Amazon.com Inc. is poised to host its third annual Prime Day in July.
The retailer, No. 1 in the Internet Retailer 2017 Top 500, has not disclosed the date of this year’s one-day sale, but sources tell Internet Retailer the event will be held the week of July 10-16, and will last for 30 hours. Sources declined to be named, but say some merchants and their vendors are preparing for the promotion. Amazon said it has not announced the date for Prime Day 2017 and declined to comment further.
On July 13, 2016, Amazon Prime vice president Greg Greeley said, “After yesterday’s results, we’ll definitely be doing this again.”
Prime Day 2016, the one-day sale held Tuesday, July 12, was the biggest sales day in Amazon’s 21-year history, the retailer said. Amazon declined to provide the gross value of goods sold on its website that day, but Internet Retailer estimates Prime Day 2016 sales were $2.5 billion globally, up from $1.5 billion in 2015, when Amazon held the inaugural sale to mark its 20th anniversary.
Amazon said last year that customers worldwide placed 60% more orders on Prime Day 2016 than they did a year earlier. Orders from U.S. shoppers were up more than 50% year over year, and the number of orders placed on Amazon’s mobile app more than doubled compared with Prime Day 2015, the company said. In 2015, Amazon said it sold more than 34 million items on Prime Day.
Although the company did not disclose the number of products sold in 2016, Amazon did say that electronic items were popular: It sold more than 90,000 TVs and hundreds of thousands of Kindle e-readers on Prime Day. Shoppers bought three times the number of Amazon devices than they did on Prime Day 2015.
Traffic to Amazon.com hit 81.6 million visits on Prime Day last year, 57% higher than the 51.9 million visits recorded the on July 5, the previous Tuesday, according to Hitwise, a provider of online traffic data that is part of online marketing technology firm Connexity.
An Internet Retailer survey on July 13, 2016, the day after Prime Day, showed that 19.4% of respondents bought something from Amazon on Prime Day. Forrester Research estimates there were 244 million online shoppers in the U.S. last year, which suggests that roughly 46 million Americans bought something from Amazon on Prime Day. Internet Retailer surveyed 191 online shoppers in the U.S. who have purchased something online in the past year.
Of those surveyed, 41.9% said they browsed Amazon.com or used one of its mobile apps on Prime Day. Consumers were fairly pleased with promotions Amazon served up for Prime Day, as 52.8% of consumers who purchased something described their shopping experience as excellent, while 38.9% described it as good, 8.3% said it was fair, and none described it as poor.
For marketplace merchants that sell on Amazon.com, the results from Prime Day 2016 were mixed, and overall appeared to have been significantly lower than Amazon’s own sales gains on that day.
Marketplace sales grew a scant 1% year over year on Prime Day 2016 for CommerceHub retail customers, which include brands and retailers compared with the Prime Day 2015, which was July 15, a Wednesday. In fact, marketplace sales of ChannelAdvisor e-retailers were down 3% compared with Prime Day last year in the U.S., and up 12% over Prime Day 2015 in the United Kingdom. CommerceHub and ChannelAdvisor help companies facilitate sales on online marketplaces such as Amazon.
CommerceHub and ChannelAdvisor’s data does not include sales of Amazon’s own inventory, including products such as the Echo voice-activated digital assistant devices, Kindle and Fire devices, and others that had significant Prime Day promotions. Additionally, these numbers reflect same-store sales, which means CommerceHub and ChannelAdvisor are reporting data for merchants that were selling on Amazon last year, and does not include new Amazon sellers.
Colin Sebastian, e-commerce analyst at Robert W. Baird & Co., said in July that while some marketplace sellers saw a bump, not all retailers had positive results on Prime Day. “While orders to Amazon marketplace sellers nearly tripled year over year, our conversations with multiple third-party sellers suggested there were some big winners [sellers that benefited from planning ahead and partnering with Amazon for some deals] and losers [sellers who saw no change or lower order volume yesterday],” Sebastian wrote in a note to investors after Prime Day last year.
For this year’s event, experts say marketplace merchants should prepare in advance and work with suppliers and manufacturers to be profitable on heavily discounted Prime Day products.
“To get a share of consumer spend, get creative with promotions and reach out to vendors to support you. Get the manufacturers to give you co-op advertising on the products you will be promoting,” Lauren Freedman, senior vice president of digital strategy and chief merchant at The e-Tailing Group, an Astound Commerce company, said after Prime Day 2016.
“Plan far in advance for any items that you want to promote, and buy at promotional prices,” Paula Rosenblum, managing partner at RSR Research, said last year after Prime Day. “One thing Amazon seems to be doing is offering ‘special bundles’ that make it tough to actually compare prices. If you can get your vendors to do the same, then do so.”
Furthermore, participating in Prime Day isn’t necessarily a strategy for long-term customer acquisition for marketplace merchants, says Eric Best, CommerceHub’s chief strategy officer. “This is a great opportunity to generate volume in a generally slow sales season,” Best says. Additionally, it’s an opportunity for merchants to put themselves in front of Prime customers, who shop twice as often—sometimes as much as five times as often—and who spend more at checkout than non-Prime customers, Best says.Favorite