Large Retailers See 64% Prime Day One Sales Lift; Glitches Repeat

Large retailers in the U.S., those with over $1 billion in sales, saw a nice Prime Day bump on July 15 according to data from Adobe Analytics, with a 64% increase in sales vs. a typical Monday, up from 54% last year.

Smaller retailers under $5 million, meanwhile, realized a smaller 30% sales lift, Adobe said.

More than half of U.S. households have a Prime membership, according to new data from eMarketer, according to CBS News. The invented holiday, now in its fifth year, is a strong booster of Prime membership and now the de facto kickoff to the back-to-school shopping season, the second largest after the Thanksgiving-to-Christmas period.

Last year more members were added on Prime Day than any time in the company’s history, according to Jefferies analyst Brent Thill as reported in the Wall Street Journal.

The first day of Prime Day 2019 predictably led to increased visits to online retailers, accounting for a 66% sales lift, according to Adobe. Of that, 27% was caused by an increase in conversion, and 7% was from bigger basket sizes.

Buy online pickup in store (BOPIS) was a winner on Prime Day one, with average order values increasing by 12%, from $115 to $131. It’s typically used for less expensive orders, Adobe reported.

Adobe’s insights are based on an analysis of one trillion visits to more than 4,500 retail sites representing 55 million SKUs.

As was the case last year, Amazon experienced some technical glitches, mostly related to shoppers having difficulty adding items to their cart, according to CBS. The items added normally on subsequent tries – as was the case with this reporter – but we consumers are an impatient lot, and many shoppers aired their grievances on Twitter. This of course prompted eBay to tweet about its tongue-in-cheek “Crash Sale” campaign hawking items “you really want to buy.”

While Amazon acted quickly to resolve the issues, every second is critical when it comes to the customer experience in 2019, said Tim de Paris, CTO at digital experience firm Decibel.

“This is particularly true given the energy other retailers like Target have taken to be competitive with Prime Day this year,” de Paris said. “It was broadly expected that Amazon had learned its lesson after the last crash and would put technical support in place to avoid the same fate in 2019, but the retail giant has failed to do so. Now, Amazon must consider how to provide an exceptional experience to win back customers.”

As they promised, workers at an Amazon fulfillment center in Shakopee, MN walked off the job at 3 p.m. on July 15 for a six-hour work stoppage to protest wages and working conditions. The same thing happened at an Amazon facility in Germany. However the job action was reportedly smaller than anticipated in Minnesota, with only 20 punching out early and just seven of them participating in the protest.

Michelle Fischer, chief customer and marketing officer at Kibo, said retailers should use their Prime Day experience to fine-tune messaging for the coming peak season, focusing not just on deals and discounts but also personalization, inventory visibility and options.

“Instead of sending out cookie-cutter emails or texts, retailers have the opportunity to send personalized recommendations based on what shoppers are likely to purchase, in addition to information on products in stock at high inventory levels,” Fischer said. “Through leveraging a consumer’s history, they can continue to customize the experience from order placement to in-store pickup.”

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