Leading up to its July 15 birthday celebration, Amazon promoted its Prime Day, promising deals and a shopping extravaganza that would rival – and even surpass – Black Friday. They quickly got everyone’s attention too, and not just shoppers. Other major retailers like Walmart and Target responded in kind, quickly deploying promotions of their very own, for the very same day.
Now, a week later, what’s one to think of the entire thing?
Mixed bag for Amazon
Almost immediately, Amazon was skewered online for #PrimeDayFail as shoppers expressed disappointment over the offers, with some likening the Prime Day promotions to a garage sale of unwanted junk, while others looked aimlessly for anything interesting. Any thing. At all.
My reaction when searching for the deals on #PrimeDay @Amazon pic.twitter.com/9cXGBTjGiF
— Resident Sock Thief! (@KalypsoPuppy) July 15, 2015
Through the day, online trolls were relentless. According to Techwalker, by 6:00 pm EDT on Prime Day, sentiment for #PrimeDay went from 10 percent negative before the sale to 24 percent once launched, with the hashtag and @Amazon handle receiving over 41,000 combined negative mentions.
It seemed shoppers were less than happy and that Prime Day was a bruising failure for Amazon.
Not so fast.
Sorry, Twitter: While you were making Prime Day jokes, Amazon was laughing all the way to the bank: http://t.co/gYX96iLQJG
— Sarah Halzack (@sarahhalzack) July 16, 2015
Amazon reported it sold more on Prime Day than on any previous Black Friday, averaging 398 items sold every second. Maybe more importantly, more people signed up for Amazon Prime membership trials than on any other single day in the program’s short history, and a big part of Amazon’s Prime Day logic was introducing Prime to the previously unconverted masses.
So, Prime Day delivered a short-term financial success, but one that came with the cost of a little tarnish on the Amazon brand. The pro’s no doubt outweigh the con’s, as Amazon is already on record that it will do Prime Day again next year.
Moderate impact at brick-and-mortar
As for brick-and-mortar stores, what was the impact of Prime Day? As it turns out, overall, it was just a moderate blip as much of physical retail slumbers through its summer doldrums. Through its database of stores reporting into the Retail Performance Pulse, RetailNext reported the following results at stores:
Going forward and a barometer for Holiday
Prime Day served its purpose for Amazon, but perhaps fell short for many consumers, particularly the core shoppers who use Amazon most regularly. Regardless, it set the stage for the rest of Back-to-School and the Holiday season that follows, but for casual observers who believe it carved a distinct line between online and offline channels, think again.
Last year, shoppers began to finally reap the benefits of the long-awaited multichannel, omnichannel shopping experience, and even Amazon joined the fray by opening a pop-up store. Over the course of the year so far, online merchants have flocked to the physical store space, committing themselves to delivering a value-added, seamless and branded experience across whichever channels a shopper finds herself in. It’s only going to speed up going into Holiday, and look for Amazon (an other online titans) to unveil even bolder designs in the coming months.
Holiday will again see spirited competition between brands, but the battleground won’t be online versus offline. Rather, the battleground will over and across all channels. The brands – be it Amazon, Walmart, Target, Macy’s or others – who execute best with its shoppers’ best interests in mind, will be the ones counting their winnings in January.
Join the #retail and, yes, even the #PrimeDay and #PrimeDayFail conversations on Twitter @RetailNext and @RayHartjen, as well as at www.facebook.com/retailnext.