Retailers including Wal-Mart, J.C. Penney, Kohl’s and e-commerce tech vendor Newegg are seizing on the buzz generated by Amazon’s July 12 Prime Day event to launch their own major midsummer sales.
Electronics site Newegg is calling its sale “Fantastech,” J.C. Penney is calling theirs "Penney Palooza" and Wal-Mart is going with “Dare to Compare.” Wal-Mart in particular appears to be pointedly undercutting Amazon’s prices on items like electronics that, as on Black Friday, are of particular interest to bargain hunters. Moreover, its “Dare to Compare” sale does not require a “Shipping Pass” membership, Wal-Mart’s answer to Amazon’s Prime; Amazon requires Prime membership to access Prime Day deals.
Number two mass merchandiser Target and online upstart Jet.com are letting Prime Day pass without counter-sales of their own. Jet says it plans to hold some kind of promotion for its upcoming one-year anniversary, but gave no details, Internet Retailer reports.
If you’re a retailer that isn’t Amazon, what to do about Prime Day? It’s not exactly the same question as whether to open on Thanksgiving. But some rivals clearly believe they must do something to counter Amazon's sales event. (It's worth noting that Amazon took a while to say exactly when Prime Day would be this year, perhaps to hamper competitors' efforts to ride its coattails.)
In any case, the influx of rival shopping events should come as no surprise. Alibaba’s massive “Singles Day” event, concocted by Alibaba six years ago and named for all the “ones” in the date Nov. 11, also benefits other retailers. Rival JD.com and Western brands like Zara, Macy’s, Nordstrom and Neiman Marcus all held sales and reaped benefits that same day.
As with Singles Day, which heavily overshadows even Black Friday with its record $9.3 billion in sales for Alibaba alone, Prime Day is becoming an increasingly important date on the retail calendar. The first Prime Day last year was the fourth busiest day of 2015 in terms of e-commerce traffic for 25 top U.S. retailers, trailing only Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and Thanksgiving, according to digital analytics firm SimilarWeb. Amazon itself has said that Prime Day sales last year were 18% higher its previous Black Friday sales, though it didn’t go into specifics.
How to compete with Prime Day, though? Amazon is keeping its sale day prices mostly close to the vest. So far, Wal-Mart’s Dare to Compare prices don’t really qualify as blockbuster bargains, according to deal site BestBlackFriday.com.
“While Walmart’s Dare to Compare sale is interesting, it is not currently going up against Prime Day prices,” said BestBlackFriday. “Since we still do not know a lot of the prices that will be available on Prime Day, it is tough to say if Wal-Mart is even in the same ballpark. At first glance, many of the deals have prices that are exactly the same as what Amazon and other competitors are offering. Some of the items are not even on sale.”