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Everything You Need to Know to Prepare For Amazon's Huge 36-Hour Prime Day

Being an Amazon Prime member has its perks all year long, but there's one day in particular when it pays big time to be a subscriber. We're of course referring to Amazon Prime Day, when the e-commerce behemoth unleashes hundreds of thousands of crazy-good discounts on everything from gadgets to gift cards -- well beyond the scope of deals it offers on Black Friday or Cyber Monday.

Prime Day 2018 will be a bit different than in years past in that it will actually last for a day and half. Things will kick off on Monday, July 16 at 3pm ET and continue all day Tuesday, July 17, though they've decided to get a slightly early start and are already rolling out some great deals in the days leading up to the big event. So, to ensure you scoop up all the best possible loot, we've assembled this handy Prime Day, errr, primer.

Get ready, people. Turn on 1-click ordering and be sure to check back in on Monday -- we'll have a list of the best Prime Day bargains throughout the day, and will be updating it every hour or so with only the greatest and most worthwhile deals.

If you aren't a Prime subscriber, sign up for a free 30-day trial

As the name of the event suggests, Prime Day deals are only open to Prime subscribers. However, if you aren't already ponying up the $119/year fee (it recently went up from $99/year), you can still get in on the action by signing up for the 30-day free trial. Just remember to cancel before you actually have to start paying (or don't -- trust us, there are plenty of perks that make it worth the money).

Download the Amazon app and track your favorite deals

APD brings with it a ton of great deals, but many of them don't last long. Fortunately, you can easily set up Amazon's app to tell you when the price drops for a particular item(s) you've had your eyes on by adding them to your Shopping List.

When an item in the List changes in price, you'll get an alert on your phone. Just be sure you have your notification settings adjusted accordingly (open the app, head to Settings > Notifications, and toggle on "Your Watched & Waitlisted Deals.") And even if you don't want to track any deals, it's still worth downloading because Prime subscribers get $10 for downloading and signing into the Amazon app for the first time. You'd be wise to also download the Amazon Assistant browser extension on your computer to keep track of deals (if you do, you'll get $5 off your next Amazon order over $25)

Keep tabs on pre-scheduled deals

In addition to tracking a custom list of products you're interested in, the app also makes it easy to browse and "watch" the thousands upon thousands of specific deals that are scheduled to go live throughout the day, without having to constantly monitor the app or site. To do this, head to the Deals page, look through the products under the "Upcoming" tab, and tap "Watch this deal" for any that you think you might be interested in. The moment a deal you're watching goes live, you'll get an alert on your phone. 

Ask Alexa about special and exclusive deals

If you have an Echo, Echo Dot, or any other device that relies on Amazon's AI voice-activated assistant, Alexa, you'd be wise to hit her up for special deals throughout the day. That's because, like last year, Amazon will be offering a handful of deals that you can only snatch via Alexa. All you have to do is ask "Alexa, what are your deals?" and she'll give you the scoop. If you haven't picked up an Echo yet, Prime Day may be the perfect time to splurge, since prices on a whole slew of Amazon devices will likely slashed. 

Check competitors' prices for better deals

Since Prime Day has eclipsed Black Friday as one of Amazon's biggest deals days of the year, competitors like Walmart, Target, Best Buy, and others have taken notice, dropping their own prices below Amazon's during the day in hopes of poaching potential customers. To compare prices without tediously toggling between four different tabs, download the browser extension Priceblink, which will automatically let you know if a particular item you're looking at on Amazon (or any one of 4,000 other online merchants) is available cheaper elsewhere on the Web at the moment. 

Swing by Whole Foods for special in-store deals

Prime Day 2018 will not only run longer than any previous one, but this year it will also include big deals on Whole Foods items now that Amazon owns the premium grocery chain. The company has already announced some special WF discounts ahead of the big day, but it's likely there will be some surprise sales going on in-store at locations around the country that day as well. 

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Joe McGauley is a senior writer for Thrillist. Follow him @jwmcgauley.