Amazon Debuts Its Online Black Friday Deals Store, Gives Prime Members Early Access To Discounts

Expanding on the success of the Amazon-created sales holiday Prime Day earlier this year, Amazon announced it’s now launching a dedicated Black Friday Deals Store where Amazon Prime members will get early access to some of the best discounts. The Deals Store itself is open to all consumers, as the holiday shopping season begins with some early forecasts already predicting record numbers. However, the added bonus for Prime members is that they’ll be able to access over 30,000 “Lightning Deals” 30 minutes earlier than others.

The idea to make some savings exclusive to Prime Members helped to make the company’s first-ever Prime Day a bigger financial success than Black Friday, the company said in July, noting that Prime Day broke Amazon’s own records, exceeding Black Friday 2014 sales – which had been the biggest to date.

But holiday shopping season online is no longer confined to a day of good sales – it’s an ongoing stampede as more consumers do their gift-buying through sites like Amazon than offline at brick-and-mortar stores. Some retailers are even choosing to keep their doors closed on Thanksgiving Day in response in part to consumer pushback against the idea of starting holiday shopping on the holiday itself, but it’s also an acknowledgment that consumers are less interested in queuing up outside a store’s doors these days when they can instead just pick up their smartphone.

Amazon says that its Black Friday Deals Store features “tens of thousands of deals” for all online shoppers in categories like electronics, toys, clothing, jewelry, kitchen, and more, through December 22. Meanwhile, Prime members can access 30,000 Lightning Deals ahead of others, including things like 30% off a Sony 4K Ultra HD TV; 40% select toys; 40% off Frye shoes, handbags and more; 50% off select home automation products; up to 50% off hundreds of PetSafe items; 47% off Jaybird X Sport Bluetooth Headphones; Optima HD37 Full 3D 1080p 2600 Lumens DLP Home Cinema Projector for less than $800; and other items.

However, it’s unclear if early access to Amazon’s Lightning Deals alone will be enough to drive a surge in Prime Members shopping the site – or if the deals are good enough to actually convince some consumers to sign up for Prime in order to save. The latter was, in part, one of the goals with Prime Day – exclusive deals that were so appealing that those on the fence decided to purchase an annual Prime membership.

Unfortunately for Amazon, Prime Day sparked some backlash on social media as a number of customers complained that the deals were low-quality and sold out too fast. Outside of the handful of electronics deals, the new Black Friday deals may suffer from a bit of the same sentiment – especially because early access to Lightning Deals is something Prime members can take advantage of all year long. And if it the gambit works, Prime members may also scoop up all the best deals before non-members even get a chance to shop.

Alongside the new site and Lightning Deals, Amazon is also rolling out an Electronics Gift Guide, and other recommendations.

UPDATE, 11/10/15: 

Amazon has released a short of list of some of its forthcoming Black Friday deals. They will be available at these prices for a limited time. The deals include the following items:

  • Starting November 22, Kindle will be nearly 40% off at $49.99
  • Starting November 26, Fire TV Stick will be nearly 40% off at $24.99
  • Starting November 26, take $15 off of the new Fire tablet, at $34.99