Amazon throws its hat into the daily deals ring with AmazonLocal

AmazonLocalWhile Google Offers is busy basking in the local discount spotlight for the time being, Amazon is quietly testing its own deal-a-day application. The online retailer has launched AmazonLocal in Boise, Idaho (what some might call the Portland, Oregon of Idaho..?), which brings local business discounts to your desktop. And in a departure from its regular discount formula, the coupons are redeemed at brick-and-mortar locations.

The service would also differ from Amazon’s gold box deals, which offer items for a limited time based on quantity.

AmazonLocal’s operation is no exception to the rest of its competitors: Users see a deal of at least 50-percent off from a local business, have a certain amount of time to buy it, can share it via Twitter, Facebook, or e-mail, and can see how many have been bought so far. What sets AmazonLocal apart from its more established competitors is that it’s simply aggregating coupons that are already out there. Amazon isn’t partnering with local retailers to create its own, specialized deals – it’s simply pulling these ready-made discounts from sites like LivingSocial. So if you’re thinking jumping on board with this new venture will offer additional variety to your coupon hoarding habit, you’re probably wrong. But extremely devoted Amazon shoppers who haven’t become terribly invested in the whole deal-a-day scheme yet might like the idea of streamlining all their online purchasing into one client.

For those loyal Amazon shoppers, there’s also the lure of earning points for your AmazonLocal purchases. Through the end of the year, the site will gift you five points toward the Amazon.com Rewards Visa Card for every dollar you spend on AmazonLocal. After the New Year, you can earn three. For the occasional Amazon shopper, that might not sound like a big deal, but to someone who routinely visits the site come holidays, birthdays, and basically any other gifting event, it is.

Back in December, Amazon invested $175 million in LivingSocial for future business ventures. A 50-percent off Amazon gift card the site sold in January turned into a viral hit, and ended up benefitting Amazon as an investor. Apparently, the online shopping site likes what it’s seen and now will serve as yet another outlet for LivingSocial to peddle from. As a leader in the e-commerce industry, it’s only natural and maybe even necessary that Amazon have a daily deals option, and given its solid reputation with customers it seems poised for at least relative success. Obviously Amazon isn’t going to invest the type of resources Groupon or Google Offers does in these operations, but that could be what helps it turn a profit over the project and avoid wasting time and money.

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