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Amazon Prime Day 2020, the COVID-19 Edition

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We are about to witness an Amazon Prime Day like no other, launched into uncharted waters due to the COVID-19 pandemic. But how successful might the long anticipated Prime Day 2020 be?

Prime Day 2020 Example 1
Amazon confirm date of Prime Day 2020 as 13th-14th October – Image source: Gamespot

Hold the date! Amazon has confirmed that Prime Day 2020 will run across 13th-14th October.

What is Amazon Prime Day?

Launched in July 2015 as a deal-filled online shopping day to celebrate Amazon’s 20th anniversary, Prime Day was tailored exclusively to Prime subscribers, with Amazon promoting that the first edition would feature “more deals than Black Friday”[1].

Over the years, Prime Day has been an opportunity for Amazon to showcase its latest gadgets and a boost to brands who list their products on Amazon, culminating in sales of 175 million items in 2019[2].

The deals available are usually split between Deals of the Day and Lightning Deals, which offer discounts for a limited time and in limited quantity, aimed at activating increased interest and a sub-conscious ‘must have’ purchasing response. The tactics which brands might employ to maximise on the varied opportunities are discussed in a previous eBusiness Institute article, which looked at lessons learnt from the past and what brands need to do to win on Prime Day.

COVID-19 delays Amazon Prime Day 2020

The surge in online shopping caused by the COVID-19 pandemic is expected to add £5.3bn to UK eCommerce sales this year to make a total of £78.9bn[3]. This trend is replicated across much of the world.

Amazon is expected to benefit the most from this surge in demand for online retail, adding an extra £2bn in UK sales alone by the end of 2020[3].

Historically, large retailers have seen an average uplift of 68% in online sales during Amazon Prime Day, and smaller niche retailers a 28% boost in digital sales[4].

Searches on Amazon’s rivals’ websites soared by 225% during Prime Day 2019[5]. Consumers are shopping around for even better discounts, checking that prices really are a good deal, or looking for specifics that are maybe not covered by Prime Day.

The hype surrounding Amazon Prime Day and indeed Black Friday, Cyber Monday and many other shopping extravaganzas, is clearly driving increased online searches and sales, which is good news for all brands and retailers.

Prime Day 2020 Example 2
Amazon’s distribution staff are geared up and ready for the rush! – Image source: Amazon

So why has Amazon pushed the date of Prime Day back to October?

Primarily, it has been a question of logistics. The upsurge in eCommerce during COVID-19 has seen many supply lines stretched and Amazon has worked hard to ensure customer experience standards don’t decline. Leave has been cancelled for warehouse workers during Prime Day and it is critical to the success of Amazon’s operations that they are kept safe from coronavirus.

eBusiness Institute CEO and Founder Luigi Matrone previously considered the sharp increase in eCommerce driven by COVID-19 and offers brands and retailers advice on how to be successful by leveraging the omnichannel in order to win in the ‘new normal’.

78% of people in the UK use their smartphones for shopping whilst commuting[6]. So it is critical that brands ensure their Product eContent really reaches out to engage and excite customers and that the content is optimised for mobile.

What will Prime Day 2020 look like?

We can expect the usual strong focus on Alexa based gadgets (smart home and security items), alongside promotions and big discounts across many brands and departments. Not only is it likely that consumers will see Prime Day 2020 as an excuse to cheer themselves up during COVID-19 with a little indulgence in purchasing a luxury item for themselves, but because of the later date, this year’s Christmas shopping is likely to start earlier, even before Black Friday.

Finding deals is never a problem for consumers, but finding the right deal may be a challenge purely because of the huge volume of deals available. The trick is to use Amazon’s menu algorithms to customise search and notification criteria.

Prime Day offers brands a ready-made audience, consumers virtually queuing up with cards in hands eager to snatch the deals. So what are the options for brands to ensure that they maximise this opportunity? There is a danger that their products may be swamped and lost in the crowd, and that brands may be tempted to slash prices too far in order to stand out. Deals alone won’t necessarily guarantee increased sales and there is a balance to be struck between additional online traffic and declining revenue if the discount is unsustainable.

The main points to consider are promotional tactics and Product eContent. Targeted timing and offering the deals before or beyond Prime Day, all linked with impactful advertising, is a positive way of extending the deal for longer and increasing sales revenue at sensible, less risky discount levels.

However, no matter what tactics brands employ, everything must be underpinned by a strong, visually attractive and informative level of Product eContent which touches the senses of the consumer and breaks down the physical barrier of in-store shopping. Don’t forget, it must be mobile optimised.

One thing is certain. Doing nothing is wasting the huge opportunity on offer.

In conclusion

Amazon Prime Day 2020 will need to offer something different in order to distance itself from Black Friday. However, it promises to be an exciting time for eCommerce shoppers and brands alike, as we move towards the ‘new normal’ of digital shopping experiences. 

It remains to be seen how successful this year’s event will be following the restrictions of lockdown and it’s generally felt that consumers will still have sufficient disposable income to make Prime Day 2020 a success. Certainly consumers will want to cheer themselves up with a bit of retail therapy. 

There is no doubt that planning in advance is crucial for brands to win, not only on Prime Day but for Black Friday, Cyber Monday and other key events as well. Using the specialisms of eBusiness Institute, for example undertaking a review of Product eContent through a Digital Shelf Assessment, is a sure way of partnering with the experts in this field. 

This article was written and created by the eBusiness Institute team.

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