Is Amazon Hiding Its Best Bargains From You?

Are there really hidden bargains and secret highly discounted products tucked away within Amazon that are not 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!

It is true that not too many people who use the world’s largest online store are even aware that there are some products within Amazon that are discounted up to 99%. At The Amazing Bargain Store (www.AmazingBargainStore.com) we discovered this through using bespoke software code that interrogates the Amazon database of products to reveal the best bargains Amazon has to offer – the “hidden”, highly discounted products if you will.

The software we use is specifically programmed to find products on Amazon that satisfy the following criteria:

  • A high “popularity” rating (which indicates that people are buying it).
  • The product to be discounted over 80% or normal list price.
  • It also has to have Amazon star ratings or more than 3 out of 5.
  • And it has to have at least 5 customer reviews on Amazon.

Any product that satisfies the above can possibly be said to be an “amazing bargain” we feel.

So are products that fulfil the above criteria purposely “hidden” by Amazon in favour of products that for example cost more or yield more profit? Amazon itself says “no”.

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”.

OK then, let’s go bargain hunting!

Father’s Day is coming up so 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 Amazing Bargain Store 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 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), avg. 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! Interesting!

Of course when we searched on “Invicta Men’s 1462 Vintage Collection Yellow Dial Watch” our watch appeared, 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 means that the real bargains are unlikely to show up early in the results (which has been our experience).

The second search we carried out was for  “anti ageing cream”. The product we were hoping to find was a “Premier Dead Sea Intensive Anti Ageing Cream” discounted 93% off normal list price which we found listed in The “Beauty” department of The Amazing Bargain Store. We eventually found it 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” – 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 actually 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 products that we found on The Amazing Bargain Store and 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. 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” as it were) – it’s just that it can take ages to find 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 that provided by The Amazing Bargain Store. This strategy would save time as well as money (and time is money of course!). 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.

The Amazing Bargain Store website is updated weekly – the latest update at the time of writing listed 608 products from various Amazon departments that were discounted at least 80% off list price (and satisfied the other criteria listed above). It is impossible to say how long it would take you to find all of those products directly on the Amazon website, especially through typing in fairly generic search terms. I think it is fair to say it would take you weeks or months!

My conclusion is that Amazon is not actually “hiding” the best bargains – it just doesn’t make it particularly easy to find them!

This article was written by Lee Gillett and is Copyrighted! © 2012 – it cannot be used, copied, reprinted or published anywhere without permission.