If there’s one thing that’s marked 2020 to date, it’s been sheer unpredictability. And that holds true for eCommerce retailers just as much as it does for the average consumer.
Perhaps even more so. Just last month, it was announced that eCommerce scales increased by over 31 percent between the second quarter of 2020 and the first quarter in the US, representing a revenue of $211.5 billion. That’s over 16 percent of total retail sales. And not surprisingly, Amazon’s been leading this surge in traffic, reporting earnings in excess of $88 billion for the second quarter alone.
And that’s been without Amazon’s main retail stake: Prime Day. As synonymous with Amazon as the very name Jeff Bezos, Prime Day drew an unprecedented $2 billion in sales over a 48 hour period in 2019 and resulted in an online sales boost of over 68 percent for retailers.
But that was in 2019; a year considerably more stable than what we’ve experienced over the past nine months. And while Prime Day 2020 has been plagued with inevitable delays, Amazon officially announced its scheduled date earlier this week. Here’s what you should know.
When Is Prime Day 2020?
Prime Day 2020 will kick off at approximately 12 am PST on Tuesday, October 13th and is expected to last no less than 48 hours. Don't be surprised if this year is considerably longer, however. Prime Day 2019 was increased from 36 hours in the previous year to 48 as a result of high public demand. Frankly, we wouldn’t even be shocked if Amazon extended Prime Day over a seven day period!.
Why Was Prime Day 2020 Delayed?
Amazon didn’t delay Prime Day 2020 as a result of restructuring. They rescheduled Prime Day from its normal July slot out of consideration for both consumers and retailers alike.
It’s hardly a surprise that the coronavirus pandemic has changed consumer shopping habits drastically. And while Amazon may have seen an increase in quarterly sales as a result, their organizational structure was also significantly affected. As early as March, they announced a delay in the orders and shipping of non-essential items to warehouses in order to better suit fundamental consumer demands—drawing no small share of criticism from vendors and sellers. Coupled with the decrease in disposable spending as a result of a reported unemployment rate of 10.2 percent for the month of July, delaying Prime Day 2020 wasn’t a question of convenience. It was an inevitability.
Is Prime Day Available For All Amazon Customers?
Historically, Prime Day has only been available for Amazon Prime members. That’s not likely to change in 2020. But with over 150 million Prime members reported in the fourth quarter of 2019 (an increase of more than 50 million subscribers from 2018) making up 65 percent of Amazon’s entire customer base, it’s fair to say there’s no likelihood of interest.
How Much Merchandise Actually Sells On Prime Day?
Prime Day 2019 actually surpassed sales of both Black Friday and Cyber Monday combined, drawing over $2 billion in revenue from over 175 million items.
Nor were those sales necessarily budget priced impulse buys. Over 100,000 laptops, 200,000 TVs, one million headphones and 350,000 luxury beauty products were sold during Prime Day 2019, with many of those sales coming from Amazon devices. Perhaps most surprisingly? One of Prime Day 2019’s biggest sellers in the US were 23andMe’s Health + Ancestry DNA testing kits.
Are Third Party Sellers Eligible For Prime Day?
Prime Day is available for both vendors and third party sellers, including both FBA and seller fulfilled accounts provided they meet particular criteria including:
Delivering through Amazon-approved carriers for seller fulfilled orders. Seller-fulfilled vendors must also ship over 99 percent of their orders on time and offer premium and expedited shipping options.
An order defect rate of less than 1 percent.
Compliance with official Amazon category, product and listing policies.
A rating of at least 3.5 stars or above.
I Missed The Registration Deadline To Sell On Prime Day 2020. What Should I Expect From Next Year?
Under normal circumstances, there are certain things you’ll come to expect from Prime Day—with increased traffic, increased demands, increased competition and increased frustration being just four of them.
But to reemphasize, 2020 has been anything but normal circumstances. And even under normal circumstances, there’s no way of predicting what products will sell on Prime Day during any given year. That’s because Prime Day is a two way street. It influences consumer shopping habits just as much as it’s influenced by them.
But certain practices will always be effective on Prime Day, no matter how pressing the retail climate might seem, including:
Ensuring order fulfillment concerns are addressed promptly and efficiently to avoid negative feedback.
Optimizing your listing through Amazon marketing solutions, including A+ content and PPC management.
We can’t tell you what to expect from Prime Day 2020. If you’re already registered to sell this year, chances are the next two weeks will mean two weeks worth of worrying about every last detail. Take a deep breath. You’ll handle it just fine. But if there’s one thing to remember about Prime Day 2020, it’s the same lesson we’ve all learned since its inception in 2015: the only thing you can expect from Prime Day is the unexpected.
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