Amazon's Black Friday deals start today

Amazon's Black Friday deals start today

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NEW YORK — It's November, which means it's time to start holiday shopping.

Amazon is getting a head start on the busy season, opening up its first holiday deals tonight as part of its Black Friday Deals store.

Don't expect many of the big ticket deals that headline actual Black Friday sales, though for those looking to get some items off their holiday wish lists you may find decent deals. Amazon says it will be offering "tens of thousands of deals" with new deals coming "as often as every five minutes."

Amazon will be running its Black Friday shop through Dec. 22.

In addition to the deals store, Amazon announced updates to its mobile apps to allow for easier shopping, even when you're in a physical store. You can now use your phone's camera to do a visual search for an item within the Amazon app. While the online retail giant had this feature for a while, it has now expanded the offering to include more than just groceries, DVDs, video games, packaged goods and barcodes to make it more helpful for those who price compare in physical stores.

Also new: a feature called Package X-Ray. Starting Nov. 15, iPhone users can use the feature to peek inside the box without opening it and risking ruining the surprise. Simply scan the barcode from the app to look inside.

With a new holiday season, there are incentives to draw users to the company $99-per year premium Prime offering. In addition to free two-day shipping, Prime members will receive an additional 20% off on pre-order and new release video games as well as the ability to shop "thousands of Lightning Deals" with a 30-minute head start versus non-members.

Those who use the company's Alexa digital assistant — found on the Echo line of smart speakers and recent Fire TV streaming sticks and Kindle Fire tablets — will have access to other exclusive deals.

Like other retailers, Amazon is expecting big things this holiday season with items such as 4K and HDR TVs, copper appliances and handcrafted gifts among the trends to watch.

Last month the company announced it would hire 120,000 temporary workers to handle demand, up 20% from the 100,000 workers it brought on last year.



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