This week marked Amazon’s second annual Prime Day, a day when the retailer promises “amazing” deals to its most loyal customers (i.e., those who pay $99 annually for Prime membership).
Last year’s inaugural Prime Day shattered Amazon’s Black Friday sales record by 18 percent. Customers ordered 34 million items across Prime-eligible countries at a rate of 398 items per second.
In spite of that success last year, the online giant was heavily criticized for offering a disappointing selection of products. So this time Amazon tried to offer better sale items, including a Samsung curved 55-inch 4K TV for $650 and a KitchenAid Stand Mixer for $250.
Brick-and-mortar Retailers Prepare with Deals of their Own
Another significant difference this year is that traditional brick-and-mortar retailers, such as Best Buy, Walmart and Toys R Us, prepared for Prime Day with sales of their own, some lasting the entire week and including incentives such as free two-day shipping.
Though Amazon’s Prime Day has spurred a retail frenzy that offers consumers lower price points and fast shipping, it cannot replicate the brick-and-mortar retail experience consumers still enjoy. In fact, 85 percent of consumers report they prefer to shop in a physical store so they can touch and feel items before making purchases.
Supporting this concept is the success of stores such as Ulta Beauty and Sephora, which offer a beauty destination with a range of products from high-end to everyday. Even 71 percent of millennials and Gen Z (age 20 and under) report they like the option of going to a Warby Parker or Bonobos location—or even a physical Amazon store—to get that experience.
Many brick-and-mortar retailers blend online shopping with the in-store experience by offering “buy online, pick up in store” transactions. This enables consumers to pick up their purchase at the store—without waiting for shipping—which often leads to them buying additional items while there.
All retailers can thank Amazon for literally creating a modern-day “Christmas in July,” which puts consumers into a buying mood they otherwise wouldn’t have considered on a midsummer Tuesday. So at a time when consumers are suddenly eager to shop, whether online or at a physical store, retailers that want to grab part of the Prime Day spending frenzy must remember that along with low prices, they also must engage customers and provide prompt, superior service across all channels.
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