Black Friday is already starting at Amazon

November 2, 2015, 2:07 PM UTC
Photograph by Rick Wilking — Reuters

Amazon is already zeroing in on the holiday shopping season by debuting the launch of a Black Friday deals store. The store gives a slight edge to shoppers willing to pay $99 per year for a Prime membership.

The e-commerce giant on Monday unveiled a deals store that can be found here, while also introducing a 30-minute window for some deals that Prime members can purchase before the offers become more widely available. All of these promotional efforts comes more than three weeks before the Thanksgiving holiday. That’s when holiday deals traditionally would kick off, though many retailers have gotten aggressive earlier in November.

Amazon’s (AMZN) decision to target early holiday shoppers on the surface may seem like a radical low-margin, high volume strategy, but there are some arguments that it can be a successful model. Just last week, research firm NPD Group said half of all holidays shoppers planned to start their shopping before the Thanksgiving weekend, a 6% increase over 2014.

“With consumers shopping earlier and more going online it will be critical for brick retailers to take action in order to compete with the click players,” said Marshal Cohen, chief industry analyst at NPD.

The e-commerce company’s highly promotional holiday strategy has paid off in the past. Earlier this year, Amazon’s shares soared after the company posted a big jump in sales for the holiday quarter, and still managed to report a sizable profit despite all the investments it has made on fast shipping and other initiatives.

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