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Amazon drives online urgency with daily deals


Get it before it’s gone is the message Amazon is sharing with holiday shoppers as it looks to drive sales of limited duration “Lightning Deals” supported by enhanced same day delivery capabilities.

Amazon’s countdown to Black Friday and then Christmas involves a strategy of featuring roughly 15,000 products the online retailer promotes as Lightning Deals because of reduced pricing during a tight promotional window.

"Starting in November, millions of holiday shoppers come to Amazon hunting for the best deals and that one perfect gift," said Steve Shure, Amazon’s vp of worldwide marketing. "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 and daily sales events on MyHabit."

The strategy of creating urgency by discounting prices on limited quantities of desirable merchandise is not new. Warehouse club operators Costco and Sam’s Club have long fostered a treasure hunt atmosphere in clubs and online and even retailers such as Dollar Tree and 99 Cents Only feed into shoppers’ treasure hunt sensibilities.

Amazon is employing the same strategy and wants shoppers to check its site early and often in the run up to Christmas to discover deals on interesting products. It is also adding new technology wrinkles this year to simplify the discovery process and close the sale. For example, more than half of Amazon customers shopped using a mobile device last holiday so this year the retailer has added visual and voice search functionality. In a statement, Amazon said, “we want customers to go from ‘I want that’ to ‘I bought that’ in under 30 seconds.”

Further simplifying and shortening the path to purchase, Amazon said this year for the first time customers can add items they discover on Twitter to their Amazon Shopping Cart or Wish List without leaving their Twitter feed. When customers discover a Tweet from their favorite artist, expert, brand, or friend with an product link, they can simply add #AmazonCart or #AmazonWishList to their reply on Twitter and the product is added to their Cart or Wish List, according to the company.

So much for the notion of a high consideration purchase. And with shoppers’ spontaneity unleashed, Amazon is looking to provide more immediate gratification with expansion of same day delivery. The company said its same-day search filter, noon order cut-off and seven days a week delivery, is available in 12 major metro areas this season. Markets include Atlanta, Boston, Baltimore, Dallas, Indianapolis, Los Angeles, New York City, Philadelphia, Phoenix, San Francisco, Seattle and Washington DC. Customers can choose from more than a million items and have them delivered to their home the same day, according to the company.

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