How to approach Amazon’s marathon Black Friday sales bonanza

Getting it right.
Getting it right.
Image: Reuters/Ralph D. Freso
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Amazon would like you to go to—right now. And then Amazon would like you to stay there, shopping and shopping and shopping, from now until Monday, Nov. 27.

You see, over at Amazon, Black Friday is not just a day. It’s 10 days, which kicked off on Friday (Nov. 17) and will escalate in a frenzy of offers until the actual Black Friday, and then Cyber Monday. (On Tuesday we rest.)

Here’s what you need to know about Amazon’s Black Friday extravaganza:

Black Friday is a very long “day.”

Settle into your most comfortable sweatpants, and stock up on essential foodstuffs (though you can always order some more from Amazon Fresh). The company’s initial deals went live last week, but sales will kick into high gear during what Amazon refers to as the “Turkey 5” (Thanksgiving through Cyber Monday).

Each of those 10 days gets its own Deals of the Day. There will also be Lightning Deals, which can end within minutes, so it’s difficult to know in advance what will go on sale when and for how long. A good start is to download Amazon’s app, where you can view deals 24 hours in advance and sign up for alerts.

The deals could be bigger than Prime Day.

Black Friday actually isn’t Amazon’s biggest shopping day; that would be Prime Day, which was held in July. Amazon called Prime Day 2017 the “biggest global shopping event” in company history, and its sales surpassed those from Black Friday and Cyber Monday last year.

Still, predicts that this year’s Black Friday deals could equal or even surpass those from Prime Day in terms of discounts. (If you want to check a deal price against what Amazon has historically charged, try CamelCamelCamel.)

Watch out for glitches.

Prime Day this year experienced some technical difficulties, especially around the shopping cart and Lightning Deals. If you hit a bug, try to find comfort in the knowledge that millions of other people are sharing your pain.

Shopping with Alexa will get you early access to deals.

The biggest Black Friday deals will be available starting at 5pm PT on Nov. 22 for customers who voice-shop with Alexa, giving them a seven-hour head start. Don’t have Alexa? No problem: Amazon’s Black Friday deals include discounts on the Echo, Echo Dot, and Tap.

Amazon devices are also discounted at Whole Foods.

Reminder: Amazon bought Whole Foods in August, and has swiftly slotted the grocery chain into its plans for world domination. Starting next week, Whole Foods shoppers will enjoy a discount on the Echo, Echo Dot, Echo Plus, Kindle Paperwhite, Amazon Cloud Cam, and Fire tablet. Amazon has also opened pop-up Amazon stores 🤔 in select Whole Foods in Illinois, Michigan, Florida, California, and Colorado to promote the devices, as well as Prime and Prime Video.

This might be the year to make your home smarter.

Of Amazon’s early deals, gadget review site the Wirecutter flagged just five that it’s looking forward to: Bose Quiet Comfort 25 Headphones ($180), an iRobot Roomba ($275), a Roku Premiere + Streaming Media Player ($50), a Ring Video Doorbell ($100), and a Philips smart lightbulb starter kit ($60). In other words, for just $665 you’ll be able to watch your favorite shows with perfect audio while vacuuming your home and attending to both lighting and visitors—all without leaving your couch.

Don’t sleep on Walmart, though.

Among major retailers, Amazon’s Black Friday discounts are far from the steepest (that would be the department stores). predicts Amazon’s discounts this year to be between 20% and 25%, while its closest competitor, Walmart, is predicted to have discounts between 30% and 35%.

Walmart has also been coming extra hard for Amazon this year. As the latter makes a foray into apparel, Walmart went on a buying spree: Bonobos, Moosejaw, ShoeBuy, ModCloth (and last year, Jet). It’s also improving the experience and vying for market share with Amazon on groceries.