I went to bed with a reminder about Prime Day and woke up this morning with an inbox full of offers from Amazon.com Inc. and other competitors I would most likely refuse.
Having worked in ecommerce and having observed the industry for more than 25 years, for me it just seemed like another day of retailers showcasing products on sale. Of course, the volume is nothing to sneeze at but I wondered: Would I really miss anything if I passed on this retailer-invented holiday?
One thing I noticed was a trend toward stacking deals, and retailers including Macy’s “Free shipping on every order + Black Friday in July” specials. Kohl’s led the way with “48 hours of deals + $10 off +15% off (stack the savings)” deal. I’m sure there were savings to be had, but it was more trouble than it was worth to make these calculations.
In the end, I speculated if I would even be tempted to make a purchase—and in fact I was. I had a coffee pot in mind, and it was now $69.99, down from $89.99-$109.99. But, ironically I made the purchase at Target, which had the best price for the item I wanted. As I was prompted several weeks ago to shop at Whole Foods, the $10 promotion sitting in my Amazon cart kept me coming back for more. Ultimately, I began to scroll through the daily deals and came across a two-piece luggage set marked down to $129 from a high of $400. Knowing I was in the market, I couldn’t resist the price and could conveniently return it should there be any issue.
Prime Day shoppers’ attitudes
Just to confirm how other shoppers viewed Prime Day beyond my audience of one, I took an informal poll of 15 coworkers at Digital Commerce 360 who cover digital commerce on a daily basis to see what their behavior would be. They typically fell into a handful of customer types from buyers to browsers and simply not shopping at all. Replenishment shoppers and those who didn’t want to miss a deal also were part of the discussion.
The browsers would be hunting around in case there was anything they couldn’t live without. One even suggested he would go through his Amazon browsing history and would likely purchase some summer clothes. Another wanted to see what might entice her into making a purchase where she would be gathering ideas. Others were pacing themselves, adding things to their cart and intending to shop on Day 2. Another interesting approach was from those who said they added items of interest to their cart to see if Amazon would extend Prime Day offers on those items, and for one individual, she hit the jackpot. Lastly, several mentioned J.Crew’s sale, as this is a favored retailer who shared some wonderful offers.
A “what do I need” mindset was another approach that several others shared. The FOMO factor, or fear of missing out, was important as some didn’t want to miss an opportunity to take advantage of sales but were unlikely to buy unless it was already on their list. These directed shoppers usually had an item in mind. There was talk from one shopper who was in the market for a new vacuum cleaner. She was not a Prime member but was considering taking the plunge, though in the end she might only opt for the monthly trial. She emphasized that she would be doing comparison shopping, and price would be the driver behind where she bought. Ultimately, after checking with Consumer Reports, the recommended model was only available at Target. She also liked the omnichannel option of being able to return to the store. Another wanted Apple AirPods but found they were not on sale. Lastly, there were several who suggested they might try and seize the moment and push their kids to make a purchase or buy a gift on their list.
In a similar vein, one woman who didn’t have any specifics in mind instead took advantage of the sale to replenish items that were staples in her life. That included garbage bags, eyeliner and mascara. She was a wise shopper who didn’t fall prey to deals she didn’t need but nonetheless wanted to take advantage of savings where she could. Another woman found a few things on her list and mostly they were heavily marked down beauty products, such as a jade roller and Crest White Strips, that were too hard to pass up.
Buyer beware. Of course, there are some good prices and others that will come around again as many of us have learned the hard way. Many of the shoppers say they succumbed while others chose to watch their wallets. One can always be sure when it comes to ecommerce there will always be another deal around the corner. Stay tuned!