Prime Day Recap: Three Key Takeaways For Brick-And-Mortar Biz

Prime Day made millions — but sales were flat when compared to 2015. Here’s what retailers need to know.

This year’s Amazon Prime Day taught us an important lesson: No one is going to buy a $1500 tub of lubricant, even if it is 10 percent off.

Okay, all joking aside, the e-tail giant’s version of “Black Friday” did lend some important retail lessons. The sale is plainly massive, and it’s something that brick-and-mortar businesses need to be aware of going forward; as we wrote Tuesday, rather than trying to beat Amazon on price, retailers need to think about how they can invest in creating personalized in-store experiences.

But with Prime Day now in the rearview mirror, what else did we learn? What was the consumer response — and how can brick-and-mortar businesses use that to get back in the gam

1. Early reports show that Prime Day U.S. sales are flat: Amazon’s sales numbers for third-party sellers were flat through 5 PM Tuesday compared with last year, according to e-commerce software company ChannelAdvisor. But while last year’s $400 million in incremental revenue was certainly significant, analysts were expecting 2016 sales to as much as double, The Street reported. They didn’t.

The takeaway? Amazon will certainly still see a sales spike, and it likely still have accomplished its other goal: getting more users to buy Prime subscriptions in exchange for access to the Prime Day deals. But will the sale grow exponentially each year, becoming unreachable for other marketers? Signs point to no.

2. While the sale generated a great deal of social media buzz, consumer response was mixed: Twitter was abuzz with discussion of the best Prime Day deals, meaning that Amazon got what it wanted in that respect. But technical issues plagued the early part of the day, and customer responses were, overall, mixed.

While some users shared gifs of themselves furiously trying to track down goods, others tweeted dissatisfied responses: “Amazon Prime Day is an amazing celebration of mediocre discounts on mediocre products,” wrote one. “Happy Add To Cart Failed Day everyone!” complained another.

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Brick-and-mortar retailers can never hope to win shoppers away from Amazon entirely. But there is an opportunity here in the form of customer service: While shopping, retailers should ensure that product and department information — whether from store associates or digital means — is consistently available, that “extras” like in-store pickup are seamless, and that the brand experience is smooth across all digital and physical touch points. Customers who have recently experienced a “Prime Day fail” — with no representative on hand to help — will appreciate it.

3. Remember the rule: Give them something they can’t get on Amazon: We’ve been talking about this concept since before Prime Day existed, but it’s still true. Amazon targets deals effectively, and major online flash sales make it a desirable destination for buying essential products quickly. But it isn’t a shopping experience.

Rather than compete to offer a better discount on a beekeeping suit (really), retailers should focus on what made them great in the first place — and that’s crafting an atmosphere where the experience of shopping is actually enjoyable. Read more here.

About The Author
Lauryn Chamberlain Lauryn Chamberlain @laurynchamberla

Lauryn Chamberlain is the Associate Editor of A New York City based journalist, she specializes in stories related to retail, dining, hospitality, and travel.