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Making the Most of Amazon's Prime Day

Amazon’s third annual Prime Day started off with more of a crash than a bang.

Many customers who logged on at 3 p.m. Monday hoping to find deals instead encountered an error message. The problem occurred on and off for the first two hours of the 36-hour sale.

In a statement on Twitter, Amazon said, “Some customers are having difficulty shopping, and we’re working to resolve this issue quickly. Many are shopping successfully – in the first hour of Prime Day in the U.S., customers have ordered more items compared to the first hour last year. There are hundreds of thousands of deals to come and more than 34 hours to shop Prime Day.”

Amazon said it has more than 100 million Prime members. Subscribers pay either $119 a year or $12.99 a month for the membership, which includes free two-day shipping, unlimited video streaming and exclusive savings at Whole Foods.

And on Prime Day, members get access to specials deals across the site.

Consumer electronics reviewer Lon Seidman says Amazon’s own products will be front and center. But shoppers who are willing to invest a little time can find some hidden gems.

He compares it to digging through a bargain bin at a brick-and-mortar retailer.

“There are a lot of deals, but not all of them are all that attractive, number one, or all that interesting from the standpoint of the products being offered,” he said.

Seidman said some the best savings can be found on items that are only available for a limited time.

“So you have to jump in frequently and look and see what’s on sale right now,” he said.

“Many times, it’s almost like winning a contest for the right to buy that item at the lower price.”

Seidman suggested shopping around, especially on big ticket items like TVs. Many other retailers are also offering deals to compete with Prime Day, without the membership requirement.

Data from Adobe showed that large retailers saw a 35 percent increase in sales during last year’s Prime Day.

As for whether Prime is worth the membership fee, Seidman said that depends on your shopping habits. If you are a frequent shopper, the money you save on shipping will add up.

Although the Prime Day savings are only available to members, you can sign up for a free 30-day trial. Just remember to cancel it before the trial period ends, so you do not get billed.

Seidman said Amazon’s cancellation process is one of the easiest he’s seen.

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