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The 3 Most Important Prime Day 2019 Takeaways for Retailers

Prime Day is all about Amazon, but it’s also not.

While this year the two-day shopping event was one of the biggest in company history, Prime Day has become a major opportunity for all retailers. It even surpassed Black Friday and Cyber Monday combined this year.

It has really transformed into a shopping holiday in general, like Christmas in July.

We know that Amazon sold 175 million items and was projected to bring in $5.8 billion in global sales (a 49% increase from Prime Day 2018), but there are a million articles on that circling around this week.

Here are the most important Prime Day 2019 takeaways for retailers.


1. Prime Day is the Rising Tide That Lifts all Retail Ships

In the first 24 hours, Prime Day generated a 66% revenue lift for e-commerce retailers.

Large retailers with $1 billion-plus in annual revenue experienced a 72% increase in online sales versus an average Tuesday. And there was a 64% spike in sales versus an average Monday on the first day of Prime Day.

Smaller retailers also saw a 30% increase in Monday online sales.

Searches for BestBuy, Walmart, and eBay all increased significantly over the two days.

Other retailers have been running their own special deals this week. Target focused discounts on its own home goods brands. Walmart is expected to run deals on tons of products through midweek.

Overall, hundreds of retailers were expected to take advantage of the Prime Day halo effect.

Was your brand one that offered special deals for Prime Day?


2. Prime Isn’t Just About Free Shipping

When it comes to Prime Day deals, people do need the membership. And a Prime membership does bring fast, free shipping and exclusive discounts top of mind.

But a Prime membership isn’t just about transactional benefits like those. And your loyalty program shouldn’t be, either.

Your ultimate loyalty goal should always be to create an emotional connection with people.

And every interaction your brand has with someone is an opportunity to build this connection. Loyalty programs should help with this, but most of them don’t. Why?

Most traditional loyalty programs are the same. They don’t really go deeper than those transactional benefits. Prime does.

Transactional benefits are still necessary. They make people feel smart. Who doesn’t like to get a good deal?

But Amazon brings in in other types of benefits as well. Prime Video, Prime Music, Prime Photos and Kindle Owners’ Lending Library are examples of benefits that go beyond a discount.

These are the types of benefits that become interwoven into peoples’ lives.

Is it any surprise that Amazon heavily promoted Fire TV devices, voice assistants, Kindles and other home technology during Prime Day?

But just because you aren’t Amazon doesn’t mean you can’t take a page from the Prime playbook. Other retailers are doing it, too.

In addition to 25 percent off, RH Members get complimentary design services with RH Interior Design, a concierge service and early access to clearance events for $100 annually.

For $128 annually, Lululemon’s loyalty program members not only get a pair of yoga pants to justify that investment financially. They also have access to exclusive yoga and workout classes which create a unique experience that non-members can’t have.

It’s important to balance transactional and experiential benefits.

While Prime Day itself is more focused on transactional benefits, Prime does a great job of going deeper. And this shopping holiday is a great opportunity to get people in.


3. Prime Day is Still About Acquisition (and Retention)

Prime Membership eclipsed 100 million last year. And those members spend more than double that of non-members.

If you are a Prime member, chances are you saw emails for things like Prime Video, complete with recommendations based on your data.

While I’m not a Prime member, I do have a Firestick and rent movies on Prime. And after getting such an email, I thought, “Maybe I should join Prime just for the streaming videos after all”.

And if you’re also not a Prime member, when did you receive your 30-day free trial of Prime email?

Mine came on July 11th.  And to illustrate the above point, it didn’t just highlight discounts. While fast, free delivery was called out, so was entertainment. And not just any entertainment. “The best of entertainment.”

The second and third emails came on July 15th and 16th, in the heat of Prime Day(s).

It advertised deals on Echo and Alexa devices, Fire TV devices, home security devices, and more. All products that will help integrate Amazon into your daily life.

And of course, there were links to that free trial membership in all those emails.

Increase memberships, get Amazon products into homes, and gather data to increase loyalty and retention.

At the end of the day, Amazon is still using Prime Day as a member acquisition tool. But going deeper, Prime itself is about retention.

Why can’t you think of it the same way with your loyalty program? What better time to encourage people to sign up and build stronger relationships than during Prime Day?


Consumers are Ready to Join Your Premium Loyalty Program

Nearly 70% of consumers agree their loyalty is more difficult for a retailer to maintain than ever before, while 88% agree retailers could do more to earn their long-term loyalty.

Yet Prime continues to grow and gain more members. Why are people so loyal to Amazon? What gives?

Well, it turns out that retailers are simply not offering their own premium loyalty programs.

So often loyalty programs are focused on signups, but then a lack of differentiation causes member activity to get stagnant.

That’s why building a premium loyalty program unique to your customers is critical. That’s where emotional connections are made. That’s where retention comes from.

Learn more about premium loyalty.

So, while Amazon is blasting out emails about Echo’s and Video, you should consider talking to your customers about exclusive perks and experiences that they can’t get at Amazon.

58 percent of consumers currently belong to a premium program while just under two-thirds of those who belong to a paid loyalty program plan to join additional programs in the next 12 months.

Perhaps even more importantly, 31% of consumers say they have yet to join a paid loyalty program because the retailers they shop with don’t offer them.

With the next Prime Day a year away, will your customers be in your program? Or will they be shopping with Amazon?

Paul Wolfer

Paul is our Senior Manager, B2B Marketing. He works closely with the leadership team on strategic positioning, messaging and branding. When he's not posting on LinkedIn or working on the newest data study, he can usually be found adventuring to breweries or attempting to learn a new song on his guitar.

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