Mid-July brings an onslaught of “back-to-school” sales, Nordstrom’s big anniversary sale, and drastic summer clearance prices. Amazon has promised to top not only all of them, but Black Friday as well, with unbelievable bargains on July 15, the day which the online retail giant has declared “Prime Day” – a new global sales holiday.
The retailer’s fake holiday on July 15 celebrates the online shopping behemoth’s 20th anniversary in typical retailer fashion. They are offering to sell faithful customers even more stuff, albeit at a steep discount which they declare will surpass Black Friday. The catch is that the one-day sale will be limited to Amazon Prime members in the United States, Canada, United Kingdom, Japan, Spain, Italy, Germany, France and Austria. (Presumably the discounts will make up for the fee of $99 per year to belong to the Prime service.)
The 24-hour sale, which starts at midnight Pacific time, will reportedly feature thousands of “Lightning Deals.” The company has also said there will be seven “Deals of the Day.” For insomniacs, they are supposedly planning limited time deals around the clock that will pop up every ten minutes or so. Items will include video games, electronics, clothing, toys and, given how Amazon started out, presumably books.
It has been a long time since the company, in its first foray into online retailing, was an online bookstore which offered a far greater selection than brick-and-mortar booksellers. Within two months, Amazon was moving merchandise throughout the U.S. and in more than 45 countries. Eventually, they acquired other lines of business and struck deals to host retail web sites and handle order fulfillment for other retail firms.
Amazon may have looked at one of its largest global competitors when trying to think of how to celebrate its 20th. Chinese e-commerce firm Alibaba previously had a one-day sales holiday that reportedly brought in $9 billion in sales.
Besides generating revenue with its anniversary-sale holiday, the e-commerce company is clearly trying to drum up more Prime members. “Prime Day is a one-day only event filled with more deals than Black Friday, exclusively for Prime members around the globe. Members tell us every day how much they love Prime and we will keep making it better,” announced Greg Greeley, vice president of Amazon Prime. Of course, his statement went on to suggest that those who are not Prime members now should sign up so they do not miss out on “one of the biggest deals extravaganzas in the world.”
Prime provides members “free” two-day shipping (as part of the $99 membership fee) – on over 20 million items. Unlimited same-day delivery is also available for free on select items in 14 metro areas.
The temptation for Prime members “to save” has paid off for Amazon. Reportedly, Prime members spend 40 percent more on the site than non-members. Prime subscribers also have access to the retailer’s media streaming services, which are trying to compete with Netflix and Spotify.
Increased competition for Amazon is another possible reason the company has declared July 15 its anniversary Prime Day sales holiday, promising to top what is offered on Black Friday or Cyber Monday. Walmart plans to launch a rival service soon, and eBay has also indicated they may have plans for a new subscription service.
Opinion by Dyanne Weiss
Edited by Jennifer Pfalz
Amazon Media Room: Step Aside Black Friday – Meet Prime Day
CBS News: Amazon celebrates 20 years with “more deals than Black Friday”
PC Magazine: Amazon Celebrating 20 Years With ‘Prime Day’ Deals
Fast Company: Amazon Creates Its Own Sales Holiday, “Amazon Prime Day”
Photo courtesy of Amazon