While PayPal said the holiday shopping season began on September 30th, Amazon.com announced November 1st is the official start of the holiday shopping season on its marketplace.
Amazon is using deals as bait to attract holiday gift-givers – it’s kicking off Black Friday early with a “Countdown to Black Friday Deals Week” event beginning November 1st, though it’s worth noting this isn’t a new phenomenon – it has kicked off the Black Friday Countdown on November 1st for at least the past 5 years.
“This holiday Amazon customers will find more than 15,000 Lightning Deals, including brand new early access deals for Prime members,” the company announced. “Customers can find the best deals at Amazon.com/blackfriday.”
Amazon is inviting select third-party merchants into its holiday deals program for the second year, and it is expanding the program internationally. Holiday deals from sellers will appear on the Amazon Today’s Deals page, Black Friday Store, Cyber Monday Store and many other high customer traffic site features on Amazon sites across the U.S., EU, China, India, Japan, and Canada.
But it’s not all rosy for 3P merchants on the Amazon marketplace. In August, market research firm L2 said Amazon gave preferential treatment to listings from brands that agree to partner with the marketplace, to the detriment of third-party sellers.
In Thursday’s announcement about the Countdown to Black Friday Deals Week, Amazon Vice President of Worldwide Marketing Steve Shure said, “This year, we will have more than 15,000 hand-selected, limited time promotions on hot products, including new early access deals for Prime members on many Lightning Deals from Amazon.com and daily sales events on MyHabit.”
Amazon said it is offering two Deals of the Day every day through December 22, and said customers will find thousands of Lightning Deals on gift items every week through Black Friday weekend, including electronics, toys, clothing, jewelry, and kitchen.
As usual, Amazon has published its annual Holiday Toy List to help shoppers purchase gifts for children.
Amazon has a message for shoppers who are so eager to get a jump on the holiday shopping season that they end up on its Cyber Monday landing page – “Nice to see you! Cyber Monday 2014 isn’t until after Thanksgiving weekend this December, so if you’re already here that must mean you are as excited as we are for Cyber Monday Deals! Make sure to bookmark this page today so you won’t miss a thing for Cyber Monday 2014.” Also included – advice on how to participate in current deals on the site.