Prime Day is a fictitious holiday clearly created by an ecommerce company to get you and I and everyone else to separate ourselves from our hard-earned money solely for the purpose of purchasing “stuff.”
The idea of a commerce-created holiday is not new. The list is long and includes such hallmarks (pun intended) as Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day and any other number of holidays created to sell specific products like cards, candy and flowers.
Yet Prime Day is special. There is no mask hiding its ulterior motive. There is no pretend benefit. This is simply a big commerce company convincing you to spend your money on products you probably didn’t need — but when they are heavily discounted, you decide clearly must have them.
Last year, Amazon said it sold over 100 million products and had more Prime sign-ups than on any other day in history. If you’re paying attention, that means Amazon converted millions of people to subscribe to the opportunity to buy heavily discounted items. That not only drives a healthy pop-in sales, but it also creates recurring revenue for Amazon. That’s analogous to Walmart charging a cover charge for every time you enter the store. Clearly it’s a brilliant concept.
It’s amazing to me that there is so much pent-up demand for spending money. The cynic in all of us will certainly say it’s a sign of the materialistic nature of today’s environment — and it would be right.
The truth is, Amazon simply understands that fact and has harnessed its power for the company’s benefit.
You might read this sentence and think I’m condemning Amazon. I’m not. I’m in awe of how well — and how clearly — it understands the motivations of today’s consumer.
I wouldn’t be surprised if Amazon eventually puts together a recycling center for the refurbishment and resale of the items you purchase on its site, or the pure recycling of the products that get thrown out, thereby having a more positive impact on the environment.
Amazon does understand its audience, and is in a unique position to shape the views of the national (and international) consumer. I would hope Amazon takes a position of leadership in areas like sustainability and recycling to shape the future more positively.
Overall, I think media companies have a responsibility to lead, especially in the arena of positively affecting climate change and helping repair the environment. Print publishers (for the most part) have done so by doing things like printing on recycled paper. Now it’s time for commerce and internet companies to do the same.
Amazon execs: If you’re reading this: please feel free to reach out. I want to hear your story for the future and would love to help spread the word. As a columnist, I can help influence people (maybe even you). Let’s all work together and be brilliant for the future together.