While Amazon is counting its money from its third annual Amazon Prime Day — the e-commerce giant’s midsummer event generated an estimated $1 billion in sales, its biggest single day ever — other U.S. retailers didn’t simply watch from the sidelines. Some counter-attacked and built momentum that will carry forward into the critical holiday shopping season.
Our tracking data shows that retailers experienced an average 13% lift in traffic on Prime Day 2017 versus the same days/hours over the prior two weeks, with a peak boost happening around 9 p.m. on July 11, as the 30-hour sale neared its end. Retailers that heavily promoted their own specials fared even better than these averages.
Although only the retailers themselves can say whether these bumps in site traffic translated to incremental sales and profits, these figures definitely reveal that shoppers are not looking exclusively to Amazon for online deals. Some are visiting rival sites to compare prices and check out product ratings and reviews. Shoppers are still turning to their favorite physical stores as well.
Among the highlights:
Our best advice to retailers — for both Prime Day and the holiday season ahead — is to take advantage of traffic peaks to scale your customer email database. To turn new, unrecognized visitors immediately into identified customers, you have to offer a strong value exchange. For example, highlight special features only available to registered users, like access to an interactive “Find the perfect product for you” tool, an entry into an instant-win contest, a sign-up bonus, the ability to save and distribute a wish list, and (longer-term) earning loyalty rewards. Once you have their identity, you can directly address these first-time shoppers with a nurturing stream of one-to-one communications, to convert more of them to returning customers.
Which, admittedly, is taking another page out of Amazon’s playbook. The point of Prime Day, after all, is to get more people to sign up for the Prime service, one of the most successful loyalty programs ever (not to mention one of the most lucrative: Prime subscribers spend roughly twice as much annually on Amazon as non-subscribers, according to recent estimates).
But as many of the aforementioned retailers are proving, it’s a complicated world and there’s still room for specialists who appeal to specific lifestyle groups (like the achievement-oriented, spirited 20- to 30-year-olds that Express targets) and product types (like Best Buy’s focus on complex technology that consumers need help understanding). Maybe only Amazon has the power and influence to create new shopping holidays out of thin air, but it’s not the only retailer capable of creating a shopping experience that keeps customers coming back.