Amazon launched its Black Friday Deals Store early Tuesday morning, along with more than a dozen curated holiday gift guides, marking the official start of the holiday shopping season.
The online retail giant kicked things off at 3 a.m.(EST) on Nov. 1, offering lower prices on tens of thousands of online items between now and December 22, for a grand total of 52 days. The Black Friday Deals site is promoting discounts on a range of electronics, toys, clothes, and household goods, with most deals available only for 24 hours or until they’re sold out. For deal lovers, Amazon has also created “Watch-a-Deal” alerts to help shoppers keep track of discounts.
Amazon Prime members are eligible for additional exclusive deals, such as a 20% discount on pre-order and new release vide games, and two-day shipping on more than 30 million items. Additionally, Alexa voice shopping will be available for Prime members who are using a device like the Echo Dot. For a full-list of Prime member deals, click here.
In addition to offering new deals on its site as often as every five minutes, Amazon is helping shoppers find gifts without all the guesswork by offering several curated “holiday gift guides,” including an Electronics Gift Guide and a Home Gift Guide, in an attempt to make it easier for customers to find the perfect gift for everyone on their list.
It’s important to mention that this is just Amazon’s “countdown to Black Friday.” As USA Today noted, “Don’t expect many of the big ticket deals that headline actual Black Friday sales, though for those looking to get some items off their holiday wish lists you may find decent savings.” The discounts available on Amazon Tuesday morning were typically in the neighborhood of 30% to 40% off—the kinds of markdowns that pop up regularly throughout the year. So while there are already thousands on sales on Amazon’s site, the mega big deals will be saved for the weeks of Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
In addition to the deals store, Amazon announced updates to its mobile app that willto allow for easier shopping, even when you’re in a physical store. You can now use your phone’s camera to do a visual search for an item within the Amazon app. While the online retail giant has already had this feature for some time, it has now expanded the offering to include more of the items they offer online to make it more helpful for those who price compare in physical stores.
Additionally, starting Nov. 15, users can use a new app feature called Package X-Ray. iPhone users can use the feature to scan the barcode on each delivered package with the camera icon in the Amazon mobile app, which will then notify them about what’s inside the box without having to open it.
Roughly 41% of shoppers begin their holiday shopping in October or earlier, according to a survey posted last month by the National Retail Federation. An additional 41% of shoppers were waiting until November to begin hunting for holiday gifts. The NRF also expects the average American consumer to spend $935.58 during the holiday shopping season, with 56.5% of shopping being done online.
Amazon will be running its Black Friday shop through Dec. 22.