Does the following scenario sound familiar? You sit down at your computer, armed with a credit card and a very specific item you’re searching for—say, a pair of hypoallergenic gel pillows—and you innocently peruse the “similar products” carousel. Half an hour later, you’re staring at a shopping cart that includes everything from a face serum to a potted snake plant. Going down the Amazon rabbit hole can happen to anyone—you just have to know how to rein it in.
Colleen Banks and Kara Keigan are here to help: After putting together the shopping guides for our first-ever weddings issue using a single source—Amazon—the two freelance editors are experts when it comes to navigating the platform.
Keep reading for their top tips for snagging the best deals and unearthing hidden treasures on the site—ahead of Black Friday, the extra intel can’t hurt.
Their Secret Weapon
Both Keigan and Banks swear by Canopy, a website of carefully curated Amazon products (each week it comes out with a new themed “issue”), as the first spot they start looking to weed through the offerings. “It’s also a great place to go if you’re looking for gift ideas,” adds Keigan—there’s a whole section dedicated to them.
Their Filter System
Banks recommends being as specific as possible with your search terms—for example, “retro lawn chair” instead of just “armchair” when trying to find a Palm Springs–inspired seating piece. From there, do some quality control; Keigan puts on a filter to only show items that garner a three-star rating or higher.
It may seem obvious, but don’t forget to search by price if you’re looking to score the best deals. “Also, I like searching by the items shipped and sold by Amazon, as many of these are at lower prices than brand-name items,” says Banks. She found an earthenware vase from Elk using this technique.
The Sellers to Know
For fashion and accessories, Shopbop has an Amazon outlet full of brands you’ll recognize—think Muji and Dansk—and don’t sleep on Jonathan Adler’s home collection. But Keigan has an underrated favorite: Sugar & Cloth. “It’s an adorable party brand that I wish more people knew about!” she says. “It’s perfect for small get-togethers or more casual wedding events—some of the bright stuff would be super cute for a bridal pool party.”
The Oft-Overlooked Discovery Channels
“Take advantage of the ‘Suggested by Amazon’ picks at the bottom of each page and the pieces it pulls to compare to—I’ve found the easiest way to find similar brands is to deep dive into those aggregated lists,” says Keigan. For example, the “Sponsored products related to this item” or “Featured brands” sections helped us unearth cool lines like Seletti and MoMA Design Store. They’re also how Banks discovered new gems, like glassware company Riedel.
Their Amazon Prime Hack
The key is to have one membership per family or per friend group—you earn more Rewards points to shop with that way, and as we all know, the two-day shipping is always a serious lifesaver. Split the cost now and thank us come holiday shopping season.