Amazon Makes a Statement with Prime Day

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Not all social mentions were kind to Amazon, but mentions were up 50% and sales increased 80%. Most of all, Jeff Bezos and company got the jump on the competition.

Amazon's personal Black Friday won it an 80% sales bump compared to an average July day, according to Channel Advisor. And though half of the mentions of Amazon on social media related to sadness over the lack of blockbuster deals or attractive merchandise, according to the Adobe Digital Index, those mentions were up 50% over the 30-day average for July—and as the saying goes, there's no such thing as bad publicity.

“Prime Day peak order rates have already surpassed 2014 Black Friday,” Greg Greeley, VP of Amazon Prime said in an early afternoon release yesterday. “The Kate Spade purse was gone in less than a minute. We also sold 1,200 of the $999 TVs in less than 10 minutes. “

Greeley, of course, was speaking in terms of Black Friday at Amazon. Adobe pointed out (as did this publication last week) that Prime Day was, indeed, not Black Friday in the minds consumers. Prime Day received 90,000-plus social mentions as of 4 p.m. yesterday versus 1.6 million for Black Friday 2014—20 times more. But a relativity factor must be taken into account. Prior to last week no one had ever heard of Prime Day, whereas Black Friday was an internationally known institution in 2014. Then there's the factor of 40 million (maximum) Prime Members able to take part in Prime Day versus 330 million Americans eligible for Black Friday.

But Amazon succeeded in throwing down the gauntlet in front of other retailers with an audacious play to claim its own day with a capital “D.” Walmart social mentions yesterday were flat. And, for this year at least, Amazon was the only retailer able to prepare for this momentous retail event. That fact was borne out in the email activity of top retailers leading up to the event.

According to eDataSource, which tracks more than 25 million branded emails a day, neither Walmart nor Best Buy mailed emails reactive to Prime Day until the day itself, July 15. (One telling Walmart subject line: “Lower prices. No membership needed. Dare to compare!) Amazon sent its first email on July 7 (“Mark Your Calendar for July 15”) to 3.5 million people and got a 27% read rate. Two follow-up emails on the 10th received read rates in excess of 40%. Walmart's highest rate was 25% and Best Buy's was 15%.

“Amazon did a fair amount of mailing in the week or so before Prime Day, and just look at those read rates! It's unusual to see read rates like this for an event,” says John Landsman, director of strategy and analytics at eDataSource.

Landsman notes that Amazon clearly did not email its entire Amazon Prime membership base, surprising in that they were the only consumers that could take advantage of the Prime Day deals. He said he'll be watching for Amazon email activity a month from now, when the 30-day free trial of Prime will run out on the people who took advantage of the offer to get in on the bargains. Because what many of today's news reports of Prime Day neglected to mention was that it was just as much a loyalty club recruitment event than a one-day clearance sale.


Source: eDataSource

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