Amazon sets third annual Prime Day for July 11

But just like Black Friday, it's getting an early start

For a third year, Amazon hopes to have Christmas in July.

The online retailer has unveiled its plans for its third annual Prime Day, a 30-hour shopping period that not only tries to move merchandise, but sign up additional members for its Prime service.

The deals offered during the promotion will only be available to Prime members. The company hopes more people will sign up for Prime in order to get an early start on the holiday shopping season.

This year, the promotion will begin at 9 pm ET Monday July 10 and run for the next 30 hours, with new deals offered every five minutes, much like retailers' Black Friday promotions.

What's new

Besides the extended sales period, Amazon says its third Prime Day will be different in the way sale items are presented. They will be organized by more than 20 of the most-shopped-for themes, from pets to gardening. The company says that will make finding what you're looking for easier.

You can also let Alexa do your shopping for you. By telling Amazon's virtual assistant what you want, you can shop while you're doing other things.

This year, Amazon is pushing deals on TV sets. Among the products that will have special sale prices are the new Element 4K Ultra HD Smart LED TV - Amazon Fire TV Edition.

"Amazon is planning one of its largest total volume TV deals in history with a record level of inventory but once again, the TV deals will likely sell out," the company said in a press release.

Early start

And just like Black Friday, Amazon isn't waiting for Prime Day to get started on Prime Day deals. The company said it plans to roll out special offers for Prime members every day leading up to July 11, with deals like four months of Amazon Music Unlimited for 99 cents.

Other major retailers have yet to announce any promotional plans to counter Amazon's push to grab an early share of holiday shopping. In the past, Walmart has countered with sales of its own. Earlier this year it also rolled out free two-day shipping on more than two million items with no membership fee.

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