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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TECHNOLOGY

Prime Day recovers, sales on pace to break records

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

Despite a troubled start, Amazon’s Prime Day is staying on track to beat last year’s record sales.

According to early results from Feedvisor, an analytics company that gathers intelligence for Amazon sellers, sales during the first 12 hours of the fourth annual Prime Day event were 80% higher than sales during the same 12-hour period last week. In addition, total cumulative orders were 69% higher than last year, The Street reported.

Specifically, small and medium-sized businesses worldwide have exceeded more than $1 billion in sales on Amazon since yesterday, according to the online giant.

Among the sale’s best sellers include Amazon’s Fire TV Stick with Alexa Voice Remote; the Instant Pot 6 quart pressure cooker, and Amazon’s Echo Dot smart speaker. The site has sold out of the Toshiba 50-inch 4K Ultra HD Fire TV Edition, as well as the Ring Video Doorbell Pro. Amazon has also sold over four times as many Ring systems compared to last year’s Prime Day sale, according to the company.

Amazon’s 36-hour shopping event kicked off on July 16, at 3 p.m. EST. However, Prime Day got off to a rocky start when the online giant’s website and mobile app both suffered an outage just as the sale commenced. Both online and mobile shoppers faced a variety of error messages featuring the “dogs of Amazon” while trying to shop for Prime Day deals. 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 that the site and app were both completely down, Amazon could have lost between $1 million and $2 million per minute, according to sales data from Statistica.

Industry observers also questioned the impact the glitch would have on sales, overall.

“Amazon has set the standard that customers have come to expect from a seamless and convenient shopping experience. They serve as the model that other brands strive to emulate and duplicate,” said Jeff Cheal, director of product strategy, personalization, campaign & analytics at Episerver. “If Prime members can’t shop for the deals they were promised on Prime Day — Amazon’s highly publicized bell-ringing event — it means Amazon has fumbled in delivering on the very premise that has made it into the retail juggernaut it is today.”

Amazon was able to overcome the snafu, and continued to build momentum. The site continued to feature deals, and more than three quarters (76%) of Prime Day prices beat Black Friday prices, according to BestBlackFriday.com.

Customers that did manage to shop successfully during Prime Day’s launch quickly set the tone for the sale, as they “ordered more items compared to the first hour [of Prime Day] last year,” according to a tweet from Amazon at 5 p.m. on July 16.

Prime Day ends at 3 a.m. EST on July 18. When it concludes, total sales for this year’s event could exceed last year’s total by 60% or more, according Feedvisor.

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