What can we learn from Amazon Prime day?

So yesterday was Amazon Prime Day, an event more celebrated in the Barber household than yours truly’s birthday.

The invention of Amazon Prime and the one click, deliver next hour purchase has caused more arguments in my household than the usual ‘it’s your turn to empty the dishwasher’ and the ‘you let the kids do what?’

The fact that a sale day is promoted as an ‘Event’, unlike the process of queuing outside an out of town retail park at 1am for the Next sale to start, kicks this ecommerce process off with a sense of urgency few retailers are able to achieve.

The psychological driver of urgency is reinforced throughout the landing/home page; countdown timers are everywhere associated to every single product.

The number of products counting down to midnight as a deadline is high and the number of items in the ‘Deals ending soon’ section with one hour to go far outweighs the one product in that carousel I saw that had 12 seconds left.

Perhaps, one change I would make to this would be to make timings less than 1hr and flash on and off like a police car light.

Amazon - Countdown Timer Deals

Another observation is that Amazon are using the ‘event’ to move specific inventory with clear discounts.

The psychological driver of pattern recognition for matching high percentage discounts and the grouping of products / bundling goes even further to drive online buyer behaviour.

Mrs B has told me regularly that I ‘do not need a PS4’ but the Amazon Prime page is really pushing this specific product as a permanent advert in really high value/profile real estate section of the page.

Amazon - Homepage Deals

The persuasive design of the homepage is also effective. Product carousels bring to focus the items that Amazon really wants to highlight as having compelling discounts, again one wonders whether the focus is on shifting unwanted or older inventory rather than matching top deals to visitors.

Carousels used to such an extent in a desktop version of a website much like the size of the homepage (it took ages to scroll to bottom) suggest mobile habits (think twitter timeline during a major football match) are changing how retailers think about usability.

Amazon - Prime Day Header Image

The ‘top trending’ section really focused on creating a sense of intrigue but I do have an element of suspicion around the items that I regularly noticed throughout the day had ended early.

In the main they seemed to be low ticket items and it struck me the top trending feature added urgency by displaying ended items to that sense of intrigue.

Overall I found the use of persuasive language really good, well it is Amazon so you expect that right? I just think its worth highlighting the great CTA buttons; ‘shop for deals’ or ‘get interest free financing for six months as one of the key messages in the body of the page.

The ‘Watch this deal’ button for Prime customers was a nice nod to eBay and its use of time and auction processes to drive purchases.

What I found overall was that, as good as the Prime landing page was, there was no real difference between the content when logged in and logged out of Prime, bar the lack of ‘watch this deal’ functionality.

I have had a Prime account for two years and my son has an addiction to expensive model animals that always come up on our product recommendation emails from Amazon.

Instead I had to look for Prime Day Deals in the Toys section and saw a product that Amazon should have recommended to us – a Gruffalo Trunki (again we bought the Gruffalo video on Prime, a few of the stuffed toys, don’t ask how much they are!) but I didn’t see this on the Prime landing page.

Amazon - Personalised Prime Day Deals

My Amazon Prime Day experience was less machine learning and algorithm based and more ‘fetch the suitcase Rodney’.

Writer’s notes:

15.36pm – at different stages in the day I did experience different offers, ads etc and believe it or not I had work to do so didn’t buy anything

20.26pm – Amazon really want me to buy the PS4 it’s such a tailored specific personalised ad….no wait it’s just the same all day…no it’s definitely meant to be.

20.53pm – I Buy PS4 and tell Mrs B.

22.35pm – I sleep on the couch.

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