Amazon Prime Day is Coming! But is it Worth it?
Amazon recently announced that they will hold their second ever Prime Day event this upcoming Tuesday, July 12th. Like last year, this “Cyber-Monday-in-July” comes during a slow period when many merchants can use a much needed bump in sales.
Prime Day, initially started as a celebration of Amazon’s 20th anniversary, gives Prime members access to over 100,000 deals. Last year, Amazon sold over 34 million items and signed up more Prime members than any other day in its history.
While those numbers sound impressive, is it worth it for Amazon sellers? We take a look at the pros and cons of participating.
Research company CIRP estimates that Amazon currently holds about 54 million US Prime members. Prime members, who pay an annual subscription fee of $99 which includes free delivery on orders in as little as an hour, spend nearly twice as much as non-members. Given those numbers, sellers, at the very least, can expect a boon in traffic come Prime Day – whether they are participating or not.
Last Prime Day, over 14 million items sold were from sellers and small businesses. As per Peter Faricy, VP for the Amazon Marketplace, “Prime Day gives small businesses and entrepreneurs selling on Amazon from around the world a peak sales day during the summer months.
“Prime Day is great for customers and sellers. Customers have the opportunity to support small businesses by purchasing unique products at a great price with fast, free shipping, and it helps sellers prepare for the upcoming holiday season by providing feedback and more customer reviews on their new and top selling products.”
Despite raking in an impressive amount of sales, surpassing even Black Friday, and a 47% increase in Prime membership, Consumers were not too impressed with last year’s Prime Day, as evidenced on social media. One need only to look through the #PrimeDayFail hashtag to see that, for many, the reality was sporadic deals (mainly on Amazon’s own line of products) and random items of sometimes less-than-stellar quality. As for the sellers, some believed the time and effort was either wasted or simply didn’t bring about enough of a profit to really be worth it.
“Amazon specified the price we should run at,” David Byun, president of CGETC Inc., says. “A lot of times, the price doesn’t make us any (profit) margin. We had to pick and choose which (products) to run.”
Chantal Laurens, VP of retail at Ann Arbor T-shirt Company, was also disappointed with her experience. “We put forward a lot of effort last year on those of our products that were eligible for promotion but did not experience significant (sales) lift,” she says. “We did however see a small lift across all sales and listings as a function of the increased number of shoppers, but not on the Prime Day deals specifically. Rather than go through the same process this year for presumably the same (lack) of return, we opted to spend our efforts optimizing our listings and will promote existing products in the hopes that the increased volume and traffic will result in a sales lift nonetheless.”
Participating sellers were likely contacted by Amazon months ago, encouraging them to submit offers Amazon could consider for “Lightening Deals.” Sellers were chosen based on performance, potential and pricing.
While it had its major ups and downs last year, experts do believe Amazon has taken in the feedback and that things will improve this year. “Amazon is being much more selective this year with the products they’ll promote on Prime Day so that they can work on providing a better customer experience this time around,” CPC Strategy account manager Jeff Coleman said. He goes on to add, “[There will be] plenty of opportunities to attract new customers that come to the site after the item they want has stocked out, or that come just looking for a deal.”
So what is the takeaway? Whether you’re an active participant or not, use this day to take advantage of the millions of Prime members in your neck of the Amazon woods.