Amazon doesn't appear to be toe-dipping with its entry into the sprawling daily deals space. The online retail giant has recently taken Amazon Local into 14 markets, with Chicago announced today. The other markets are: the Washington communities of Seattle, Bellevue/Eastside, Tacoma, and Snohomish County; the California markets of Inland Empire, Long Beach, Los Angeles, North Orange County, San Fernando Valley, Westside/South Bay, and San Gabriel Valley; Palm Beach, FL, and Boise, ID.
Four weeks ago, fellow e-commerce titan Priceline entered the daily deals melee, arguing it's a "natural fit" because of its established discounts brand. The space now includes dozens - if not hundreds - of digital commerce firms offering heavily discounted vouchers to consumers. And in a statement from a company spokesperson, Amazon echoed Priceline in its explanation for jumping into the ever more crowded space: "Customers already know and trust Amazon.com for their online purchases, and now with Amazon Local, they can also find great deals right in their own city."
Interestingly, the Seattle-based company has set up a dedicated 24/7 customer service line for Amazon Local. It's prominently placed in the upper right-hand corner on the deals pages; whereas finding the toll-free number on Amazon.com involves several online steps.
Its business-to-business sales force will inevitably run into a bevy of competitors that are already pummeling businesses with calls - firms such as Groupon, LivingSocial, Google Offers, Facebook Deals, BuyWithMe, Scoutmob, and American Express, and others. It has become fair to ask: How many more sales calls from daily deals companies can local merchants handle?
According to Damir Kamber, manager of Baroni Italian in Atlanta, the calls are coming "nonstop."
"It's like a full-time job now," Kamber explained to ClickZ News. "I've heard from Groupon and a bunch of other sites that I've never heard of."
In a related development, LivingSocial has purchased South Korean daily deals player Ticket Monster. It has more than 600 employees and pitches approximately 60 deals per day.
Brendan Lewis, spokesperson for the Washington, DC-based LivingSocial, told ClickZ that Ticket Monster would retain its brand post-acquisition. Terms of the buyout were not disclosed.
Amazon already has a stake in the daily deals space, courtesy of its investment in Groupon competitor LivingSocial. A $20-for-$10 offer on Amazon.com back in January was the splashiest promotion LivingSocial had distributed until that date.
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Christopher Heine was a senior writer for ClickZ through June 2012. He covered social media, sports/entertainment marketing, retail, and more. Heine's work has also appeared via Mashable, Brandweek, DM News, MarketingSherpa, and other tech- and ad-centric publications. USA Today, Bloomberg Radio, and The Los Angeles Times have cited him as an expert journalist.