Amazon's Prime Day is July 11 and more than a day
Amazon on Thursday announced that its third annual Prime Day will be Tues., July 11 and this year the event is expanded to Prime members in China, India and Mexico for a total of 13 countries (that also includes the U.S., U.K., Spain, Japan, Italy, Germany, France, Canada, Belgium and Austria).
This year, Amazon is also expanding the event's duration (and the concept of a "day"). Prime Day (open only to Prime members, with the usual opportunity to participate via a free trial membership) will last 30 hours, beginning July 10 at 9:00 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time. Some 40% of the e-commerce giant’s “Lightning Deals” will come from small businesses and entrepreneurs on Amazon Marketplace, Amazon said in a press release.
Amazon called last year's Prime Day the single biggest day in company history, with global merchandise sales eclipsing the first Prime Day event by more than 60% worldwide and more than 50% in the U.S. It was also the biggest day ever for Amazon devices globally. In all, Prime members across the globe saved more than double on deals over Prime Day 2015, the online retailer said last year.
Boosting Prime subscriber totals is the Prime Day raison d être. Shoppers must join the $99 annual Prime program to access Prime Day deals, and once they sign up, they’re hooked. Roughly 91% of first-year paid subscribers renew for a second year, and 96% of second-year paid subscribers renew for a third year, Consumer Intelligence Retail Partners reported last year.
The e-commerce giant launched Prime Day in 2015, promising Prime subscribers a multitude of exclusive deals across its vast spectrum of merchandise categories. That first year the event faced social media backlash from shoppers taking exception to low inventories on marquee items and bargains on obscure products with little mainstream appeal. But last year Amazon improved both the quality and quantity of merchandise by bulking up involvement from third-party Marketplace seller partners (although, as with Alibaba's Singles Day, commodity items do remain a major slice of Prime Day's assortment).
Amazon’s voice assistance is again getting particular attention this year, with even more Alexa-exclusive deals for members with an Amazon Echo, Echo Dot, Echo Show, Amazon Tap, compatible Fire TV or Fire tablet, the company said. Amazon is also encouraging what it calls "early deal watching," through previews, tracking and shopping in many countries through its mobile app. Prime members in China and Mexico will be able to shop not only local deals, but some deals from other countries as well, from the Amazon Global Store.
“Our members love Prime Day and we have been thrilled by the response over the last two years. It is inspiring us to make it even better this year for Prime members,” Greg Greeley, vice president of Amazon Prime, said in a statement. “Every part of our business is working to deliver more deals for a record number of shoppers. This year’s Prime Day is too big for 24 hours – so we’re giving Prime members 30 hours to shop!”
Prime Day, however, is not only about ringing up sales, getting its lucrative devices into people's hands or even expanding the Prime base, according to Jared Blank, senior vice president of data analysis at e-commerce marketing platform Bluecore. It's also about stoking the virtual cyclone via highly personalized, well informed search, which helps accelerate Amazon's other sales and expansion goals.
"Prime Day is another way to present customers with a cross-section of products from across their catalog," Blank said in an email to Retail Dive. "Obviously Amazon wants customers to buy from them. But they also want customers to browse, because they can turn that data into recommendations, which lead to more purchases down the road. Amazon is one of a handful of companies (Facebook and Netflix being two others) where the core infrastructure was built to turn customer data into a highly personalized customer experience. The more customers browse and purchase, the more they can customize what they present to you.”
Follow Daphne Howland on Twitter