Amazon teases Black Friday plans

Amazon is great for a lot of things, but its past Black Friday sales have been underwhelming. Can the online retail giant impress this year?

Mike Blake/Reuters/File
Amazon boxes are stacked for delivery in Manhattan in New York City.

We'll come out and say it: Amazon is great for many things, but the online retail giant doesn't have the best track record when it comes to Black Friday and "better than Black Friday" sales.

Take Prime Day, Amazon's annual anniversary sale, which was introduced to much fanfare in July 2015, and failed miserably to live up to the hype -- two years in a row. With lackluster discounts on things you'd never buy (anyone want $50 worth of paperclips for $45??), and doorbuster deals that disappear within seconds of their release, the only good thing about Prime Day was all the copycat sales it inspired.

Prime Day is always billed as being "better than Black Friday!" But this isn't a high bar to pass, because Amazon's Black Friday sale is historically confusing, convoluted, and difficult for even the savviest shoppers to navigate. From the looks of Amazon's recent press release, it's not gonna get much better in 2016.

“Customers love discovering the best deals on the most sought-after products, and our Black Friday Deals Store and curated Holiday Gift Guides offer them a place to do just that – plus enjoy the most convenient shopping experience with tons of super-fast shipping options,” said Doug Herrington, Senior Vice President of North American Retail at Amazon in yesterday's press release. “This holiday season, we’re offering more deals than ever before."

The details revealed in this vague announcement aren't exactly groundbreaking. Amazon will be running the Black Friday Deals Store from now until December 22nd, posting new deals "as often as every five minutes" throughout the duration of this period. While this might seem like an exciting development, a quick glance at the current offerings on the Black Friday Deals Store leaves much to be desired. As much as we've always dreamed of saving 36 percent on bulk amounts of PURELL products, we'll pass on most of today's "doorbuster" deals.

Don't get us wrong: Amazon's ACTUAL Black Friday offerings WILL be better than what's currently on this page. They will match prices on doorbuster deals from competitors like Target, Walmart and Best Buy, and there will be steals to be had, if you can get there fast enough to snatch 'em up. However, the deals Amazon is putting out leading up to the big day aren't much of anything.

What else is in the press release?

  • An announcement concerning the launch of category gift guides, including the Electronics Gift Guide, the Home Gift Guide and the Handmade at Amazon Gift Guide.
  • A plug for the Amazon app, which lets you shop on the go, but for some reason still doesn't allow you to purchase Kindle titles from your phone(??).
  • A reminder to sign up for Amazon Prime so you can get early access to all their Black Friday deals AND order things using your voice via Alexa, Amazon's Siri. The future is here, people.

This article first appeared in Brad's Deals.

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