October 15, 2013, 4:42 PM

Amazon.com and Macy’s announce holiday promotions

Amazon turns to moms and Facebook while Macy's touts turkey day sales.

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Amazon.com Inc. and Macy’s Inc. are getting into the holiday spirit early, and they are hoping consumers follow suit.

Amazon.com, No. 1 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide, today announced updates to its e-commerce site designed to help parents find gifts for their children with an updated gift finder and limited-time deals.

For the first time, Amazon.com says its 2013 holiday toy list is created by Facebook fans of its Amazon Mom program. Amazon Mom is free membership program for parents and caretakers of small children offering 20% off diapers and wipes, and other promotions geared toward parents. Amazon Mom fans on Facebook voted on the toys to include across 10 toy trend categories—from technology and retro toys to crafts and road trip-focused toys. Amazon shoppers can browse the complete list of Amazon Mom Picks on this year’s Amazon Holiday Toy List.

Amazon also announced today new features in its gift-finder tool, including the ability to filter by age, gender, interest, brand and price range, and the option to search by and view bestsellers. 

In an effort to draw in customers early with discounts, Amazon tacked on to today’s announcement the kick-off of its Lightning Holiday Deals, promotions good for a short time or until the product sells out. Today, for example, Amazon is offering 50% off Crayola Toys, and it says other deals from brands including Fisher-Price and Hasbro will follow. The features and deals extend to Amazon.com’s mobile app as well, the retailer says. Last holiday season alone Amazon customers purchased more than one toy per second via mobile devices.

Macy’s, meanwhile, is hoping to use something Amazon.com can’t to draw in early holiday shoppers—its network of 800 stores across the U.S. The retail chain and web merchant, No. 13 in the 2013 Top 500 Guide, announced it will welcome eager consumers to its stores by opening most of them at 8 p.m. Thanksgiving evening, when it will offer its Black Friday sales four hours early. Consumers can get a sneak peek of some of those sales on the retailer’s Pinterest page.

Macy’s says it chose to open stores on Thanksgiving in response to consumer requests. “In a move to minimize the impact on associates, Macy’s began planning early to allow associates the time to review available shifts throughout the holiday season, including on Thanksgiving weekend, and to volunteer for the shifts they prefer,” the retailer says in its announcement.

Macy’s isn’t the first chain store to open its doors to greet shoppers on Thanksgiving evening. Wal-Mart, No. 4 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide, last year opened its doors at 8 p.m. on Thanksgiving night. Meanwhile, Target Corp. (No. 18) and Toys ‘R’ Us Inc. (No. 30) stores opened on Turkey day 2012, at 9 p.m. and 8 p.m., respectively. Macy’s last year opened its stores at midnight on Black Friday

Shoppers also can use Macy’s mobile app to plan their Black Friday shopping strategies in advance. Beginning Nov. 21, a week before Thanksgiving, customers will be able to view Black Friday specials on their mobile devices and create customized shopping lists that they can edit and share with friends. 

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