Amazon rolled out the start of its Black Friday specials on Tuesday, touting a series of discounted prices and curated gift guides in several categories. Customers can access the deals on its dedicated Black Friday page as well as through guides on items in electronics, home, Homemade at Amazon (the company’s answer to Etsy) and other categories.
Promotions include price breaks on “thousands” of deals as often as every five minutes, on everything from HD TVs to stylish kitchen staples to some of the most popular toys of the year, the e-commerce giant said in a press release.
Amazon also updated its mobile shopping application, introducing new product search features and other options.
This year, if it’s November (or even close), it’s Black Friday. Amazon is among the retailers that aren’t waiting until the end of the month to announce Black Friday deals: Research from many sources indicates that holiday shoppers are beginning to go through their seasonal to-do lists early this year, and are on the hunt for good prices. And it wouldn’t be Amazon if there weren’t perks for Prime members, which this year include exclusive deals for those who voice-order items through the company’s devices, an added 20% discount on pre-order and new release video games and 30-minute early access to its short-lasting “Lightning Deals.”
Amazon SVP of North American retail at Amazon Doug Herrington touted the retailer’s convenient ordering and “super-fast” delivery options and said that it’s offering more discounts than ever this year. For Amazon, its not just about offering the best prices early to holiday shoppers, but also about ensuring that the best options are found within its rich Prime ecosystem.
Some of the best prices, or best opportunities for the best prices, are reserved for Prime members or given to them early. Prime members will enjoy a range of fulfillment options, with not just the usual free two-day shipping on 30 million items, but also free same-day delivery on more than one million items for Prime members in 27 cities. Through Prime Now, Amazon offers tens of thousands of products for one- and two-hour delivery in more than 30 U.S. cities, the retailer said.
But that’s likely going to cost Amazon. In its last quarter, its delivery costs swept away much of its profit, and growth in its fulfillment costs outpaced its sales.
Amazon also is bolstering its free shopping app ahead of the holiday season. New options include Package X-Ray (allowing iPhone owners to scan a delivered package to see what's in it without opening it), Search Anything (which enables shoppers to point their phone's camera at a real-world item to pull up a list of similar product options) and Fling (an option to hold down an item in the app and add it to a Wish List 'tray').
This story is part of our ongoing coverage of the 2016 holiday shopping season. You can browse our holiday page for more stories.