prime membership, you're spoiling money on shipping costs. For a $79 annual fee, you receive unlimited free two-day shipping, one free Kindle book borrow per month and free streaming of thousands of TV shows and movies. Shipping costs per order average around $4, so you only have to make two purchases a month to make the membership worth the annual fee.
Kyle James is the owner of the coupon website Rather-Be-Shopping.com. Since 2001, his website has been helping consumers save money at hundreds of stores such as Amazon.com, Lands' End, Wal-Mart, Macy's and Target.