With less than 10 days to go before the start of Amazon’s annual sales event, a growing list of counter-offers and promos from rival retailers could make this the most competitive Prime Day ever.
While the expansion of deals offered by more stores and websites — as well as a doubling of the original two-day sale window — is good for consumers, it’s clearly getting harder to be heard.
For example, shopping rewards site Rakuten unveiled its “Shop Like a Winner” event on Wednesday (June 9), a three-day, 10-percent cash-back campaign involving hundreds of stores and brands. It will run from June 21 to 23, abutting Prime Day and related events from Walmart and Target.
“This is the perfect time to shop as retailers compete to offer the best deals of the summer, and shoppers will come out the biggest winners,” said Kristen Gall, president of Rakuten Rewards, noting that retailers will also use the opportunity to move summer inventory and make way for fall and back-to-school sales. “You can expect them to offer aggressive savings on seasonal home goods like patio furniture and barbecues, as well as summer apparel for the family. Electronics, kitchen appliances and office supplies will also see deep markdowns.”
This increasingly competitive reality is clearly putting pressure on creative marketing executives to find new ways not only to hype their offerings, but to also differentiate themselves and stand out from the pack.
“This year, it’s about the experience,” Amazon Senior Creative Program Manager Nicole Jue said in a company blog touting the energy, excitement, emotion and joy that comes to real people while they seek out bargains.
To that point, Amazon’s newly released 30-second video promo promises “two days of epic deals” that shoppers won’t want to miss. “You can change your kitchen, change your yard, change your game or even change the way you celebrate. So if you have plans on Prime Day… change ‘em,” the ad says, sticking with a general hype theme rather than specific product offers.
The SMB Angle
In addition, Amazon is playing up the small business benefits derived from this annual surge of consumption. As of Monday (June 7), it had begun issuing $10 Prime Day credits to customers who make purchases from a select roster of SMB merchants in the two weeks leading up to the main event. The SMB coupon campaign is a repeat from last year’s Prime Day, which was pushed back to October but still saw record sales for small merchants before and during the actual event.
“In the two weeks leading up to Prime Day , tens of millions of customers spent more than $900 million with small businesses selling in our store. Then, on Prime Day, independent third-party sellers — most of them small and medium-sized businesses — had their two biggest days ever, surpassing $3.5 billion in sales,” Amazon said last October, noting that the 60 percent SMB sales lift outpaced Amazon’s own retail business.
In announcing the dates for this year’s Prime Day, which is the earliest in its six-year history, Amazon said it is “putting its small business selling partners front and center” via two million deals across every merchandise category. The online giant is also operating a special “Support Small” curated SMB storefront as another avenue of steering business to smaller sellers.