Amazon brings new local deals site to more cities

August 25, 2011 1:50:50 AM PDT
Amazon.com Inc. is expanding its new local deals site to New York and other parts of the country, hoping discount-happy consumers will flock to its offerings as they have embraced market leader Groupon.

With the additions, AmazonLocal will be operating in 30 locations in 10 states, all within about three months of the service's initial launch in Boise, Idaho, in early June. Although it's still small compared with the market leaders, Groupon and LivingSocial, it shows that Amazon is keen to leverage its popularity as an online retailer to compete in this nascent yet fast-growing market. Amazon also has an investment in LivingSocial.

Mike George, vice president of AmazonLocal, said an online deals site seemed like a natural fit for Amazon because the company has always focused on helping customers find anything they want to buy.

"This felt like a very comfortable and logical extension of our general mission," he said.

George wouldn't say how many users AmazonLocal currently has. Overall, Amazon has more than 144 million active customers.

The online retailer said AmazonLocal deals are coming to five locations in New York -- Manhattan's Upper East and Upper West Sides, Downtown and Midtown neighborhoods, and Brooklyn. AmazonLocal will also come to Charlotte, N.C., Austin, Texas, and Orlando, Fla., northern Virginia and other locations. Amazon is making a formal announcement Thursday.

The service already is available several neighborhoods in Los Angeles, Chicago and Seattle, where the company is headquartered.

Deals planned for New York locations include $50 for $100 worth of food at Turkish restaurant Uskudar on Manhattan's Upper East Side and $13 for $27 worth of cupcakes at bakery Brooklyn Cupcake in Brooklyn's Williamsburg neighborhood.

Most of AmazonLocal's deals are coming from LivingSocial.

As the name would suggest, AmazonLocal's primary focus is on deals with local merchants in the places it operates.

But George said AmazonLocal will also hawk exclusive deals from Amazon.com and Amazon-affiliated sites. For example, it plans to offer a deal where customers pay $25 to get $50 to spend on jewelry and watches on Amazon.com, or $25 to get $50 worth of merchandise at discount apparel site 6pm.com, which is run by Amazon-owned shoe site Zappos.

George wouldn't give details about where AmazonLocal may expand next, but said it will "continue to be aggressive" in adding locations in different states.


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