Amazon is celebrating its 20th anniversary with what it’s calling “Prime Day” on July 15, with deals that the company says will dwarf Black Friday, the e-retail giant announced Monday.
The retailer will pack the day with its “Lightning Deals,” (quick blue-light special type discounts), among other deals and will expand its free two-day shipping to more items.
Only the retailer’s Prime members have access to the special deals, but that includes anyone who signs up for a free 30-day trial of the membership, which normally costs $99 per year.
There are all kinds of ways this is a smart move for Amazon, starting with keeping Prime Day exclusive to Prime members. But it will be easy (and cost nothing) for customers to sign up for the 30-day trial to take advantage of the blockbuster sales the retailer is promising, so it’s not all that exclusive.
As with Black Friday, though, when Amazon also reserves many deals for Prime members, Prime Day will certainly drive many more people to try out Prime membership. It's no mystery why Amazon takes that approach, considering that Prime members convert 74% of the time on Amazon.com, compared to 13% for non-prime members, and spend more money on average.
With the old-timers like Wal-Mart and eBay and newcomers like Jet alike encroaching on Amazon's turf, it’s also no wonder that the retailer would like to make a splash and capture back some attention, especially now that the American consumer seems to be a bit more willing to spend in a healthier economy.
Jet in particular, soon to be launched by a former Amazon employee, has promised to have the lowest prices on the web; Amazon seems to be taking note of that and fighting back.
Several observers have also noted that Prime Day bears a striking resemblance to the mega-sale dubbed “Singles Day,” that Alibaba helped push into a red-letter shopping event in China. The day has eclipsed its humble origins as an antidote to Valentine’s Day, started in true grassroots fashion by university students who didn’t like feeling left out, showing record sales of $9.3 billion, a 60% increase over 2013’s $5.8 billion, the previous record.
And the topping on the cake for the retailer? Prime Day, unlike Black Friday, is all Amazon, all day long.