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Christmas in July

By bob Mcgee– july 10, 2017

As if they don’t have enough to worry about already, traditional retailers face a new online challenge tomorrow, weeks before the traditional start of the Back-to-School season that commences in the Southernmost U.S. this month.  

Amazon’s Third Annual “Prime Day” actually begins at 9pm Eastern/6 pm Pacific tonight promising new deals every five minutes and special offers throughout. CPC Strategy recently estimated the online behemoth will rake in somewhere between $900 million and $1 billion from the event, up from $500 million in 2015 and $700 million last year as the website’s Prime members gobble up all sorts of “everyday items” and not big-ticket products, suggests CPC, which adds the online behemoth sees the entire week as its “official kick-off” for the fourth quarter.  

“There is a massive increase in shopper traffic and discoverability,” points out CPC’s Nick Cotter, adding some sellers and vendors called the 2016 Prime Day “their best day of the year.”  

Amazon’s Prime membership has grown nearly 38 percent to 80 million in the last year, according to Consumer Intelligence Research Partners’ data. These shoppers spend $1,300 yearly on the website, nearly 86 percent more than non-Prime member purchasers on Amazon.  

So, how do other retailers respond to Prime Day?  

Those who already have a meaningful online presence should expect some spillover from the Amazon event, but are cautioned against dispatching “Prime” rivalry messages and should instead focus on marketing that is more more customer-centric. Nearly half of the 50 largest non-Amazon retailers in the U.S. ran online sales in 2016 on Prime Day. The lists included Macy’s, Kohl’s and Wal-Mart.  

Last week, Dick’s had an online “flash sale” and advertised a “70% off Tent Sale” via email while Fanatics had separate email offers for free shipping and “60% off” certain items. It is unclear when Nike, which recently announced an official relationship with Amazon, will show up with a new presence on the website and app, but Prime Day could be the launching day for the brand.  

CPC says Amazon Prime Day shoppers are looking for “value and perception of value” before making purchases. Amazon recently introduced an “Early Reviewer Program,” providing $1 to $3 gift cards to purchasers of a product for reviewing it. No longer can sellers incentivize purchasers to secure positive reviews. Amazon last year prohibited giveaways to encourage reviews.

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