Ask any big box retailer about Black Friday and you’ll likely get an earful, But ask any Amazon merchant about the virtual equivalent that is Prime Day and you just might understand why it’s as much of a bane as it is a boon.
And not without good reason. Prime Day 2019 sales actually surpassed both Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales in 2018, with over $2 billion being spent on a single platform over a single 48 hour period alone. To give you a relative idea of the magnitude of that share, total eCommerce sales in the US were approximately $98 billion during the first quarter of 2017—over two years after the introduction of Prime Day.
Can Prime Day be a boost to both your visibility, sales and long term customers? Absolutely. Can it also be a boost to headaches and frustration? Unquestionably. If you’re unprepared.
What To Know About Prime Day 2020
Due to fears about the COVID-19 pandemic, there’s a strong chance Prime Day 2020 will actually be much later than many consumers initially anticipated. While no specific date has yet to be revealed by Amazon, the most recent reports indicate that it should occur no earlier than August in place of the standard weekend of July 15th - 16th.
But for merchants this can actually be good news. It means that vendors whose inventory and supply chain management have been directly affected by the pandemic—with some reports indicating an increase in sales of up to 50 percent—are given a few additional weeks to increase both ther production and their stock.
The bad news? Your supply might not meet the current demand.
What To Expect From Prime Day 2020
Traditionally, Prime Day’s always been a summer sale; which means that seasonal items are going to see just as much a surge of interest as all-year items. But given the uncertainty of the pandemic’s length, vendors might actually expect to see a much greater spike in everyday household items than normal, in addition to specialty offerings.
In the absence of Prime Day’s normal schedule, more than a few analysts are predicting competition from the likes of Walmart and Jet.com to fill the void in mid-July with their own exclusive two day offerings. But what they seem to forget is that a large portion of Prime Day’s appeal always has been the result of Amazon’s own proprietary product lines—product lines their big box rivals are incapable of competing with.
Surprisingly, COVID-19 may not necessarily have made as significant an impact on manufacturing and production as initially expected in some of the regions most affected by the virus. The National Bureau of Statistics in China recently reported an increase in the production of high tech products (with some segments indicating an uptick as high as 120 percent) during January and February, while data also suggests the Purchasing Managers Index for the manufacturing sector increased by 52 percent in March after a sharp decline earlier in February.
But the real threat on Prime Day may not be from Amazon’s competitors or even overseas manufacturers. A recent report from PwC indicates that 34 percent of businesses are concerned about the impact supply chain management will have on their daily operations, while some 42 percent are actively evaluating alternative solutions to the scope of their supply chains. And that shift just may have you reevaluating how to better assess your own inventory management come Prime Day.
How To Prepare For Prime Day 2020
Establish a Clear Line of Communication in Your Supply Chain You won’t be the only vendor working with your manufacturers and distributors. And not only will there be a strong chance they’ll be operating with limited manpower, they’ll also have the more pressing priority of fulfilling orders delayed by the pandemic. You can help minimize any misunderstandings by identifying what aspects of your supply chain can be self-fulfilled and communicating changes in the process clearly and precisely to all parties involved.
It’s Prime Day. Don’t Expect Business As Usual Bargains are immune to pandemics. And while there’s no way of knowing just how dramatically it will affect consumer purchasing habits, there’s one thing you can be reasonably certain of. Most customers will be willing to wait until Prime Day before making a purchase, And not just any purchase. At least 40 percent are likely to make an impulse buy. You won’t just see more browsing. You’ll see more competitive browsing. And you’re going to need an effective method of converting impulse purchases into long term sales. New customers are only part of your business. Maintaining their loyalty is the real challenge.
Leverage Amazon Solutions To Your Advantage Customers aren’t simply enticed by a great bargain. They want to know every single facet of a product before purchasing. After all, Prime Day is as much about comparison shopping as it is about shopping in an exclusive time frame. Luckily, Amazon has a host of enhanced content features that can help you make the most of your listing. Lightning deals, A+ Content, Spotlight Deals, Stores on Amazon and Sponsored Products don’t just encourage customers to look. They encourage them to make an informed purchase.
Be Prepared For The Surge It’s not just inventory management you’re going to need to address. It’s your visibility. Customers may be enticed by your discounts, but there’s a strong chance they’ll wind up being long term converts—so long as you know how to manage your presence effectively.
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