Priming The Holidays: Amazon Moves Sales Blast To October, And Everyone Else Must Adapt

The email telling me I was "officially invited to Prime Day!" hit my inbox at 11:43 this morning. It proudly stated that the "Two days of epic deals" start on October 13. 

If that was supposed to be big news, it failed, as CNET had already publicized the dates and Amazon’s Whole Foods had tipped me off by email about the same thing at precisely 11:24 a.m.  

Thus starts the hoopla about the only big shopping day branded with the name of a company. 

But there’s a slight problem: Usually scheduled for July, this year’s date is being crammed in just prior to the holiday shopping season.  

For one thing, that means more crowded inboxes during an already busy time of year. For another, this is causing certain inconveniences for Amazon sellers.

Two-thirds of those firms are focused more on Black Friday and Cyber Monday and the holiday season than Prime Day, according to a poll of 24 fellow community members by Jungle Scout, a platform for Amazon sellers. And three-fourths are worried about running out of stock in the fourth quarter. 



They’re right to be worried about the latter point. A separate study by RetailMeNot found that 75% of U.S. consumers aim to finish their holiday shopping early, and among them, 39% are doing so because they want to avoid shipping delays and items being out of stock.

That means starting in October or even earlier for 41%.  

Amazon is positioned to get part -- but not all -- of that early business. Of the consumers polled by Jungle Scout, 39% will utilize Amazon during Prime Day. Maybe that’s good in the era of COVID-19, but it still marks a 3% drop from 2019. 

“Prime Day usually sees a sales spike equivalent to the Q4 holiday spike, but this year is unprecedented due to Amazon Prime Day, Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and the holiday shopping season all happening within 2-3 months,” states Greg Mercer, Amazon seller and CEO of Jungle Scout.

Moreover, not all consumers are shopping on Amazon during the pandemic. Among their reasons: 

  • I prefer shopping in-stores for the product(s) I’ve needed during this time — 26%
  • I don’t have an Amazon Prime account — 22%
  • I don’t order from Amazon — 13%
  • I tried to but Amazon didn’t have the product(s) I was needing in stock — 13%
  • I’ve been deterred by duration or uncertainty of shipping times — 11%
  • Amazon doesn’t have the type of product(s) I am looking for — 9% 

Some sellers are annoyed by the delays.

Not that you should worry about Amazon — 70% of consumers see value in shopping there, and only 24% have stopped due to products being out of stock or concerns over shipping delays.

Meanwhile, countless Thanksgiving-week emails will be moved into October, meaning that all customer-service triggers will have to be in place in order to provide a seamless experience. 

Happy Halloween.




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