We’re in the final innings of the annual shopping marathon known as Prime Day. Concrete data on performance will only start hitting tomorrow. But brands who sell on Amazon
Here’s the anecdotal reports coming in from brands selling on Amazon about the event so far – the good, the bad, and the ugly.
The good: a big PR and social ruckus
Many shoppers, including myself, were flooded with organic and paid campaigns on social media, as well as email campaigns highlighting Prime Day deals from brands.
But this is where Amazon’s affiliate program really shines. News sites and influencers alike curate deals and products, and receive an affiliate commission on sales that they helped to promote.
Rina Yashayev, Head of Ecommerce at the beauty brands Yes To and Kiss My Face, says that this year, press and PR was more relevant than ever. “Deals have become so saturated and overwhelming to browse that consumers rely on press to lead the way,” Yashayeva said. “BuzzFeed, CNN, Allure, Cosmo, Glamour, Today and Vogue came through as always.”
Other retailers like Target promoted competing shopping events too. A rising tide lifts all ships. And while the competing deal events were designed to divert shoppers away from Amazon, I believe the net effect is that millions of people around the world spent the early half of this week shopping across several retailers who ran events.
According to the Adobe Digital Economy Index, the first day of Prime Day saw total online sales in the U.S. surpass $6.0B (7.8% growth YOY) making it the biggest day for online spending to date in 2022; the amount also surpassed total online revenue for Thanksgiving Day ($5.1B) of last year.
The good: attractive discounts across many categories
It is no secret that Amazon uses Prime Day as an opportunity to heavily discount and sell through Amazon branded products like Kindle, Fire Stocks and TVs, and other Alexa enabled devices. That was true this year, with many Amazon devices discounted upwards of 45%.
But other categories had big discounts too. I personally shopped heavily in the grocery category where there were a lot of products with a discount of 30% or more.
Stratably analysis across a basket of products in each major shopping categories shows the discount level varied widely across categories. “On balance, the promotional depth of items featured this year seemed on-par with past years,” Stratably founder Russ Dieringer said in an email to subscribers. “For instance, 30% discounts seemed to be the minimum needed to make the first page or two of a given category.”
The good: Prime Day deals available off Amazon
For the first time, Prime Day deals were made available beyond Amazon via the ‘Buy with Prime’ program. Marketplace Pulse noted that a few dozen Shopify
While the scale is small, it is interesting to note that this program has only been around for a couple of months.
The bad: deal overwhelm
Rina Yashayev, Head of Ecommerce at the beauty brands Yes To and Kiss My Face, said that there was not a seamless process for brands to navigate to select which deals to run.
“There is a lot going on. Different types of deals, various merchandising and badges – prime deals, coupons, lightning deals. While Amazon prioritizes the customer-experience, the ever-changing naming and strategy of the various deal types don’t lead to a seamless process on the backend.”
The bad: some deals released too early
As I mentioned in my post for Forbes yesterday, some brands who paid for Prime Day Lightning Deals (deals that run only for a defined period of time or until sold out) were disappointed when their deals were scheduled well ahead of July 12.
The message to shoppers is that Prime Day deals will run on July 12 and 13, so many shoppers are not fully in buying mode until the official start of the event. This disappointed the brands who had prepared for a high-volume deal slot – loading up on inventory, planning Amazon ad campaigns, and preparing off-site marketing campaigns.
The ugly: caching issues affected promotions for some brands
Some brands’ best-laid promotion plans were thwarted by what appears to be a caching issue on Amazon’s site whereby the discounts simply didn’t show up.
A number of clients at my agency Bobsled Marketing had set up Prime Exclusive Deals – a particularly effective promotion type. But in a sweep of these product pages, we discovered that some deals were not running, even though they had been confirmed had displayed correctly at the start of the first day. As a last-minute stop gap, we set up coupons and price discounts for these products.
Other clients also had issues with coupons showing up on the Seller Central dashboard as running, but the coupon did not appear live on the product page. We also noted some cases where the coupon would show on the product page, but then disappear.
I have reached out to Amazon for comment on this issue.
Jury is still out: livestream video shopping
Amazon launched livestreaming a couple of years ago. Initially I was bullish on the format. Like many commentators noted, livestream shopping is very popular in the Chinese market, which often acts as a sort of canary in the coal mine for US retail.
But a couple of years in, it still seems to struggle to break through, even when livestream events are featured on the Amazon homepage and app.
Analyst Russ Dieringer from Stratably sat through a couple hours of livestreams and highlighted the scale challenges. “The most popular video I could find had 3.5k viewers,” he said. “At 1% conversion, that means 35 purchases, which highlights the scale challenges. A less popular livestream I found had 17 viewers.”
But some brands have had great success with livestreaming, especially when leveraging influencers. Performance beverage brand C4 Energy partnered with celebrity Kevin Hart on a series of five livestream promotions. The company’s SVP of Ecommerce & Growth, James Thompson, said that the livestreams performed very well.
Overall, a win for many brands
The early anecdotal data from brands so far is that Prime Day has delivered strong results. But it’s not a set-and-forget type of event. Seven years into Prime Day, there is always a level of experimentation required.
Bob Land, General Manager at brand aggregator Berlin Brands Group, said that sales were up 3.5-5X above a normal day. “Prime Day is an experimental lab,” he says. “At BBG, we have an incredibly broad product portfolio and each category and product reacts differently to ad types, type of discount, amount of discount [and other factors]. Some of our brands are newly acquired so it truly is an experiment.”
More analysis to come tomorrow.