Amazon.com’s Prime Day is now widely recognized as both a threat and a boon to other merchants, who stand to lose ground to the online giant or benefit from increased shopping activity across the Web — or both. With last-minute tactics that spotlight omnichannel capabilities, merchants have the opportunity to tilt the balance in their favor.
Prime Day is thought to be set for July 16 this year and will offer Prime club members exclusive deals on a bevy of items. Initially held as part of Amazon’s 20th anniversary celebrations, Prime Day is now heading into its fourth year, and has become a Christmas-in-July-like event that generates hype — and sales — for the online giant. In 2017, Amazon reported that Prime Day sales topped the prior year’s Black Friday and Cyber Monday totals, and generated more new Prime club signups than on any other day previously.
As the event’s popularity has soared, not only have merchants selling via Amazon’s third-party marketplace seen a boost — but other retailers have succeeded with promotions intended to compete with Prime Day. Last year, close to half of the sellers on Internet Retailer’s list of top 100 companies offered Prime Day alternatives in the hopes of capturing the attention of the 76% of shoppers who told Bazaarvoice they’d check sites other than Amazon for deals.
The lift for other retailers on Prime Day can be substantial, with brands seeing conversion rates jump by as much as 41% and a sales boost of some 57% last year, according to commerce marketer Criteo; even those not offering a Prime Day-related promotion saw a revenue bump of 5%.
While it’s too late for merchants to upgrade their eCommerce software or Web site personalization in time for this year’s Prime day, they can still position themselves to take advantage of the spike in shopping activity — with omnichannel fulfillment and one-to-one personalization playing a key role. Among the techniques to consider:
Put stores front and center. Amazon’s acquisition of upmarket grocer Whole Foods was too fresh on last year’s Prime Day to have had much impact on the day’s offerings — but this year is likely to be another story. Amazon has recently rolled out Whole Foods discounts available exclusively to Prime members, and Prime Day 2018 is likely to see a similarly integrated effort.
Retailers with physical outlets should make stores the centerpiece of their own Prime Day promotions — both by highlighting special store events and discounts for the occasion and by touting the ability to use stores for fast, free, convenient order fulfillment via Buy Online, Pickup In-Store (BOPIS) that rivals home delivery via Prime.
Play up the everyday savings contrast. Promoting BOPIS as a year-round, free fulfillment option isn’t the only way merchants can position themselves against Prime Day’s flash-sale hype. By spotlighting such omnichannel offerings as everyday free shipping policies, fuss-free returns in stores, and post-purchase support across touchpoints, merchants message brand value that goes beyond individual product prices.
Spotlight concierge loyalty service. Given that Prime Day is, at heart, a giant promotion of Amazon’s paid membership club, merchants should do their utmost to showcase the perks that come with their own loyalty programs — from easy reordering via mobile eCommerce apps to in-store clienteling services that draw on past interactions with the brand. Potential loyalty rewards should be spotlighted extensively both in stores and online, as Kibo merchant World Market does with a dedicated page accessible from the global header.
Shoppers increasingly appreciate brands’ abilities to save them time and money by curating offerings to reflect their preferences; indeed, more than half of shoppers say their purchase decisions are influenced by personalized content, according to Kibo’s Consumer Trends report. Merchants who can combine shoppers’ preferences and order histories with deep, rich content can go beyond Amazon’s broad-but-shallow carousel of products to create unique, engaging shopping experiences. Merchants can further demonstrate real-life relevance by creating campaigns on social media, the eCommerce site, and in stores that spotlight user reviews, photos, and testimonials.
Save discounts for where it counts.
While the impulse to slash prices across the board to keep up with Prime Day deals is tempting, merchants are unlikely to win a race to the bottom, given Amazon’s deep pockets. Instead, sellers should focus their Prime Day discounting on the top sellers and trending items that shoppers seek out most, and drop prices for those items as low as their margins can withstand. To drive volume, merchants should align paid search spend and other digital advertising for the day to focus on those products, and optimize content resources to the hilt with how-to instructions, product demonstration videos, and imagery.
How are you preparing for Prime Day, and what special discounts will you offer, if any?