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Amazon Prime Day 2021 Sales: Top Marketing Insights

If you offer an omnichannel experience to your customers, you have 91% higher chances of increasing your customer retention. When it comes to understanding omnichannel customer experience, Amazon Prime Day is a great example. Amazon’s e-commerce platform is a powerful entity in online retailing industry that recreates amaz-ing customer journeys by unifying data, customer support, and Cloud/ AI capabilities.

Prime Day – the busiest day of the year for the largest e-commerce platform in the world, Amazon – is returning to its original summertime schedule this month.

In Part 2 of the Amazon Prime Day Sale coverage, we featured additional insights from the top marketing leaders in the industry who have been closely analyzing the e-commerce industry.

Lockdown Influences Amazon Prime Day Sales

While pandemic restrictions have eased back in some regions, others are still under lockdown. Due to travel restrictions and pandemic safety precautions, many consumers will be seizing the opportunity to purchase discounted items online – especially as gifts for loved ones they won’t get to see this summer. In addition:

  • Customer service agents are still working remotely in many regions, and potentially hindered by restrictions of their at-home environment, such as poor WiFi bandwidth and hardware access which impacts voice quality and can result in dropped calls;
  • Any products purchased are subject to potential returns, due to consumers either being unhappy with the purchase or desiring an exchange for a gift;
  • The busiest day of the year for Amazon will undoubtedly result in shipping and logistics delays;
  • Customer service issues will inevitably increase as well because of increased returns and order processing.

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To prevent customer frustration and poor customer service, third-party vendors on Amazon Prime will need to implement strategic customer experience (CX) strategies to both enable and validate contact center processes to ensure all CX operations are running smoothly.

Amazon Prime Day Sale: It’s All About ‘Attraction’

Hugh Fletcher [Wunderman Thompson Commerce]
Hugh Fletcher [Wunderman Thompson Commerce]

Hugh Fletcher, Global Head of Consultancy and Innovation at Wunderman Thompson Commerce, said, “The 48-hour shopping mania that is Amazon’s Prime Day is likely to be the biggest yet. This ‘peak’ day is absolutely vital to Amazon but it’s not just about deals; it’s also about attraction. Turning shoppers into Prime members is a key strategic goal for the company as Prime members spend a higher percentage of their online spend via Amazon than non-Prime members.  What’s more, With Covid-19 causing havoc for retailers, 35% of all shopping during lockdown was completed through Amazon, and, as of today, we’re likely to see this loyal customer base visiting the platform in their droves to snap up the latest deals.

“During the pandemic period, while many retailers’ supply chain faltered due to increased demand, Amazon’s thrived. In fact, due to its variety, competitive price points, and next-day delivery, it not only benefits from the pent-up demand, but its stellar performance also increased consumers’ positive perception of the brand by 25%. Amazon’s success over the last 12-months has proven that brands need to feature on the platform to cash in on the global audience it demands, it’s no longer a ‘nice-to-have’. This is especially true as last year, the platform committed to spending more than £75 million on promotional activities leading up to Prime Day to enable smaller businesses around the world to increase their sales funnel and reach new audiences – with this figure likely to be replicated again this time around.”

Hugh added, “With millions of consumers now well aware of the benefits of online shopping, Amazon is set to triumph today and tomorrow. With the easing of restrictions hanging in the balance, it’s now up to brands to seize the moment and devise a staunch strategy with Amazon which complements their own channels and satisfies consumers at every touch-point.”

Amazon’s Third-Party Vendors Are Set to Enjoy the Same Uptick in Sales

Jat Sahi, Retail Consulting Industry Lead for Fujitsu UK, said –

“Irrespective of the easing or tightening of restrictions this month, an earlier than usual Amazon Prime Day is set to break sales records the world over – as it has done every year since 2015. And, while the date itself may have changed, the retail giant is primed to make the same splash over what might otherwise have been a dormant shopping period.

“With social distancing measures still firmly in place and foreign travel seemingly canceled, the usual spend on summer holiday wares will likely falter – but spending on products to make a summer at home more entertaining could yet work in Amazon’s favor. Between the pent-up demand accumulated over lockdown and the eCommerce gold rush that’s materialized from the pandemic, Amazon’s steadfast supply chains are watertight enough to provide the speed and convenience consumers are on the hunt for. And it’s not all at the expense of its competitors; Amazon’s third-party vendors are set to enjoy the same uptick in sales today and tomorrow thanks to its unflinching digital infrastructure.

“After a difficult year for the retail sector, Amazon has refused to stop innovating and creating. With an ever-growing workforce and significant physical footprint, this year’s Prime Day could even be Amazon’s biggest ever. For smaller retailers struggling to decide on their next steps, it’ll be a case of joining them this year – because they certainly won’t beat them.”

Third-Party Amazon Vendors Should Leverage Automation to Meet CX Demands that Spike During Booming Events

Dennis Reno, VP of CX at Cyara
Dennis Reno, VP of CX at Cyara

Dennis Reno, VP of CX at Cyara (a company that provides automated CX validation solutions),  explains how third-party Amazon vendors can leverage automation to ensure seamless customer experiences during Prime Day.

Dennis said, “Peak purchasing days for any retailers, including Amazon, test and stress customer journeys and contact center capabilities. Because of this, retailers should prioritize automation to remain competitive in today’s post-pandemic e-commerce market, especially on peak purchasing days such as Prime Day. Automated CX testing technology is key to keeping pace with customer expectations, simply because it enables teams to be more efficient while remaining focused on the right things. This is critical because vendors are feeling more pressure than ever to work faster, provide exceptional customer experiences without errors and meet shorter order-to-delivery deadlines. For example, if your product ships in 24 hours but your competitor ships in 6 hours, your business will always be at a perpetual CX disadvantage.”

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Dennis added, “By reducing the amount of manual testing a team must perform regularly to ensure customer service systems are functioning properly, you can improve CX efficiency, tighten up delivery and return schedules and ultimately win over and retain customers. Additionally, automated testing can give retailers insights on the quality of the calls being taken by their agents. Many customer service agents still working remotely in many regions, and potentially hindered by restrictions of their at-home environment, such as poor WiFi bandwidth and hardware access which impacts voice quality, can result in dropped calls and has a negative effect on the overall experience.”

Dennis also explained the role of AI and ML-based automation in online retail. He said, “Retail AI- and machine learning-driven automation can also help retailers learn about their customer base, customer preferences and behavioral patterns. In the last few years, AI has become able to even study customers in such depth that it can anticipate what products they need to buy and when. This can be highly beneficial to drive additional business during peak purchasing days and has the potential to improve the customer’s experience as well.”

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Stephen Warrington, Global Vice President of e-commerce and Retail at Jellyfish said, “Amazon Prime Day has become a mainstay in the calendar, a peak moment that no retailer can afford to ignore. It’s an unparalleled opportunity to reach a global network of shoppers, expand the share of voice and maximize ROI. But, there is a fine balancing act to be achieved here for retailers and brands – shy away from Amazon’s worldwide audience, or create a strategy alongside the e-commerce giant? The stark reality is that consumers have changed their approach to shopping now – they not only see Amazon as a place to purchase high-quality brands but also as a place to engage, build relationships and create stronger connections with products and services.

Stephen added, “Part of this is down to Amazon’s approach to innovation – it often leads the way in technology-driven adoption, be it voice-activation, drone delivery and even the ‘Brand Store’, which enables retailers to design their own virtual storefront and create a seamless shopping experience. For partnering retailers, it’s about finding the right balance between working with Amazon’s array of technology and creating a strategy that offers access to the heart of Amazon’s vast audience, both before, during, and after the 48-hour shopping bonanza. For the retailers that already sell on Amazon, Prime Day does offer the potential to increase sales, but it still comes at a cost in the form of market share. It’s a tightrope that, unfortunately, many retailers have to walk.”

Amazon Prime Day Creates a Halo Effect on the Broader Retail Landscape

Seraj Bharwani, CSO, AcuityAds
Seraj Bharwani, CSO, AcuityAds

Seraj Bharwani, CSO, AcuityAds said, “Amazon Prime Day has become the largest retail sales event for Amazon, even bigger than Black Friday and Cyber Monday by sales volume. The company is expected to generate over $12 Billion in sales from Amazon Prime Day 2021, growing by almost 20 percent over last year’s sales event.

Data shows that what’s good for Amazon is good for the entire retail ecosystem. Amazon Prime Day creates a halo effect on the broader retail landscape with competitors like Walmart, Target and others who jump into the foray by offering their own promotions and benefitting from the shopping frenzy that Amazon Prime Day creates nationally. Sales volume on products with deals grow by over 40% to 70% during the sales period.”

Seraj added, “Amazon Prime Day will alter the pre-Summer-vacation consumer journeys. Since this year’s sales event is happening in June, I expect a major shift in shopping behaviors with consumers searching for deals on games, toys, electronics, travel gear and summer apparel before going on vacations. DTC brands should capitalize on this pre-vacation, shopping window and revamp their omnichannel advertising plans to fully benefit from the Amazon Prime Day halo effect.”

Seraj concluded, “Amazon Prime Day is of greater consequence this year for those who want to support small and local businesses. American Express pioneered the concept of Small Business Saturday, an event that traditionally happens on the Saturday after Thanksgiving, should consider doing an early version of this event around Amazon Prime Day to help the local businesses that were the hardest hit from COVID over the past 18 months. Similarly, Shopify should build on the Amazon Prime Day halo and leverage the momentum in support of millions of small businesses that run on their shopping platform.”

Customer Expectations for Green Delivery Are Growing

Ian Gardner, CEO at GoFor Industries, a provider of last-mile, on-demand, and same-day delivery solutions for suppliers and retailers, said, “Prime Day is the culmination of growing customer expectations for affordability, convenience and speed. Delivery in a matter of hours is becoming the consumer standard, as seen with Target and Walmart offering competing sales events. But the true winner will be the retailer that is not only the quickest and most efficient to deliver, but that focuses on sustainability at every level of fulfillment.”

Ian added, “Customer expectations for green delivery are growing. We’ve seen Amazon investing in Rivian electric vehicles in response, FedEx partnering with Chanje Energy, UPS partnering with Arrival, DHL building their own captive Streetscooter fleet and GoFor partnering with a soon to be announced commercial EV OEM.”

“If retailers who are not on the Amazon Marketplace want to compete and use delivery as a competitive advantage, they need to be talking to last-mile delivery partners who can help them. –  They need to scale up their capacity for same-day and next-day delivery and they need to be considering EVs and other sustainable transportation methods, rather than just simply marking down prices. This means forging strategic delivery partnerships that can help them and that have expertise in  the implementation of  green practices throughout their entire delivery ecosystem, while not sacrificing scalability and efficiency, especially during peak shopping holidays such as Prime Day.”

This Is a Great Opportunity for Them to Get Creative With Their Customer Data Strategy

Heidi Bullock, CMO at Tealium said, “Amazon Prime Day, Target Deal Days and other major shopping events should prompt brands to rethink their approach to attracting and retaining customers. In fact, this is a great opportunity for them to get creative with their customer data strategy. As customers are presented with new choices, like the decision to return to in-store shopping, stay online or a hybrid of both, brands have a chance to regain the customer loyalty they may have lost during the pandemic. Customers not only crave new experiences, but they also want to make sure they’re receiving value from the brands they choose to shop with. That’s why brands that can leverage data to provide personalized customer experiences will win out on Prime Day and beyond. However, it’s also important that brands practice tactics like contextual value exchange so customers understand that a request for data is contextual to the value being offered — otherwise, loyalty and trust will fall through the cracks. Without transparency, it is nearly impossible for brands to create the tailored experiences their customers want.”

Todd Morris, CEO of Label Insight a NielsenIq company, “The large majority of online shoppers are searching for products based on diet and lifestyle needs such as keto and gluten-free, not by brand name, and Prime Day will be a prime example of this. Competition is fierce amongst retailers, with online shopping being the ultimate battleground, but it’s also a channel with massive potential to better serve customers looking for products, across categories, based on their specific health needs like diabetes and high blood pressure. To break through the competition is two-fold: retailers must use a sophisticated data-driven approach to provide comprehensive product information as well as understand customer’s preferences and shopping habits. Tapping into this breadth of knowledge opens the door to a wealth of opportunities for retailers. It also enables them to curate their e-commerce selection, offers and promotions to create a better overall shopping experience especially during major events like Prime Day. Ultimately, the retailer who embraces this approach will be the one who successfully meets today’s rapidly changing consumer preferences and who differentiates themselves in the competitive market.”

Steve Ricketts, Head of eCommerce at MediaCom said, “Throughout the pandemic, there has been a significant shift in consumer shopping behavior towards e-commerce – something Amazon is taking full advantage of this Prime Day. For many, Amazon is now the start of the purchasing journey, ahead of the likes of Google, and through their extensive customer base, it possesses a rich supply of first-party customer data which informs sales and marketing. Thanks to this, Amazon can offer unprecedented levels of targeting, discounts and incentives which guarantees that Prime Day is one of the biggest retail events of the year.”

Steve added, “Now, Amazon needs to further invest in tools for more branded content and customer engagement experiences if it hopes to keep this up. One area that is rapidly posing a challenge to the brand is the emergence of social commerce. If executed correctly, social commerce creates unique customer experiences that remain on the social platform, instead of directing users to a retailer, while simultaneously increasing sales revenue and growth at scale. Through the use of APIs and digital tools, Amazon might look to create a more intuitive platform that incentives other brands to sell their goods on its platform. Implementing this more robust digital strategy will entice consumers to form an even stronger affiliation with Amazon and maintain its position as the largest and most successful online retailer in the world.”

[To share your insights, please write to us at sghosh@martechseries.com]

 

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