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Prime Day Perseveres, and Makes ‘Amazon History’

Clarus Commerce CEO Tom Caporaso comments on how Amazon’s strategy of putting the customer at the center leads to record breaking Prime Day sales year after year.

(As originally published on Chain Store Age on July 18th, 2018.)

Amazon’s fourth annual Prime Day has become the online giant’s biggest shopping event yet — in terms of sales, as well as for signing up new Prime members.

During the 36-hour shopping extravaganza for Prime members, customers across 17 countries purchased more than 100 million products, according to Amazon. The number of orders was an estimated 200% of their average for the previous month, and revenue almost tripled (280%), according to Edison Trends.

Based on this momentum, sales surpassed those on Cyber Monday, Black Friday and the previous Prime Day, making this year’s Prime Day the biggest shopping event in Amazon history, according to the online giant.

While Amazon did not provide specific results, total sales for this year’s event could exceed last year’s total by 60% or more, according Feedvisor. (This is inline with results from Prime Day 2017, which grew sales by more than 60%, compared to the year prior.)

The sale also lured new Prime members in search of deals, a move that helped the company exceed its current count of 100 million members. While Amazon did not provide hard numbers, the online retailer reported that more new members signed up on July 16 than any single day in Amazon history.

Prime Day also sold the most Amazon devices to date. The Fire TV Stick with Alexa Voice Remote was Amazon’s best-selling Amazon device, and the retailer’s best-selling product overall. Other hot-selling Amazon gadgets included Echo smart speakers and Kindle e-readers, according to the company.

The online giant’s integration of Whole Foods Markets into its Prime Day marathon also spurred sales. In addition to running sales for a week leading up to the big event, the natural foods grocer also rewarded customers that spent $10 on groceries with $10 to spend during Prime Day.

Despite Amazon’s preparations, the shopping marathon got off to a rocky start. Just as the sale was about to kick-off on July 16, at 3 p.m. EST, Amazon’s website and mobile app both suffered an outage, causing digital deal seekers to receive a variety of error messages that featured the “dogs of Amazon.” Some users were initially unable to enter the site, while others were caught in a loop of pages urging them to “Shop all deals.”

During the time of this outage, Amazon could have lost between $1 million and $2 million per minute, according to sales data from Statistica.

Amazon was able to overcome the snafu, and continued to build momentum. Customers that did manage to shop successfully during Prime Day’s launch quickly set the tone for the sale, as they “ordered more items compared to the first hour [of Prime Day] last year,” according to a tweet from Amazon at 5 p.m. on July 16.

As the sale progressed, customers purchased more than five million items across toys, beauty products, PCs and computer accessories, apparel and kitchen products.

Among the sale’s best-sellers included the Instant Pot 6 quart pressure cooker; 23 and Me DNA Test, and LifeStraw Personal Water Filter. The site also sold out of the Toshiba 50-inch 4K Ultra HD Fire TV Edition, as well as the Ring Video Doorbell Pro. Amazon also sold over four times as many Ring systems compared to last year’s Prime Day sale, according to the company.

“Despite the technical glitches it experienced during the first hour of Prime Day, Amazon persevered and recorded its biggest sales event ever during the 36-hour period,” said Clarus Commerce’s CEO, Tom Caporaso. “Amazon listens to its customers, identifies pain points, and offers the benefits they desire; this is why it’s able to be continually successful.”

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