TECHNOLOGY

Prime Day isn’t just for Amazon anymore

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

More retailers are jumping on the Prime Day bandwagon, and successfully snagging sales with their own online summer shopping holidays.

Prime Day 2018 saw a substantial increase in online spending year-over-year, with large retailers (more than $1 billion in annual revenue) reporting a 54% increase in sales versus an average Tuesday, according to data from Adobe Digital Insights.

According to data, increased conversions was the main driver of retailers’ increased revenue for Prime Day this year. Another increase on Prime Day was the social buzz, specifically mentions of Amazon throughout the shopping marathon.

Despite a glitch on Amazon’s website and mobile app during Prime Day’s launch on Monday, July 16, Amazon’s social buzz was very high. Social mentions hit 80%, however this was down about 5% from last year. Overall, Prime Day’s volume of discussion was up about 6% versus last year. A significant amount of social buzz was about employees’ dogs shown on the Amazon Prime Day error pages. #DogsofAmazon trended on Twitter, according to Adobe.

“Amazon’s site glitches didn’t negatively impact sales, with the company revealing sales were higher than ever,” said Taylor Schreiner, director of Adobe Digital Insights. “And photos of employees’ pups successfully mitigated some of the negative sentiment around the online retailer’s site difficulties.”

The summer sale is also credited for kicking off rapid online shopping growth for the third quarter. Specifically, July-September is expected to be the fastest growing quarter of 2018 in the U.S. Back-to-school shopping alone, is expected to generate $57.79 billion in online revenue.

These gains could also translate into a very merry Thanksgiving and Black Friday shopping weekend. In 2017, retailers that grew 10% in the first half of the year saw revenue increases during Thanksgiving weekend 2.1 times over the average retailer. This pattern will likely continue into 2018. Further, the winners of Prime Day are expected to have a strong performance for the 2018 holiday season, Adobe added.

“We’ve seen a 55% lift in online sales year-over-year over the course of Prime Day for large retailers – massive growth that we attribute to shoppers making purchases online with a variety of retailers,” said Schreiner.

“As a result of Amazon’s holiday increasing in popularity, numerous retailers offered deals on their own sites to combat Amazon, turning mid-July into a mini holiday shopping season,” Schreiner added. “People love to comparison shop, with many turning to Amazon’s competitors to compare deals and prices. Prime Day has turned into a huge opportunity for all online retailers.”

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TECHNOLOGY

Target’s online summer sale knocks it out of the park

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

Amazon wasn’t the only retailer to break records on Prime Day.

Target went head-to-head with Amazon by hosting its own one-day promotional event online on July 17. The summer sale drove the company’s highest single day of online traffic and sales for 2018, according to Target.

While the discounter did not provide hard numbers, Target reported that millions of customers shopped the sale, and millions of items were purchased. (The event did not require a membership to participate.)

The online-only event featured deals across most of Target’s categories, as well as its private-label brands. The most popular deals shopped during the one-day sale were small appliances, beauty and personal care, baby gear, home, and tech items.

Specifically, the hottest items were Dyson vacuums, the Instant Pot pressure cooker and electric air fryers. Harry’s Razors, beauty boxes, baby gear, such as items from Graco, and technology, including the Google Chromecast, rounded out the list, according to the company.

In addition to deals, Target REDcard holders received a 5% discount and free 2-day shipping on most items. Non-REDcard holders qualified for free two-day shipping on orders of $35 or more.

The sale may be over, but now Target is picking, packing, and shipping all purchased merchandise. Nearly 90% of yesterday’s orders will be fulfilled by Target stores.

The event coincided with a week-long promotion that entitles teachers to receive 15% off select school supplies, as well as deals on back-to-school essentials.

Target’s summer sale overlapped with Amazon’s fourth annual Prime Day event. The 36-hour sale, which kicked off on July 16 at 3 p.m. EST, attracted customers across 17 countries who purchased more than 100 million products. Sales that surpassed Cyber Monday, Black Friday and the previous Prime Day, making this year’s Prime Day the biggest shopping event in Amazon history, according to the e-retailer.

Other retailers have also jumped on the bandwagon and created their own sales to counter Prime Day. For example, on July 16, eBay launched a week-long shopping event, one that doesn’t require a membership to participate. Meanwhile, 1-800-Flowers.com is running a five-day sale that kicked off on Tuesday, July 17 at midnight, and will continue through Sunday, July 22.

Office Depot offered $20 off regular-priced orders greater than $125, and $40 off regular-priced orders over $250, from July 7 to July 14. Macy’s is running a “Black Friday in July” sale on its website, and Zulily is launching its inaugural Thrill Week. The seven-day event, which will run from July 23 to July 27, will offer exclusive deals and discounts across the brands it features.

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TECHNOLOGY

Amazon Prime Day overcomes technical snafu with estimated $4.2 billion in sales

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

Despite a rocky start due to a technical glitch, Amazon’s fourth annual Prime Day wound up being the online giant’s biggest shopping event yet — in terms of sales and sign ups of new Prime members.

Shoppers spent an estimated $4.2 billion during the 36-hour shopping extravaganza for Prime members, up 33% from a year ago, reported Bloomberg, which cited estimates from Wedbush Securities Inc. analyst Michael Pachter. (It’s worth nothing this year’s Prime Day was six hours longer than last year.) That is higher than a pre-sale prediction of $3.4 billion from Coresight Research. The number of orders was an estimated 200% of their average for the previous month, according to Edison Trends.

As is customary, Amazon itself did not disclose revenue figures for the sale. In a press release, the company said that customers across 17 countries purchased more than 100 million products during the event. It also said Prime Day sales surpassed those on Cyber Monday, Black Friday and Prime Day 2017, making this year’s sale the biggest shopping event in Amazon history.

The sale also lured in new Prime members, a move that helped the company exceed its current count of 100 million members. While Amazon did not provide hard numbers, the online retailer reported that more new members signed up on July 16 than any single day in Amazon history.

Amazon said it sold the most Amazon devices to date on Prime Day, with its Fire TV Stick with Alexa Voice Remote the best-selling Amazon device, and also the best-selling product globally from any manufacturer in any category. Other hot-selling Amazon gadgets included Echo smart speakers and Kindle e-readers. Excluding Amazon devices, the top three best-selling products in the United States were a quart pressure cooker (Instant Pot 6), a DNA test (23 and Me), and a water filter (LifeStraw Personal Water Filter). The top-selling categories included electronics and accessories (23% of all items purchased); home and kitchen (14%) and health and beauty (11%), according to Edison Trends.

According to a survey by JDA Software, the top platforms to shop on Prime Day were mobile/tablet (60%) or desktop or laptop (53%). Forty percent of survey respondents said they made unplanned purchases based on items on sale. Only 9% of the total respondents said they shopped through Whole Foods. Of those who did, 75% said that they regularly shop at Whole Foods already and benefited from the discounts. The other 25% purposely shopped at Whole Foods during Amazon Prime Day to take advantage of the discounts.

“Prime Day is clearly still an online event, despite Amazon’s attempt to integrate Whole Foods into this year’s promotions,” said JoAnn Martin, VP, retail industry strategy, North America at JDA. “Since those who already are regular Whole Food shoppers were the ones who benefitted from the discounts, it wasn’t driving additional footfall to brick-and-mortar locations.”

As big as Prime Day was, it could have been even bigger. Just as the sale was about to kick-off on July 16, at 3 p.m. EST, Amazon’s website and mobile app both suffered an outage, causing digital deal seekers to receive a variety of error messages that featured the “dogs of Amazon.” Some users were initially unable to enter the site, while others were caught in a loop of pages urging them to “Shop all deals.” During the time of this outage, Amazon could have lost between $1 million and $2 million per minute, according to sales data from Statistica.

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