Amazon Black Friday

For the average UK citizen, the term “Black Friday” carries a lot of negative connotations – like the worst stock market crash since the Great Depression!  Not so in the USA!  Black Friday is the day following Thanksgiving and traditionally the beginning of the Christmas shopping spree when stores hope to turn a profit and be "in the black."  Online retailers have cottoned on to this and increased Black Friday online sales have been a huge hit across the pond for the last few years.

Now Amazon is aiming for the jackpot by transferring this American tradition over to    Alongside the traditional concept of a sale and five day long discount on thousands of products, Amazon have introduced “Lightning Deals” - periodically released, time-limited deals on an individual item with only a set quantity available.  Just think of the struggles and torment of trying to buy tickets to any in-demand concert and you’ll get the idea!

From a digital marketing perspective this promotional tactic is quite effective.  Obviously you get a spike in traffic to the website, but those visitors also have to stick around long enough to find out the price of the product. While they are there, they tend to search through the products that are on offer, talk about the next deal on social networks and soak in the information on the Amazon site whilst waiting for the time to tick away.

On the downside, a quick look at the FAQ’s will show how many people have been frustrated by the speed with which products become unavailable. The most popular post at the moment has turned in to a trending game of ‘how many products can you get in your basket by the end of the day’.    A war of words has also broken out between disgruntled shoppers who haven’t been able to buy the product they want because "browsers"  are just adding products to their basket with no intention of buying at all.

Overall this promotion is a great way of building hype for Amazon, although given the frustrations voiced in the FAQs, it could perhaps generate more negative publicity than positive.  Confirmed orders after the sale period would be the only way to find out.  The other metric that could be interesting would be to see if there was a sudden influx of products from the lightning deals popping up on eBay.  Nice of Amazon to contribute selflessly to eBay in this manner!