Earlier today, Amazon revealed some of the deals for Prime Day, the e-commerce giant’s self-created shopping day with “more deals than Black Friday.” As Walmart gets on board, could Prime Day become the next big thing in online shopping?
The 24-hour event, which starts at midnight, is only open to Prime members though consumers can sign up for free 30-day trials. In response, Walmart is having its own big online sale. “We’ve heard some retailers are charging $100 to get access to a sale, but the idea of asking customers to pay extra in order to save money just doesn’t add up for us,” Walmart.com president Fernando Madeira wrote in a blog post yesterday. “We’re standing up for our customers and everyone else who sees no rhyme or reason for paying a premium to save.”
With such big players involved, this could very well become an annual “Christmas in July,” according to Bryan Eisenberg, chief marketing officer at IdealSpot, a company that uses predictive algorithms to help businesses determine the best possible place to set up shop.
He points out that Black Friday wasn’t originally meant to kick off the holiday season, as much as it was about retailers boosting sales right before Q4. In addition, Singles’ Day was created by Chinese college students and has since snowballed into the biggest online shopping day of the year, earning Alibaba $9.3 billion in November.
“I think at the end of the day, the winner is going to be the customer,” Eisenberg says. “People will take advantage of some big sale, but it’s not going to change their behavior. Just because I bought a large-screen TV from Walmart doesn’t mean I’m going to go back next week or next month. What Prime Day will do [for Amazon] is get more Prime members and at the end of the day, [Amazon] isn’t about individual sales; it’s about the lifetime value of that customer.”
David Goodman, PPC manager at digital agency Jellyfish Online Marketing, thinks that while Walmart is too big not to have a successful sale, Amazon will ultimately be the winner of Prime Day because of its long-term goal.
“Can [Prime Day] boost Amazon’s bottom-line in the short-term? No, but it’s going to put a huge boom in its Prime membership,” Goodman says. “I think the reason why Amazon created a day like this is because Amazon has a way of reaching its exclusive members. As Prime membership continues to balloon, so will the popularity [of Prime Day.]”
Both Eisenberg and Goodman think Prime Day is experimental. If it goes well, they can see it continuing next year. “One-hundred percent, I think [other retailers] will jump on and copy,” Goodman adds.
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