Amazon Prime Day 2019 was one for the record books with $7.16 billion worth of goods and that kind of volume has a lot to teach everyone else in the sales game. This meteoric rise of 71% compared to 2018 is a bit overwhelming and it can feel hard to compete with, but the news isn’t all good for Amazon or bad for you.
We took a deeper look into Prime Day stats and the shoppers themselves to highlight five areas where your store can start making meaningful changes right away. We’ll look at sales volume, marketing, shopper preferences, and when people aren’t buying, because that’s just as important.
Dive in and learn that your best days are easily in front of you.
1. Awareness benefits everyone
In the eCommerce world, we often view awareness as the key to sales. This could be true for you when the awareness is of your company specifically. It might not be so true when the awareness is around an event.
We’ll look at some of the reasons that Amazon may be cannibalizing your sales or driving people away in the next few points, but we want to stay high-level to start with. So, let’s see what Amazon’s Prime Day looked like to consumers.
According to Internet Retailer data, 90% of people surveyed knew about the Prime Day sales event. That’s huge. It shows that Amazon’s marketing paid off and that they really do have a core role in the American consumer experience. They might be the only department store that matters in the digital age.
However, a follow-up question in that survey caught our eye: only 42% of people made any purchases during the event. That’s a good conversion rate relative to awareness, but it stuck out as a bit of a surprise.
Statista tells us both that Amazon had roughly 105 million paying Prime members in June, but there are a projected 128.3 million households in the U.S. This means Amazon could have a Prime member in up to 82% of U.S. households, so the 90% awareness in the Internet Retailer survey makes sense.
Now we return to that 42% figure. Half of Amazon’s reach will make a purchase on arguably it’s biggest sale day for half of the year.
What your business can take away from that is the fact that you need to do more than just have a sale. Amazon is discounting thousands of products (if not millions)and is picking up a lot of revenue. But there’s something that isn’t connecting with half of its audience.
Is it the hassle of hunting through deals? Are people frustrated by previous experiences? Did nothing catch their eye? Do the “deals” not cover things the majority of subscribers truly want? Do they have the wrong marketing personas?
Your online store should be asking these same questions. Do your homework for this and study past sales to see what might be wrong. You might not have as much individual data as Amazon, but you have fewer customers that you can focus on and derive better insight from their habits.
Always make sure that the deal you offer is tied back to customer demands and your value proposition. It’s easier for smaller stores and services, so you’ll have a good shot at reaching people when you pay attention to them.
2. Don’t count on Amazon as your only channel
Amazon’s own product lines accounted for 68% of all Prime Day sales.
The company that controls the platform runs all the marketing for sales, determines deals, and much more. It also has all of its customer data for every single sale to use to inform how it positions its products. Given that, it’s not surprising that all other sellers on the marketplace collectively accounted for just 32% of sales on Prime Day.
Amazon’s dominance is a trend that looks set to continue. Back in 2015, Amazon’s products picked up 52% of all sales, jump to 62% last year, and climbing at an even faster rate to hit 68% in 2019.
What this means for brands like yours is that you should be diversifying your channels and working to build traffic to your site. Amazon prioritizes itself and you should prioritize yourself. There’s nothing to gain by easing up on the marketing or sales pitches just because you’ve landed on a marketplace.
Consider even treating channels the same way you should be using category pages to boost performance.
Keep working on your presence and make a splash on social, in ads, and everywhere else you can. No marketplace seller can count on Amazon to be the main channel for long. As Amazon continues to roll out more of its own branded products, your market share might be the next target.
3. You don’t need one-day shipping
Some 62% of consumers say that the availability of one-day shipping has zero influence on what they buy on Prime Day, according to this roundup. There’s another interesting stat to pair with this: 52% of people are deferring purchasing something online in anticipation of the Prime Day deals.
So, the majority of the U.S. online shopping market doesn’t care about one-day shipping, but they do care about saving money on the things they want. A good deal is worth the wait.
Are you offering good deals?
We know, you immediately jumped up in your chair with a triumphant “yes!” But, it’s not your answer that matters. Your customers have to believe that you offer a good deal and are trustworthy. If you want to lure them in on the next Prime Day, you’ll need to start building that trust right now.
Roughly half of the consumers aged 35 years or older are researching what they want to buy ahead of Prime Days. One-third will sign up for lists to watch for deals. Younger consumers are doing their research too. You can’t run some informational campaign day-of and hope to reach these people. They’re doing their homework and planning ahead, so should your marketing.
One of the best tools in your educational arsenal is content marketing. Write up blog posts, make videos, get user snapshots, and find other things to share that demonstrate the quality of your products. Boost these with keywords your customers use too.
Demonstrate your value without ever talking about price. That way, when the next Prime Day or other shopping holidays come around, the research will lead to your store. When they’re ready to buy from you and already trust you, then you can talk about price and showcase your deals to close the sale.
4. Everyone benefits from Amazon Day
eMarketer looked at data from Captify and others to discover that eCommerce search for major brands other than Amazon increased on Prime Day. Amazon’s search index rose 184% on the first Prime Day, while Walmart had a 130% growth and eBay was up 72%.
Best Buy might’ve been the biggest non-Amazon winner with a growth of 255%.
Amazon’s Prime Days drive incremental shopping and interest, especially as people comparison shop and look for alternatives when they miss a deal or can’t find what they want. You might benefit from the Prime Day surge if you offer products that Amazon only has a limited deal on or a limited supply of normally.
Get people ready to look for your business as an alternative by advertising ahead of big holidays and other events. You can note that your deals are good on all products or all times, instead of being timed and limited. Put your own summer sales events at the same time and you just might pick up a few extra buyers who weren’t satisfied with what Amazon had to offer.
Prep ahead of time by reviewing your website, shopping experience, and marketing tactics. Ensure that everything is working as it should, with no dead links or buggy pages. It’s also the perfect time to update your website with the latest keywords and market research data. Prep ahead of any busy season and you’ll be able to take an even bigger slice of the potential pie.
This includes prepping your warehouse to meet increased demands during the holidays.
You might also grab more attention if your competitors on Amazon are acting shady, which brings us to one of the biggest risks that you (and others) face on marketplaces.
5. Fraud is the big sales killer
One really telling part of Prime Day is the set of people who are choosing to sit it out or at least shop around: customers who have lost trust in Amazon.
Lose someone’s trust and they’re unlikely to buy from you again, no matter how big your sale.
According to Bazaarvoice, up to 44% of online shoppers say that Amazon’s issues with fake product reviews will impact how they shop on Prime Day, with 7% saying they won’t participate at all.
That’s a significant potential revenue stream that Amazon has lost because it isn’t controlling its marketplace. For your specific products, that could mean plenty of eyes not ever looking at you due to other bad actors. Even worse, if you’re selecting, limiting, editing, or faking reviews of your own products (on Amazon or any other channel), you’re likely harming your business.
That same Bazaarvoice study notes that 41% of people said online reviews are the primary way they compare products when shopping on Prime Day. It’s safe to expand this and note that online reviews are a major part of any online purchase decision on any day. Every fake review potentially harms your business.
So, what’s a brand to do?
There are many ways to respond to this concern and the path you take depends significantly on your products, company priorities, and time. One method we’d like to discuss is radical transparency.
Be honest about who you are, what you sell, and who your ideal customer is. Part of this includes discussing who isn’t your ideal customer too. Look at the areas where you specialize and find ways to help those customers while providing support for someone who you won’t make much money from, or who could be a big drain on time and resources.
For example, you can do this by recommending other companies to call when your business is just not a good fit. Your business can easily do the same exact thing and get the same kind of reaction.
Are your boots rugged looking but not ready for a construction site? Create a blog post of your favorite steel-toe boots. Is there gluten or dairy in your food products? Clearly label your products and build a section of your site explaining your ingredients and noting products that don’t include these. Even service providers can do this, such as a law office recommending contacting your local Bar Association to find lawyers in your area.
In the online space, people are only going to buy from you if they trust you. It’s time to get a little radical by being open and honest. Trust us, your staff will thank you for only working with easy clients and your bottom line will thank you for the growth.
Jake Rheude is the Director of Marketing for Red Stag Fulfillment, an eCommerce fulfillment warehouse that was born out of eCommerce. He has years of experience in eCommerce and business development. In his free time, Jake enjoys reading about business and sharing his own experience with others.