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What can we learn from Amazon Prime Day 2017 to help improve sales?

Sam O'Reilly
21 July 2017 11:24

What is Amazon Prime day?

Every year, the online giant Amazon hosts a huge Prime day sale to boost sales and attract hundreds of new and return customers. Most online retailers however, would not be able to host their own successful Prime day. Despite this, there are things that Amazon do very well that smaller businesses can learn from and use to grow.

Amazon Prime day started in 2015 as a celebration of Amazon's 20th anniversary. The celebration was a huge 24-hour sale hosted on Amazon that was only accessible to Prime members. Throughout the sale, over 100,000 products across all categories become available to buy at reduced prices. After seeing how successful it was, Amazon decided to host Prime day annually. The yearly sale has drastically increased conversions and Prime subscriptions.  Prime day 2017 was a little different to the previous years with one major change being the start time, pushed back a day from July 11th to the evening of July 10th, and the length of the sale with an increase from 24 hours to 30. 

What can we learn from Amazon Prime day that can help small businesses build sale?

Amazon has used some very effective marketing techniques that help to make their Prime day sale such a huge success. Here are some that smaller businesses can use to help their business succeed.

  • Using a Simple Message

It is important to remember not to overcomplicate your message. One of the key reasons for the success of Amazon Prime day is how easy their message was for people to understand, 'Prime membership gives you benefits that will save you money when shopping on Amazon". If you can find a simple idea that sticks that you can communicate clearly and impactfully, your marketing will be more likely to succeed. 

A good example of a business using this technique successfully is Tobias Clothing with their simple message 'Tobias  Shirts support the Akanksha Foundation' Their message sticks and is clearly communicated throughout their eCommerce website with mentions in the header and footer across the whole website and even a page dedicated to their message.

  • Using Events and Sales

Businesses can use events, like Prime day, to promote their business, to help attract more customers and to boost their conversions. Amazon's Prime day saw their sales grow by 60% and a record number of new Prime subscriptions. Prime day isn't the only event the Amazon take part in, there are many examples of on their YouTube channel that showcases some of what they do, for example, events at animal shelters and world book day.

An example of a smaller business using events successfully to grow is Dr Zigs. They go to many different events to show off their products and to increase their branding. One of their most recent successful events that Dr Zigs took part in was Glastonbury music festival where they showed off their products and gained a lot of interest in their business.

  • Building Anticipation

Amazon built up the anticipation around very successfully for their Prime day sale using marketing techniques including advertising videos, HTML email campaigns and social media to interact with and to keep their customers interested. They sent a string of HTML emails counting down the days to Prime day and highlighting some of the deals to keep the interest of their subscribers. They also kept a constant stream of posts on their social media and also interacted with their customers. It's easy to see that this works with the likes and retweets on their Twitter account and the views on their YouTube videos.

An example of a smaller organisation using social media to build anticipation is Harbour Church Portsmouth on Instagram. They consistently post images that build up a sense of anticipation around their upcoming events and help to attract more people to take part.

  • Succeed where Amazon failed to deliver

Although Amazon is usually very successful in their sales, not everything goes to plan. There were some problems with their website and their shipping that were highlighted by a very vocal group of people on social media and on forums. #AmazonPrimeDayFail was even a popular hashtag on Twitter. Some of the 'deals' on Prime day actually made the products more expensive and some customers were forced to wait longer for their products to arrive even though Amazon Prime products are advertised as next day delivery. 

Some ways that smaller businesses can learn from where Amazon failed is by using good stock control and making sure that you can deliver on your promises. For example, if you promise next day delivery and fail to give that to your customers, they'll lose trust in your business and will be less likely to be a return buyer.

With KhooSeller multi-channel integrated inventory management solution you are always in control of your stock levels across your various online presences. Therefore, the problem that Amazon had would not occur with KhooSeller.

Afterthought: For Amazon Sellers...

Amazon Prime Day is great for sales on Amazon, but what do you do if you are an Amazon Seller and you sell on your own eCommerce website as well?

The best way to use Prime Day effectively is to, as for your other Amazon sales, use these sales to drive repeat customers back to your website, rather than your Amazon presence.

This can be done through including your sales information in your distribution packaging and giving your customers a 'value-add' when they buy from your website rather than Amazon i.e. multi-buys and discounts. By introducing customers to your actual website, not only do you save on the sales % to Amazon, you can also begin to build customer relationships and brand loyalty particularly if you can offer better deals for your customers.

Later on in this year, KhooSeller shall be releasing the ability to automate selling your products across multiple channels, including Amazon. This will enable you to link your Amazon and eBay listings with your website listings and effectively manage your inventory, regardless of which channel the customer buys from. For more information about the update, don't hesitate to get in touch with our team.


If you want to do something similar to Amazon Prime day for your business or something similar to some of the example businesses that we highlighted in this blog post, please feel free to contact us to talk to advisers and find out how we can help your business grow.