Tips for finding where they're hidden
Is Amazon Hiding Its Best Deals?
by Lee Gillett
Are there really hidden bargains and secret highly discounted products tucked away within Amazon that are not readily presented to you when you conduct a search on the Amazon website?
This is perhaps a serious allegation to level at such a popular website, but is there really any truth in it? In this article, we intend to find out!
What is true that not too many people who use the world's largest online store are even aware that there are many products in various departments within Amazon that are highly discounted, sometimes up to 99% off normal list price. There are a few "Amazon Discount Finder" type websites available, which make it easier to find these normally hard to uncover bargains.
For this experiment, we will be using three of them: The "Amazon Discount Finder" at TopHotDeal.com, the "Amazon Secret Discount Finder" at Netproshop.co.uk and "The Amazing Bargain Store" at AmazingBargainStore.com. All or these websites claim to be able to find Amazon's hidden bargains, but each display the results in different ways.
But before we start mining for Amazon's golden nuggets, what is their take on the whole "hidden bargains" suggestion? We asked them!
What Does Amazon Say?
We asked Amazon the following question via its online "contact us" form: "Hi - I have a bit of a strange question for you. I have heard that Amazon has "hidden" highly discounted products, which are not generally presented to you when you do a search on the Amazon website. Out of interest, is there any truth in this, and if so, what is the best way to see them?." The reply was not long in coming as follows: "Hello, I'm sorry for any misunderstanding. I'd like to confirm that we'll not hide any highly discounted products or items having promotional offers. You can view all the products and associated promotional discounts, if any on our website." So there we have it! Amazon denies the allegation.
Let's Go Bargain Hunting!
Mat's father's birthday is fast approaching and we decided that a nice watch would be great for Dad! So from the Amazon.com home page, we searched on "Men's Watch" hoping to find a specific Invicta Men's 1462 Vintage Collection yellow dial watch that we know from the Discount Finder at TopHotDeal.com was within the Amazon website somewhere and was discounted 92% down from $456.13 to just $38.87. We wanted a decent watch but naturally we wanted to get a great deal if possible. Our findings were that that specific watch did not show in the first 15 pages of the Amazon search results. Other good watches were presented to us of course but none of that quality discounted to that extent. It may have eventually shown up, but who wants to scroll down further than 15 pages of search results?
Our initial search checked through all Amazon departments, so in order to find the watch we were looking for, we carried out the same search but restricted it to the "Watches" department. Again, our watch did not show within the first 10 pages. I kept hitting "next page" and our target watch eventually showed up on page 15 of our more restricted search.
When you search in a specific department, Amazon allows you to re-arrange the results by various options, which include relevance, popularity, price (low to high and high to low), average customer review, and newest arrivals. Note that there is no option to re-arrange by percentage discount so that you could see the most discounted items first! An interesting omission perhaps?
Of course, when we searched on "Invicta Men's 1462 Vintage Collection Yellow Dial Watch," our watch appeared in the results, but as "you don't know what you don't know" we were never likely to make such a specific search. I would imagine that most searches at Amazon are very general (like "mens watch"), which in our experience means that the real bargains are unlikely to show up early in the search results.
The second search we carried out was for "anti aging cream." The product we were hoping to find was a "Premier Dead Sea Intensive Anti-Aging Cream" discounted 93% off normal list price which we found using the "Amazon Discount Finder" at Netproshop.co.uk. We eventually found the product lurking on page 9 of the Amazon search results.
The next search we conducted was perhaps the most revealing we did. We searched for "bath towels" hoping to find a set called the "Ultra Wash Bath Towel Collection" we saw in the Baby department of The Amazing Bargain Store, discounted 80% down to just $1.99. Again this product was not listed within the first 15 pages of the search results on the Amazon website. Interestingly the product didn't even show when we made a detailed search for "ultra wash bath towel collection" in Amazon's Baby department, although a more expensive set did show.
Determined to find the product via a direct search on Amazon website, we made a highly specific search of all departments for "Ultra Soft Bath Towel Collection Pure Luxury 650 gram Cotton with Rayon band." We used pretty much the full title of the exact product we were looking for, and it still wasn't displayed in the Amazon search results (although a more expensive alternative product was)! Despite the negative result of this search, the product we were looking for was within the Amazon website in the Home and Kitchen department, but the only way we could see it was to go via the link from The Amazing Bargain Store website.
It was a similar story for various others highly discounted products that we found using our trio of Amazon Discount Finders and subsequently searched for on Amazon. Depending on the exact search term we used, they either never showed in the first 15 pages of Amazon search results, or they sometimes showed up between page 5 and 15.
So What Do We Conclude?
All the products we searched for we eventually found on Amazon (apart from the towel set of course), but in many cases, it took quite some time to find them. Plus, we eventually had to resort to using an exact search term for the product we were looking for when most people would use a more generic search term (because they are usually not looking for a specific item as we were) and thus may not even see the heavily discounted items that are deep within the website.
Amazon is perhaps not "hiding" the real bargains as such (they are "hidden in plain sight"). It's just that it can take ages to unearth them, and nobody has that much time these days!
So in order to get to the real bargains, it is perhaps prudent to use a third party Amazon "filtering service," such as those mentioned in this article (and there are also others available - try some to see which you like best). This strategy would save time as well as money. It is definitely a better strategy when looking for quality products as presents for Christmas, birthdays, anniversaries, weddings and suchlike where you need a non-specific, quality item but want it at the best possible price.
Our conclusion is that Amazon is not actually "hiding" the best bargains; it just doesn't make it particularly easy to find them!
Discover the "hidden" bargains and massively discounted products available now on Amazon.com at author Lee Gillett's website "The Amazing Bargain Store" at AmazingBargainStore.com
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