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Amazon Prime Day 2021 Sales: Top Marketing Gurus Share their Insights

Amazon Prime Day is just a few hours away. On 21 and 22 June, e-commerce merchants would be hoping to make the biggest sales event of 2021 swing their way. Is Amazon making a blunder by pushing ahead with Prime Day Sales in June during a period when its biggest markets are either reeling under COVID-19’s second wave or reeling under economic stress? When one of the biggest sporting events is underway in Europe (Euro2021), will Amazon Prime Day retain its sales numbers?

We will find out what marketing thought leaders think about these factors.

But first, a quick comparison of what Prime Day means to shoppers, retailers, and merchants. Last year, Amazon proved to be the number one e-commerce destination for retailers as well as shoppers. On one hand, Amazon sold goods worth $10.4 billion in 2020; shoppers utilized their Prime membership to scoop $1.4 billion in savings. According to Amazon, this year’s Prime event is going to be the biggest e-commerce event in the history of e-retail, offering 2 million deals across thousands of product categories. Pricing remains the number one attraction for Prime shoppers, followed by customer experience, ease of payment, discounts and delivery.

We spoke to top marketers in the industry who have been watching the Amazon Prime consumer behavior patterns for the last few years. Here’s what they had to say.

Michael Bennett, Managing Partner, ENVOY
Michael Bennett, Managing Partner, ENVOY

Michael Bennett, managing partner at the end-to-end digital consultancy, Envoy (led strategic vision and content for the launch of Amazon’s global appstore) feels that Amazon Prime faces stiff competition from other retailers like Walmart and Target. Prime Day has driven competitors to unify their physical and digital offerings. Today, brands that successfully integrate store operations with e-commerce this year are prepared to elevate the customer experience and build value for the consumer in the “next-normal”.

Your annual reminder: Prime Day is a clearance sale to pump up a subscription business, says, Rick Wilson, CEO of Miva.

Rick Wilson, CEO at Miva
Rick Wilson, CEO at Miva

Rick spoke to us about the Amazon Prime sales trends for 2021.

“An interesting way to look at it is: what does Prime Day actually solve? For consumers, is a high-pressure flash discount on something they don’t really want still a deal?

We can shudder at Prime Day’s masterful use of emotional triggers like countdowns, app alerts, dangling big brands as bait for in-house knockoffs, exclusivity messaging, and a wall of third-party content articles treating the fire sale like a mandatory national holiday. Or, we can answer these tactics with better solutions. Communicate why something is valuable rather than manipulate impulse purchases. Make the case for margins with authenticity/services/community. Support the customer for the entire lifecycle of the product. Radical ideas?

If you’re putting your own inventory and funds towards promoting Amazon’s event, make sure your gains are worth surrendering control and anteing up to the dragon. But mostly, make sure you continue to rep your brand and customer with respect.”

Randy Mercer, VP of Global Product Management at 1WorldSync
Randy Mercer, VP of Global Product Management at 1WorldSync

Randy Mercer, VP of Global Product Management at 1WorldSync (product content provider for Amazon) said, “This Amazon Prime Day, we are seeing big-box retailers preparing for another battle for competing deals. Target and Walmart have already announced that they will be offering Black Friday level deals at the same time as Amazon’s event, and shoppers don’t need to be members of those loyalty programs – potentially scooping up consumers who don’t have Prime enrollment. And while Amazon will undoubtedly see high revenue numbers again this year, the most frequently purchased assortment may look different than it has in years’ past.”

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Randy continued, “After a year in lockdown, many people stocked up on extra housewares, gadgets, and kitchen appliances during the last Prime event.  As the world cautiously opens back up, we might see more purchases for clothing, summer items for pool parties, grill-outs, and celebrations, and even back-to-school supplies. Not to mention, brands like Target have continued to invest in their physical store presence, anticipating the return of eager shoppers who want to get out of the house and see products in person. While consumers are accustomed to online shopping deals, many will be perusing the aisles once again to enjoy sale-searching in person.”

Tom Caporaso, CEO at Clarus Commerce
Tom Caporaso, CEO at Clarus Commerce

Tom Caporaso, CEO of premium loyalty provider Clarus Commerce highlighted a recent survey that surveyed 1,000+ Prime users (primary account holders). It found that 26% of them first joined Prime to get access to Prime Day deals. However, less than 2% said that Prime Day is the reason that they renew their membership YoY. Instead, 78% said they stuck around for the year-long fast, free shipping (and 10% said for the streaming benefits).

He also pointed out that 50 percent of Prime membership account holders are not as eager as in the past for Prime Day shopping. A majority of shoppers would have preferred Prime Day to fall between October and December, instead of summertime. Only 29 percent of the Prime shoppers are OK with the July-September timeline.

Mousumi Behari, Digital Strategy Practice Lead at Avionos
Mousumi Behari, Digital Strategy Practice Lead at Avionos

Mousumi Behari, Digital Strategy Practice Lead at Avionos, pointed that revealed convenience was the top reason consumers shopped at major retailers like Amazon (49%). She has a piece of advice for Amazon this year.

Mousumi thinks Amazon should lean into the convenience factor ahead of Amazon Prime Day and how the real winner between Walmart, Target and Amazon will be the one who can beat the price wars, deliver convenient fulfillment options and offer deep savings.

Heidi Bullock, CMO Tealium
Heidi Bullock, CMO Tealium

 

Heidi Bullock, CMO at Tealium points to customer loyalty. This year customer loyalty is up for grabs as more and more shoppers venture back into brick and mortar locations or otherwise crave new experiences in a post-COVID era.

Heidi says, “Brands should see competitive sales events led by retail giants like Amazon, Target and Walmart as an opportunity to get creative. The two proven ways to earn customer trust are through contextual value exchange and a personalized customer experience, all which can be driven through quality customer data collection.

Chris Elliott, Head of Market Insights at Edge by Ascential
Chris Elliott, Head of Market Insights at Edge by Ascential

Chris Elliott, Head of Market Insights at Edge by Ascential, said: “Amazon doesn’t have the kind of captive audience as it did last year given the easing of social restrictions, yet Prime Day will likely still break new sales records. The epic adoption of e-commerce fuelled by the pandemic also emphasises the significance of deal extravaganzas and heightens the opportunity for brands that sell through Amazon.”

This year, there are three key elements to look out for on Amazon Prime Day:

  • Even greater success for small businesses- Last year, Amazon reported that sales for third-party sellers reached $3.5 billion globally, breaking Amazon records. It supported SMEs over Prime Day 2020, offering £10 for shoppers to spend if they spent £10 with a small business the week before. This has been revived for 2021 and with the $18 billion last year it spent investing in small and medium-sized businesses, leads us to expect Amazon to promote these businesses further and its Amazon Handmade and Amazon Launchpad platforms to boost sales again this year.
  • The best summer deals are coming home –
    • Screens and snacks- When Prime Day kicks off, the Euro 2021 Football Championship will be underway. Expect Amazon and some manufacturers to tap into this with deals targeting fans. You can expect to see deals on televisions, soundbars and even beer and snacks as Amazon is likely to use the higher traffic to showcase its growing grocery offering.
    • Cosmetics, fragrance and clothes: During the lockdowns, sales of cosmetics and fragrances dropped significantly as people were stuck at home. Now with the end of restrictions in sight, sales are starting to rise so Amazon and manufacturers in the category are likely to take advantage of pent-up demand. Amazon may also see this as an opportunity to encourage shoppers to use it’s Prime Wardrobe service.
    • Home improvement and garden: The pandemic prompted a global DIY boom but this has strained the availability of certain key materials. New Brexit-related rules have also put pressure on the supply chain, which were exacerbated by a giant cargo ship getting stuck in the Suez Canal a few months ago. Shoppers hoping to grab a bargain on a BBQ or a swing seat for the garden to enjoy the sunny weather may be disappointed.
  • Increased competition from rivals – In previous years we have seen competition from other UK retailers who would run deals to challenge Amazon Prime Day. Currys ran “Epic Deals” last year and in Germany the fight was very much alive with MediaMarkt and Saturn running rival promotions. The bottom line of omni-channel retailers such as Argos and Currys will have suffered over the last year due to store closures so we can expect more competition, in the form of rival deals, this year as they use this shopping event to bolster sales.

With 90% of purchases on Amazon beginning with search, brands and manufacturers looking to win on Prime Day should include winning keyword auctions for the popular terms shoppers are using to ensure products are visible to shoppers. Moreover, engaging with deals is essential to maximize visibility, those that don’t can have a negative effect after Prime Day with products decreasing in relevancy and organic search rank. Finally, strong A+ content on product listings is crucial. This includes comprehensive, high-quality imagery and videos, a broad and supportive FAQ section and clear and precise product descriptions. This content will make shoppers feel reassured about a purchase and ultimately boost conversion rates.”

 

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