With what will be its third annual Prime Day sale, Amazon.com Inc. will get consumers thinking about shopping more than they usually do in early July. And experts say there’s no reason why Amazon alone should benefit from that uptick in deal-hunting activity.
While Amazon hasn’t announced when Prime Day 2017 will be, and likely won’t for weeks—it announced last year’s July 12 sale on June 30—sources tell Internet Retailer it will take place in the second week of July. The smart money is betting on or right around Wednesday, July 12.
Amazon can be expected to capture the biggest part of sales that day. According to Slice Intelligence, 77% of online purchases by U.S. consumers on last year’s Prime Day, Tuesday, July 12, 2016, were made on Amazon.com, versus 42% for the July days leading up to the event. Slice principal analyst Ken Cassar says Amazon’s sales on Prime Day 2016 were 27% higher than its sales on Cyber Monday the year before, and that Prime Day was Amazon’s biggest sales day ever at that time. Amazon, No. 1 in the Internet Retailer 2017 Top 500, only beat that record on Cyber Monday 2016, when its sales were 6% higher than on Prime Day. Slice doesn’t report sales in dollars.
But Prime Day will be a big opportunity for all online retailers, if last year’s strong online shopping activity is any indication. ComScore Inc. says 49.3 million consumers visited U.S. retail sites on Prime Day 2016, more than 83% of the 59.2 million U.S. consumers who shopped online on Cyber Monday 2016, the Monday after Thanksgiving. And as Amazon Prime Day deals sell out, many will be looking elsewhere for similar product.
Here is advice from four e-commerce sites on how Amazon’s competitors can take advantage of the interest in Prime Day 2017 to boost their own sales and acquire new customers:
- Start your anti-Prime Day sales early, says John Landsman, director of strategy and analysis at eDataSource, a provider of email research and analysis. Remember that Amazon will start offering deals as soon as it announces Prime Day, making it effectively a week or more of sales. Retailers that organize their own sales events should promote them heavily well before Prime Day, including on the July 4 weekend. Be sure to send emails about a planned sales event to any consumer who recently abandoned a shopping cart on your site or who opened a marketing email but did not purchase.
- Don’t over-discount, says Nathan Rigby, vice president of sales and marketing at One Click Retail, a provider of online retail analytics. While discounts of less than 25% don’t attract many eyeballs on Amazon Prime Day, anything over 60% is just giving away margin. The optimal discount percentage on Amazon Prime Day last year was 41%, he says.
- Be ready to match prices where it makes sense, says Stefan Weitz executive vice president of technology services at Radial, a provider of fulfillment, customer service and fraud prevention services to online and multichannel retailers. As Amazon releases deals, decide whether it makes sense to respond with similar deals, or perhaps something a bit different, such as offering a 4-pack instead of a single item that Amazon is promoting. And when first-time visitors arrive at your website give them an incentive to enroll in email or become a social media follower, providing a way to turn those Prime Day bargain-hunters into future customers.
- Have enough product in stock, especially if you are offering Prime Day deals on Amazon, says Erin McElwee, e-commerce conversion consultant at Blue Acorn, a consulting firm that specializes in e-commerce site development and optimization. Anticipate that Prime Day will drive a lot more traffic and make sure enough product is on hand to meet demand, she says.