Amazon Starts the Clock on Prime Day Hoopla

Amazon has set its third annual Prime Day promotion for July 11, promising its biggest-ever promotion with 30 hours of deals starting at 6:00 p.m. PT on July 10.

The company has expanded the event to China, India and Mexico, to reach a total of 13 international markets. Amazon will go head-to-head with some of its most important international rivals, including Chinese e-commerce player Alibaba, as overseas sales have become an increasingly important share of the e-commerce mix.

“Every part of our business is working to deliver more deals to a record number of shoppers,” said Greg Greeley, vice president, Amazon Prime.

Amazon is offering the lowest prices in 365 days on hundreds of thousands of deals, with millions of items in stock, according to spokesperson Julie Lawson.

Although the company has increased the number of deals from last year and increased the available inventory, it’s likely that some items will sell out during the promotion, she told the E-Commerce Times.

Prime Directive

The promotion is considered a critical part of Amazon’s strategy to grow its Prime membership, which has doubled over the past two years to 80 million members, according to Michael Levin, a partner at Consumer Intelligence Research Partners. Prime members spend an average of US$1,300 per year, compared with the average $700 that non-members spend.

“The merchandise bump, while nice, is barely material to their quarterly results,” Levin told the E-Commerce Times. “The Prime member bump is much more important, given how sticky Prime membership can be.”

Amazon last summer announced that its second annual Prime Day was the biggest single sales day ever, with sales up 60 percent globally compared with the prior year promotion.

Despite those strong results, Prime Day has its critics.

“I’m not a big fan of Prime Day,” said Paula Rosenblum, a partner in RSR Research.

“I tend to view it as an age-old retail tradition, which is to drive traffic at a time when people would otherwise be at the beach. But it’s rather grand just for that,” she told the E-Commerce Times.

The promotion has done a good job in generating new Prime membership, Rosenblum conceded.

“It may generate a great deal of momentary buzz, but the deals that Amazon offers are generally pretty nominal — and interestingly, pretty hard to find,” Michael Jude, a research manager at Stratecast/Frost & Sullivan, told the E-Commerce Times.

It remains unclear how rivals like Walmart plan to respond to this year’s event. Walmart last year offered five days of free shipping and its own series of discounted merchandise, and it since has acquired rival Jet.com and taken other steps to challenge Amazon in the e-commerce space. A Walmart spokesperson was not immediately available to comment for this story.

Amazon intends to emphasize its small business partnerships during the event; 40 percent of the lightning deals will come from small businesses and entrepreneurs.

Partner businesses tripled their year-over-year orders during last year’s Prime Day promotion, according to Amazon.

Amazon Exclusives

Amazon plans a series of special incentives for its most loyal customers:

  • Prime members with Alexa voice-controlled speakers like Amazon Echo, Echo Dot, Echo Show, Amazon Tap or compatible Fire TV or Fire tablets will get special exclusive offers.
  • Prime members with the Amazon app will be able to get special previews with deal alerts and can shop and track them at home or on the go.
  • Prime members in China and Mexico will be able to shop for local deals as well as deals in other countries using the Amazon Global Store.
  • Amazon will offer special deals every day leading up to July 11.
  • Amazon members that stream a video for the first time will get a $10 credit.
  • Prime members can save up to 40 percent on Kindle Unlimited memberships, which allow unlimited reading of more than 1 million titles.
  • Prime members can try Audible for 40 percent off for the first six months, or only $8.95 per month.
  • Prime members can save up to 35 percent off food and household items from the Prime Pantry.
  • On July 11, Amazon is offering Prime members a sneak peak of the second season of The Grand Tour.

David Jones is a freelance writer based in Essex County, New Jersey. He has written for Reuters, Bloomberg, Crain's New York Business and The New York Times.

Leave a Comment

Please sign in to post or reply to a comment. New users create a free account.

Related Stories
More by David Jones
More in E-Commerce

E-Commerce Times Channels