Forget Black Friday—the third week of July is turning into one of the biggest shopping times of the year.
Amazon Prime Day is a mega-sale with deep discounts and flash deals on popular items, exclusive for Amazon Prime members. Since starting in 2015, each Prime Day has topped the previous year’s sale numbers. This year, Prime Day is scheduled for July 15 and 16. After past glitches and criticism, Amazon is out to prove that Prime Day is all about providing value to customers.
Prime Day is wildly popular, but some customers experienced issues in past years with glitches and system outages. Last year, Amazon crashed at the start of Prime Day when many customers were jumping on to get great deals. The crash happened within 15 minutes of the start of the sale and left Amazon scrambling to get things up and running.
Other customers were critical of the quality of deals, saying that the items weren’t as discounted as advertised and that many big-ticket items sold out before they even had a chance to shop. However, even with these issues, Amazon sold more than 100 million products in 36 hours.
In 2019, Amazon is using past feedback and issues to create a better experience. Prime Day will run for a full 48 hours. This year, the experience kicks off early with an exclusive Taylor Swift concert for Prime members, followed by a sale on Amazon Music subscriptions.
Aside from flash deals and exclusive savings on its website, Amazon’s physical locations, including Whole Foods and Amazon Books, are also expected to join in on Prime Day deals for a stronger omnichannel experience.
More than in past years, it seems Amazon is placing a larger emphasis on connecting with customers this year and proving that their Prime membership is more than worth the cost.
“It’s the single largest day that we have of acquiring new members,” says Prime vice president Cem Sibay. “But what’s more important is the engagement by existing members. It’s considered a core benefit of Prime.”
As is usually the case for Amazon, other retailers are following in its footsteps. Target is having Deal Days on the same days as Prime Day. The store announced it will have discounts on thousands of items on its website, but in an advantage over Amazon, no membership is required and shoppers will be able to pick up many of their online orders in store the same day. Those extra perks could go a long way in creating a more convenient and enticing experience for customers.
Target ran a competing sale to last year’s Prime Day, which ended up being one of the store’s biggest days for online sales. With a longer sale and more perks this year, Target could potentially blow last year’s sale out of the water.
eBay is also running a “crash sale” with deals starting on July 1 but picking up on July 15 with deep discounts on top brands. In a direct jab at Amazon, eBay said it will offer more deals if Amazon’s website crashes. Walmart is also throwing its hat into the ring with a week of online sales that starts July 14, likely in an effort to scoop Amazon customers.
With so many competitors likely putting similar items on sale, the deciding factor could be customer experience. Brands need to deliver a convenient and reliable experience for customers who are eager to score good deals.
Amazon Prime Day has upped the stakes of mid-summer shopping. Even with more competition than previous years, Amazon’s renewed commitment to customers could help deliver another record-breaking year.