Prime's The New Black: Amazon Prime Day 2019
Amazon Prime Day is an annual shopping holiday exclusively for Amazon Prime members. In five short years, an event that was meant to celebrate Amazon Prime members has now become a global holiday.
In 2018, Amazon sold over 100 million products on Prime Day, a 60% increase in sales from the previous year. Prime Day has grown immensely, beckoning retail giants like Walmart, Target, and eBay to create their own take on the summer sale.
Where Prime Day Came From, and Where it is Going…
Year after year, Amazon plays a huge role in elevating national shopping holidays like Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Unlike other retailers, however, Amazon saw an opportunity to create a summertime counterpart to Black Friday and Cyber Monday…and thus, Prime Day was born.
Back in 2015, the company made the announcement for the holiday on the eve of their 20th anniversary. At that time, Prime Day was a one day event, but, as the event grew more popular, Amazon announced that in 2019, the festivities will span over two days.
New this year were brand collaborations, deals, and exclusive launches featuring actors, musicians, and athletes in the promotional imagery.
Just How Good Are These Prime Day Deals?
The event has gotten more attention this year than ever before...but is it deserved?
In past years, backlash came from customers with several complaints - website errors, irrelevant products on sale, and merchandise selling out quickly. While it’s almost certain that Amazon has a plan to accommodate heavy website traffic and prevent these errors from happening again, it remains a mystery as to whether or not these deals will live up to the hype.
While a majority of Prime Day deals aren’t revealed until the event kicks off, some highlights were revealed ahead of time:
The Amazon Fire TV Stick for $15 (regularly $40),
Echo for $50 (regularly $100),
and Facebook Portal for $80 (regularly $199).
The Showdown: Prime Day vs. Black Friday… vs. Walmart vs. Target vs. eBay
What began as a way to reward Prime members with exclusive access to great deals, has turned into a competition amongst giant retailers.
So...who will win the competition for best summertime sale? Walmart, Target, and eBay have all entered the ring to compete with Amazon’s previous online retail takeover in July.
eBay’s Take on Prime Day - The Crash Sale
eBay is the first retailer to directly challenge Prime Day with their announcement of a July sale. However, eBay’s sale has some key differences on their take of a “summer sale”:
The sale started the first week of July and lasts for three weeks, featuring new deals and savings on a variety of products every week.
July 1st-7th are eBay’s July 4th Savings where they boasted about savings on summer essentials and appliances.
Then, the Hot Deals for Hot Days promotion, running from July 8th to July 22nd, saves shoppers money on the hottest tech and smart devices.
The sale promises deals up to 85% off on some of the most coveted consumer brands, including Apple, Garmin, and Samsung.
In the midst of all those events, eBay planned an event to go head-to-head with Prime Day on July 15th. The Crash Sale, whose name is a direct dig at Amazon for their website crashes in 2018, promises to release too-good-to-be-true deals if the Amazon site crashes again this year. As if to throw additional shade, eBay has made sure to highlight that, unlike Prime Day, The Crash Sale has no membership requirement for participation.
Walmart’s Take on Prime Day - The Big Save
With hopes of stealing some of the momentum of online shoppers searching for Prime Day deals, Walmart’s sale began July 14th - a day sooner than Prime Day. During this time, orders over $35 were eligible for free two-day shipping or free “NextDay” delivery. Walmart also added that, for their sale, customers do not need a pricey subscription “like other online retailers.”
Hmm...I wonder who they’re talking about.
Target’s Take on Prime Day - Target Deal Days
The next retail giant entering the summer sale sphere is Target. “Target Deal Days” ran from July 15th through the 16th (the same as Prime Day). Target’s take on the July sale featured discounts on hundreds of thousands of items across several departments including home, apparel and toy brands.
Target customers were given same-day delivery or in-store pickup options, and, by using a Target REDcard, saved 5% off their purchases.
They even got back at Amazon with three simple words, “No membership required.”
Who is Doing Prime Day Well?
Amazon has found a way to reward current Prime Members while also enticing new Prime membership sign ups - which seems like the best of both worlds.
250 retailers were estimated to participate in Prime Day 2019, which is an increase compared to the 194 the previous year. Amazon’s first Prime Day only had 7 retailers - quite a growth spurt!
While many of the best Prime Day deals come from Amazon brands, some brands entering the Prime Day space this year are offering exclusive discounts that are sure to sell out.
For example, Sonos put their rarely discounted, top-rated Sonos Beam on sale. Shoppers can get the sound bar for $40 off AND receive a $50 Amazon gift card with their purchase. The use of Prime Day to promote a product that is not typically discounted is a great way to get an excited and ready-to-buy audience in front of your product.
What Does Prime Day Mean for Your Brand?
Brands around the world are seeing the benefit of leveraging Prime Day to feature or launch new products or promotions. That said, with more brands entering the Prime Day arena, coupled with Amazon products getting “prime” real estate, participation means more noise and less consumer attention.
Brand participation could mean big boosts in sales or greater brand awareness, but only if approached in the right way. If your brand is considering taking part in the Prime Day excitement, here are some best practices to keep in mind:
Have enough inventory on hand: Amazon requires all inventory for Prime Day to be shipped by a certain date (around 3 weeks before the sale). Be aware of shipment delays and make sure your product is there on time.
For profit or for exposure: Many brands consider Prime Day as a way to increase product awareness rather than a play to drive enormous profit margins. Grabbing consumer attention now at extreme sale prices could mean loyal customers paying full price the rest of the year. Amazon’s ‘New To Brand’ metric is rolling out for the first time this year, which can give insight into whether using Prime Day to attract new customers is feasible or not.
Promote deals through other channels: Start teasing the sale before the day of the event so current and potential customers can plan to purchase products. Inform followers on social media about upcoming sales in order to increase their anticipation for the big day.
Measure & Optimize: Set goals upfront and test different approaches to the summer mega sale, analyzing and optimizing along the way. This information can not only be used to improve the success of Prime Day next year, but can be leveraged for the fast approaching Q4 holidays.
Summer flash sales is an increasingly popular trend. Deciding whether to participate in Amazon’s Prime Day, eBays’ Crash Sale, Target’s Deal Days, or Walmart’s mid-July sale could prove fruitful for any brand wanting to increase exposure or sales.
What other tidbits can brands learn from Amazon? Check out A Marketing Personalization Guide Inspired by Jeff Bezos!