For the past seven years, every time Amazon mutters the words “Prime Day” the world goes into overdrive. Customers log on, buy and brag to their friends about their bargains. Meanwhile, retailers pull together cost-cutting sales to keep up.
Unlike last year, deal-hunters don’t have to wait till October for the deals to hit. This year, Prime Day is taking place on Monday 21st June and Tuesday 22nd June. The retail giant’s biggest sale event of the year is just days away.
What started as a one-off 24-hour event to celebrate the company’s 20th birthday has morphed into a two-day affair where Amazon offers major discounts. Plus, there are a bunch of Lightning Deals that are only available for a very limited time. There are also pre and post-Prime Day deals up for grabs. Too many discounts to handle, if you ask me.
But, what does Amazon Prime Day mean for merchants like you?
Steve Barr, PwC’s consumer markets leader, said: “For retailers, you either pay to play, or lose short-term sales”. He believes that if a retailer doesn’t get involved, they’ll push customers away. So much so, that they’ll lean in favor of Amazon instead.
Alice Foumier, Vice President of ecommerce and digital at Kantar Consulting, also warned that Prime Day is now “more of a loyalty play”. Amazon is using the event to make its Prime members feel special and to attract new customers to sign-up.
But, it’s clear to see that Prime Day is no longer just about Amazon – it’s become bigger than that. Many retailers have started to run competing sales at the same time. It’s transformed into an event where merchants everywhere can attract new customers and nurture them into long-term loyal followers.
To prepare ahead of Prime Day, we’ve thought up some ways you can beat Amazon at their own game.
Convince customers of better subscription alternatives
Numbers show that Prime subscriptions are slowing. Keith Anderson, VP of Strategy and Insights at Profitero, even stated: “If Prime Day is all about getting people to try out Prime, [it’s] not working”.
But while the interest in Prime is fading, the subscription market continues to boom. Some estimate that it will be worth £1 billion by 2022. Customers are getting a taste of the convenience of having everything – from beauty boxes to dog treats – delivered directly to their door.
Use the period around Prime Day to persuade customers that there are more rewarding subscriptions out there that give them more value than just express shipping.
For example, the make-up brand, Velour Lashes, has an “Auto-Restock” tier for members who are subscribed. These customers get VIP perks (including free shipping and a personal “Velour Lash Book”) as well as a $20 gift card.
Okana Skincare gives its subscribers access to exclusive sales, free trials, and product launches before anyone else.
These exclusive perks show customers a differentiated subscriber service to what Prime offers. And, as a result, encourages customers to sign up. These exclusive experiences will also make subscribers stay around for longer as 79% of customers say they are loyal to brands if they can unlock exclusive benefits.
It’s not all about deal-seeking
It’s not surprising that customers will be scouting out deals on Prime Day. In fact, 53% of shoppers say that price is the number one reason they make a purchase over the event.
Because of this expectation, it’s easy to feel like you need to cut costs to keep up. But remember: customers drawn in by discounts are rarely loyal.
Cut through the noise this Prime Day by taking the high ground when it comes to discounting. Instead, offer more value to your customers.
Start by harnessing your loyalty data to serve up personalized perks unique to each customer. Try rewarding them extra loyalty points on an item related to their previous purchases or remind them that they have loyalty points waiting to be spent.
And, don’t forget to tell customers about these personalized offers. Send loyalty emails that have snappy subject lines that jump out in the inbox amongst the sales messaging. Farmacy Beauty, for example, has used the subject line, “For VIPs Only: 20% Off Sitewide” in loyalty email blasts. Learn more about Farmacy’s approach to loyalty.
Loyalty emails perform 14 times better than regular marketing emails because they hold intrinsic value to the customers. Meanwhile, they maintain a personal touch. Sure, Amazon is sophisticated when it comes to recommended products, but their content and communications lack emotion. By using personalization to your advantage this Prime Day, your brand will shine in the influx of generic discounts.
Use Prime Day to acquire customers and keep them
Shoppers will be active on Prime Day – that’s guaranteed. What’s vital, however, is how you engage these first-time visitors and transform them into loyal, repeat purchasers once the sale frenzy is over.
This Prime Day, try and encourage one-time shoppers who are landing on your site to sign up for your loyalty program. Sign-up perks usually do the trick as customers will see the immediate value of joining. For example, Moxie Lash offers 100 points to new members.
Once a customer becomes a member of your loyalty program, they’re showing they want to hear from you. After Prime Day has passed, show these customers that you value and appreciate them with VIP perks and ongoing conversations. Pacifica Beauty sends loyal customers updates on future sales and new products.
By keeping the lines of communication open, your newly acquired customers will remember you and return to you long after Prime Day has passed.
Personality over price
Low prices and free shipping are why customers shop on Prime Day. But that’s not what keeps them loyal.
Loyalty is built on emotion. In fact, 65% of customers have stated that they buy on the basis of their beliefs. That’s exactly why it’s important to show how you are emotionally aligned with your customers.
Stand out this Prime Day by celebrating your personality and show-off your humanizing qualities. Where Amazon can offer a lot in terms of price and logistics, the brand still comes across as lifeless as they don’t have a distinct personality they can own.
A loyalty program is a great place to show who you are. Lucy and Yak use their full-page loyalty program to show photos of their customers wearing their products. This celebrates the brand’s fun-loving personality.
By showing how you’re different, you’ll leave a lasting impression on like-minded shoppers. And, as a result, they’ll return to you over the competition and tell others about you.
Time to reach your prime
Amazon Prime Day is transforming. Rivals are joining in and deals are already launching from every retail corner.
This year, beat Amazon at its own game by going against the norm, staying true to yourself, and make your customers feel special. After all, it’s the customers that you forge emotional bonds with that trust your brand, return to you, and tell their friends about your store.