Amazon UK's Black Friday fallout

A person delivering parcels
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A sure-fire way to get customers to visit your retail site is to announce a sale which promises to be like no other. No surprise, then, that this is exactly what Amazon UK has done this week with the launch of its Black Friday promotion.

Black Friday week has been a feature of the US version of the online retailer for a while, traditionally marking the day following Thanksgiving Day, which is seen as the start of the Christmas shopping season in the States. Little surprise, then, that Amazon should extend the sales offer to its UK customers, launching Black Friday week over here with much fanfare and online chatter.

Deals have included software, peripherals, consoles and multimedia technology, with some products having their prices cut by over half their original listing.

However, the online world has been awash with complaints as unhappy customers have voiced their concerns on Twitter and Amazon's own 'deal discussion' section. Typical comments centre around the fact that deals are sold out within seconds of being posted online, giving them no chance to purchase anything themselves. Some have pointed out that products included in Black Friday week over in the States are not selling out as quickly, with suggestions that Amazon UK has not handled this promotion as well as it should have done.

Of course, disgruntled customers will be the last thing Amazon UK wanted to gain from its promotion, but then that's missing the point. The company has attracted customers to its website thanks to this offer and, once on there, it has a slew of other, non-Black Friday deals for people to take advantage of in time for the festive period.

As a marketing ploy, then, Black Friday week will have served the company well. In PR terms, however, the company will doubtless be hoping that the disquiet calms down as the week progresses. Apple has recently learned a lesson in managing expectations with the near-universal disappointment over its Beatles catalogue announcement and Amazon UK will be hoping that it hasn't lost any friends at the expense of making a pretty penny or two.