Amazon.com is America’s biggest online marketplace and based on recent trends, it’s not going anywhere anytime soon. This year alone, CEO Jeff Bezos increased his own net worth by billions — a staggering development no matter how you slice it.
Sales on Amazon were so strong in April that they rivaled, and in some cases beat, the numbers from Black Friday 2019 for multiple days at a time. Tap or click here to see why this unprecedented spike happened.
Social distancing and avoiding brick-and-mortar stores means more people are shopping online more often. If you’re new to the online shopping game, we’re here to help. Here are five insider tips for shopping on Amazon and getting much, much more than your money’s worth.
1. Get support faster with chats and calls
Amazon hired thousands of new workers during the COVID-19 pandemic, and not all of them are in warehouses. Many are calling and chatting with customers like you to resolve support issues.
Amazon doesn’t have a specific “hotline” to call, but you can get help by requesting a teammate chat or a call. All you need to do is tap or click here to visit Amazon’s Contact Us page and click on Start Chatting Now. If you’d prefer a phone call instead, click on We Can Call You below the Start Chatting Now button.
This will take you to your recent orders, where you can select the order you need help with and the issue(s) you need resolved.
These options are generally faster than waiting on an email, and the agents are specially trained to understand Amazon’s platform inside and out. Chat support is available 24/7, which means help is never far out of reach.
2. Save money with this handy browser extension
Who doesn’t love saving money when shopping online? There are great deals all over Amazon if you look hard enough — but what if there was a way to skim a few more dollars off your total before checking out? That’s where the Honey browser extension comes in.
Honey scans the web for the best coupon codes for anything you order. When a matching coupon is found, the extension will automatically apply it to checkout. It works on tens of thousands of retail sites and can save you money on websites beyond Amazon.
The best part? It’s free to use and Honey will never sell your data.
If you shop on Amazon, you get access to an extremely useful feature: Amazon best price monitoring. This lets you track Amazon in real-time to compare prices on items between different merchants.
This feature can help you snap up hundreds of dollars in savings. You won’t even have to worry about buyer’s remorse when you find your must-have items cheaper from a different seller.
Honey is available as a free browser extension for Chrome, Firefox, Edge, Safari and Opera.
3. Have some feedback? Leave a review
Usually, your Amazon buying experience will go smoothly — but there are always exceptions to the norm. To let the seller know how you feel, you always have the option to leave a review. This has a twofold effect: You’re informing other users about a risky purchase and potentially having your issue rectified by the seller.
Here’s how you can leave a review from your Amazon account:
- Go to the product detail page for the item. If you’ve placed an order for the item, you can also go to Your Orders.
- Click Write a customer review in the Customer Reviews area.
- Choose a Star Rating. A green checkmark will show once your rating is submitted successfully.
- Add optional text, photos or videos about your purchase and click Submit.
If you do leave a review, we highly recommend including additional photos or video documentation. This helps tremendously in highlighting your authentic review from the many fakes that exist on the platform. Tap or click here to see a tool that can help you see which Amazon reviews are fake.
4. One email for shopping, one card for shopping
Ideally, you should have an email address and card that you use exclusively for online shopping and nothing else. This makes finding your receipts and shipping notifications easy and simplifies checking your card for transactions you don’t recognize.
We recommend using a credit card for shopping over a debit card. Credit cards are protected by strong laws that allow you to dispute fraudulent charges and many have add-ons like purchase protection and extended warranty coverage. Debit cards, on the other hand, are attached to your bank account.
When it comes to setting up a new email account, Gmail is one of the most popular options. That said, Google will gain information about you based on your Amazon purchasing habits and you may notice tailored ads tracking you around the web. If you’d prefer not to be tracked, you can use an encrypted service like Protonmail or Mailfence.
After you set up this account, link it to your main account and set those shopping emails to go into their own folder. Tap or click here to learn how to use Labels, Gmail’s version of folders.
5. Get familiar with Amazon’s return policy and its limits
Amazon’s return policies are, to put it mildly, better than most brick-and-mortar retail outlets. The majority of products are eligible for returns and refunds within 30 days of receipt. Depending on how long it’s been, you may only receive Amazon credit versus a cash refund.
That said, most return and refund rules only apply to items sold by Amazon or fulfilled by Amazon. Third-party sellers need not abide by all of them. Always be sure to check the name of the seller when making a purchase, and note whether or not the shipment is fulfilled by Amazon. Tap or click here to see Amazon’s full return policy.
If you want to initiate a return, here’s how to do it:
- Go to the Online Returns Center, and tap Return items.
- Find the order you want to return, and tap Return an item from this order. If you don’t see the order you’re looking for, choose another option from the See more menu, and then tap Go.
- Choose the items you want to return.
- Enter the number of items, select an option from the Reason for return menu, and then add any other information in the Comments field.
- To continue, do one of the following:
- If the item was sold by Amazon.com, select your return option.
- If the item was sold by a third-party seller, tap Submit for Approval. Some sellers may need to review your return request. After the seller reviews the request, they will provide a label or instructions on how to return your items.
- Select your preferred return shipping method. If you choose to return via Amazon Locker, you’ll be prompted to select a Locker location at this time.
- Tap Print all return labels to print the return authorization and return label.
- Put the return authorization inside of your package and attach the label to the outside.
You have a few options for shipping your package once you’ve initiated a return. In most cases, we recommend hanging on to the original box your order came in, as you can easily use it to ship it back.
To ship your return, you can use an Amazon Locker like in the instructions above, visit a retail location like Kohl’s or drop it off at the UPS Store. Check your local stores by phone to make sure they’re participating in Amazon returns at this time before continuing.
If you do not have a printer for your label at home, we recommend choosing the UPS Store as your shipping location. All you need to do is screenshot the return label image on your phone and show it to the cashier. They’ll print out the label for you and can even provide a box in some cases. Once they have your order boxed and stickered, you’re done. Easy!
Bonus: Never miss free shipping again with this ‘filler purchase’ finder
It’s easy to take the concept of free shipping for granted, especially if you’re a Prime member. Many sellers offer free Prime shipping, but not everyone does. Sometimes, you need to meet a minimum purchase price in order to qualify for any kind of free shipping — which means adding additional items to your cart.
If you don’t have the time or energy to hunt for “filler purchases,” this site can do it for you. Filleritem.com finds products for you that match the difference between your purchase and the minimum for free shipping, which will help you save significant amounts of money on delivery fees.
Just enter the amount you’re missing to qualify for free shipping and click Search. You’ll then receive a detailed list of items that fit your parameters — all organized and ranked by popularity. Hey, nobody said you had to buy a crappy filler item, did they?
However you choose to shop on Amazon, there are plenty of ways to save money and get more out of your buying experience. And for Prime members, well, the bonuses are even more numerous. Tap or click to see the top 20 hidden benefits of your Amazon account.