Amazon’s Prime Day has come and gone and the million dollar question seems to be: why did it seem like such a flop? It’s clear that Prime Day was not quite what Amazon had hoped for, but what was that anyway? What was the end goal of Prime Day? More summer shopper dollars? Publicity? Prime subscribers? Our gut tells us that if it was Prime subscribers they were after, they might be surprised at the number of customers who drop off before the 30-day mark, especially with the vast majority of shoppers having found this experience to be a bust.
We’re just surprised that so many retailers took the Prime Day bait. Walmart U.S., Food Lion, and Newegg are just a few of the retailers that fought back with their own sales promotions and discounts. Others made less modest reactions by adjusting current or planned promotions, like Best Buy and Target’s Black Friday in July promotions and Old Navy’s tailored email marketing campaign, alerting customers of new “Prime” deals. Walmart U.S. arguably fought back the hardest with direct jabs at Amazon’s Prime Day, publically stating that customers shouldn’t have to pay a premium to save and then promptly announcing their own rival sales promotion.
This isn’t the first time Amazon and Walmart have crossed paths and it won’t be the last. The two retail titans have been battling it out across all categories, including nascent e-commerce categories as they come online (see our Retail Titan’s report for more insights). The latest frontier is U.S. grocery, with retailers quickly developing their online grocery offerings and testing out different pricing strategies, including Food Lion, who seemed to have joined the Prime party and announced price drops on thousands of items. And although programs like Amazon Fresh might be top of mind at the moment, let’s not forget that Walmart is already an established in-store grocery success with their ‘Neighborhood Market’, garnering over 25% of the market. So frankly, the two battling it out on July promotions, really comes as no surprise.
What’s not at all surprising is the stir Prime Day caused on social media. If publicity is what they wanted, they got it! Though, not in the way Amazon may have expected. From angry tweets, to comedic Facebook posts, to disgruntled forums and blog posts, Prime Day just about broke the internet. Here are a few of our favourite disgruntled tweets:
Some are even comparing Prime Day to Amazon’s very own garage sale and noting that it feels more like April Fools Day in July.
Industry experts and analysts have been buzzing for weeks, trying to determine whether or not Prime Day would make a big enough impact to shift consumer shopping behavior and draw out more shopper dollars. Historically, even with hot door buster deals, retailers have been unable to lure consumers away from their summer plans long enough to spend any significant amount of money – nothing close to rivaling spend on Black Friday or Cyber Monday, anyway. Although, Amazon appears to be contesting this with their latest press release, claiming that their Prime event broke global records and has exceed their 2014 Black Friday sales. We will admit, Amazon set themselves up well, especially since they strategically aligned Prime Day with the 15th of the month – payday for many shoppers. However, though these results seem to have appeased Amazon, it may have caused irreparable damage to Amazon’s relationship with their customers.
Here’s where retailers need to pay attention! Amazon missed a big opportunity here. They had the press. Shoppers were ready to open their wallets. They even had the online advantage over major competitors like Walmart – with Amazon’s one click check out versus Walmart’s exhausting multi-step payment process, and the advantage of copycats on the bandwagon lending credibility to a real savings day. Yet, they still appeared to have missed the mark with shoppers. As the dust begins to settle, it’s evident that most shoppers are surrounded by clouds of overwhelming disappointment and frustration about this poor attempt at Christmas in July. Amazon, this is not your best work – and that’s great news for retailers.