How Retailers Can Use Prime Day’s Momentum
As Prime Day approaches, Amazon.com will be in the spotlight. But this summer deals bonanza will cast a glow on the retail industry as a whole.
With consumers, well, primed to shop, expect an atmosphere similar to that of Black Friday. In fact, thanks to Prime Day and competing sales that cluster around it, this midsummer flurry of sales is often called Black Friday in July.
Tips for Riding the Prime Day Wave
During Prime Day 2017, online retailers experienced an average 13 percent lift in traffic (compared to the same hours the previous two weeks), consumer research company Signal found in an August 2017 analysis of its site-tracking data.
If Prime Day is the high tide that lifts all boats, here’s how retailers can use that surge advantageously:
1. Emphasize that you’re not charging cover for your sale.
Prime Day requires Prime membership — recently increased to $119 a year, up from $99. BlackFriday.com conducted an Amazon consumer shopping survey in June and found that 45 percent of American consumers don’t have Prime. Furthermore, 32 percent of those with a Prime membership are considering canceling due to the price hike.
That leaves a sizable contingent of consumers who may be locked out of Prime Day — and who may be attracted to concurrent sales they can participate in that require no membership requirements or fees.
2. Consider your visibility to comparison shoppers.
BlackFriday.com’s survey found that 49 percent of shoppers always compare prices before buying something on Amazon (year-round, not just on Prime Day).
However, deals run out fast on Prime Day. Therefore, while nearly half of consumers have the impulse to comparison shop, they will have only so much time to do so on Prime Day. Even if a retailer’s price wins over Amazon’s price on Prime Day, that retailer will still lose if consumers can’t find that out quickly enough.
Given how fast-paced Prime Day is, merchants will want to make it as easy as possible for comparison-shopping consumers to see prices side by side. That means calibrating their comparison shopping engine strategy so that consumers can see on Google Shopping, Nextag and others when their prices beat Amazon’s.
Retailers can also capture the attention of comparison shoppers by cutting through the noise. Prime Day is overwhelming. Therefore, retailers that highlight a few great deals on high-demand products (and advertise them early via email and social media) have a chance at sticking out in the minds of price-conscious shoppers. Which types of products are in highest demand on Prime Day shoppers’ lists? According to BlackFriday.com’s survey, electronics and home goods came out on top, with 41 percent of shoppers saying they’re looking for deals in each of those categories.
3. Don’t ignore the convenience factor.
Price shouldn’t be the only focus in attracting shoppers during Prime Day. More than half (54 percent) of consumers surveyed by BlackFriday.com say they choose Amazon because of convenience. Fast shipping is another important perk. Forty-one percent of survey respondents say it’s a deciding factor. Low prices, meanwhile, are less of a factor, with 36 percent saying they’re a reason they choose to buy from Amazon.
Amazon Prime does offer a hard-to-beat premise — free two-day shipping on millions of eligible products. Therefore, retailers that want to compete on Prime Day would be smart to advertise any temporary free or expedited shipping promos they're running. Retailers that offer free same-day store pickup may even beat Amazon at the immediacy game.
The Bottom Line
The point isn’t to beat Amazon on Prime Day. Instead, the strategy is to understand that deal-hungry, comparison-shopping, convenience-minded consumers are out in force on Prime Day; use those preferences to attract them.
Kristin McGrath is the editor of BlackFriday.com, which tracks and analyzes deals during major shopping holidays, including Black Friday, Cyber Monday and Prime Day.