TECHNOLOGY

Online giant pushes up ‘Black Friday’ deals — to Nov. 1

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

Amazon is getting a jump on the holiday season by launching a curated sales site — and a new AR tool to snag deals.

The online giant has officially started its holiday season with the opening of its “Black Friday Store.” The micro site, which launched on Wednesday, Nov. 1, is a centralized location that features holiday deals across all categories.

More than 100 million items are featured and eligible for free shipping, as well as up to 30% savings. The deals will be available until Black Friday, Nov. 24.

With more than 70% of Amazon customers worldwide using a mobile device to shop on Amazon last holiday season, the online retailer took steps to make it easier to make mobile purchases this year. Specifically, Amazon launched of its new augmented reality service called “AR view.” The feature is available inside the Amazon App used on iPhone 6S or newer iOS devices.

Using Apple’s ARKit, AR view allows customers to visualize merchandise within their own living space — but products are not just limited to furniture and decor. Rather, customers can virtually position thousands of items across categories including living room, bedroom, kitchen and home office products to electronics, toys and games, home décor, among others.

Here’s how it works: Customers launch the Amazon App, click on the camera icon and choose AR view. They can then select an item, and overlay it onto their existing living space. Using their camera, they can view the merchandise, move it and rotate it 360 degrees.

Amazon also plans to leverage its fleet of Treasure Trucks this holiday season. Customers can opt-in to receive notifications from the Amazon App for special Treasure Truck offers, order the item, and pick-up at the truck throughout the shopping season. Treasure Truck is now available in 25 select cities.

Shoppers that need additional inspiration can also access Amazon’s library of curated gift guides, including ones for toys, electronics and home. The newest is a Business Gift Guide, a curated list of more than 200 items designed for gifting office employees, company clients and colleagues.

Throughout the holiday season, Amazon will continue to enable customers to voice shop with Alexa. In addition to giving customers access to “tens of millions” of Prime-eligible items, many of these products will also be available in the Black Friday Deals Store and the retailer’s 2017 Holiday Gift Guides.

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