Amazon Prime Day 2019 – The Good, The Bad, The Ugly

Post-Amazon Prime Day

Ahh, Amazon Prime Day has come and gone and consumers are all shopped out. ‘The big day,’ (more like 48 hours of fury) seemed to have come and gone all too quickly. Now that the discounts are (mostly) gone, it’s time to discuss the good, the bad, and ugly of Prime Day 2019. 

The e-commerce platform’s longest ever sale, dubbed “the largest shopping event in Amazon history,” saw 1 million deals and 175 million items purchased. In total, the event surpassed Cyber Monday and Black Friday’s sales combined. Consumers in 18 countries bought twice as much as they did on the first Prime Day five years ago.

As this was the first year Amazon extended their big sale, there was significant doubt about whether the second day of the Prime event would produce results. However, Tuesday, like Monday, surpassed $2 billion in online sales, making it only the fourth day outside the holiday season to do so. 

Prime Day Deals

As usual, Amazon pushed major discounts on its own electronics such as the Fire Stick and Echo Dot with 50 percent off promotions, along with other smart home devices. In total, Prime members bought over 600,000 laptops, TVs, and headphones combined, while luxury beauty products sold over 350,000 units. Overall, across all categories, the average discount on products and catalogs was between 25 and 30 percent.

Perhaps the most talked-about Prime Day deal was the discounts received on expensive cameras and equipment. Photography outlet PetaPixel, which first reported the news, identified customers claiming they had purchased lenses normally worth hundreds or thousands of dollars for only $94.48. The most notable was a Canon lens usually retailing for about $13,000.

Because the affected products were sold by the e-commerce giant itself, not through a third party or the manufacturer, it prompts the question: Did Amazon make a pricing error?

“Despite Amazon’s advanced algorithms, they still have a healthy track record of making mistakes. This is one reason we always have multiple account managers assigned to each client. This way, there is always someone checking the inventory, keeping an eye on advertising bids and budgets, and monitoring orders during major online shopping events. Software can crash, glitch, or even make a mistake. This is a testament to the need of human touch,” explains Katharine Johnson,  Lead Account Manager and e-commerce expert at Envision Horizons.

Prime Day Buzz

One main takeaway from Prime Day was all the buzz leading up to it. Although the event is highly-anticipated each year, Amazon has been experiencing some higher competition and obstacles. For example, site crashes, ethical operations, and big retailers to name a few. As professional consumers, discounted prices alone aren’t enough to entice shoppers to buy. There are other events with big sales where shoppers can find bargains – like Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and even the 250 retailers running promotions on their own websites to compete with Prime Day. 

Also running during the big event was eBay’s “Crash Sale” – a taunt about Amazon’s website crash on Prime Day 2018. During the 48-hour Prime Day event, eBay ran big promotions on electronics while other big retailers including Target and Walmart ran their own exclusive discounts on items not available on Amazon. 

Celebrities Endorsing Amazon

So, to combat all the competition and hiccups while maintaining the Prime Day buzz, Amazon went big. A-list celebrity big. To kick off the two-day event, they had a Prime Day concert headlined by Taylor Swift. They also started tapping into high-profile celebrities to promote products. Kobe Bryant pushed 20% off deodorant, Hillary Duff pushed 30% off baby products, Will and Jaden Smith are selling water, and countless other celebrities advertised their own deals. Not to mention Lady Gaga announcing her new line of beauty products being sold exclusively on Amazon just days before the big event

Overall, the event produced impressive results. Large retailers experienced an average revenue lift of 68 percent, and smaller retailers also saw a significant increase in online sales at 28%. Amazon has been trying to push boundaries with each successive year, and this was the first time they spread Prime Day over two days. The massive sales boost over both days vindicated this risky tactic, and it will be interesting to see how that informs Amazon’s strategy in the coming years.

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