The Amazon Prime Day effect

Since its launch in 2015, Prime Day – Amazon’s annual shopping event that features offers exclusively available to Amazon Prime members – has grown in scope and ambition. Last year’s global sales event was celebrated in 17 countries and, according to Amazon, was its ‘biggest in history’ yet, with more than 100 million products purchased. As the clock counts down to Prime Day 2019, Amazon will kick off an even longer 48-hour event in a bid to further ramp up participation in  its annual shopping extravaganza.

To uncover how consumers will engage on the day, Periscope By McKinsey conducted a pre-event survey exploring attitudes to Prime Day 2019 and planned activities around the event. Polling shoppers in the US, UK, France and Germany, the findings revealed that 70% or more are expecting to participate and shop for Prime Day deals this year. Interest in hunting down Prime Day offers on Amazon’s own branded devices, products and services is particularly high – with Amazon Video and Music and Amazon Echo/Alexa topping one-third or more of consumers’ wish lists.

Although one-third of consumers in Germany (39%), France (37%), the UK (31%) and the US (31%) said that they anticipate spending about the same at Prime Day 2019 compared to the last time they shopped in a Prime Day event, a noteworthy number of consumers in all markets (UK, 49%; France, 47%; US, 46%; Germany, 38%) say that they expect to spend more this year. Asked whether they intend to shop for a greater number of products during the Prime Day 2019 event, it was consumers in the UK that appeared most likely to be looking to purchase more items this time round.

But, perhaps one of the most interesting findings this year is the fact that voice-assisted shopping is clearly winning over consumer hearts and minds and becoming a significant part of their shopping experience. Over 40% of shoppers in all countries surveyed confirmed that they take advantage of the voice assistant Alexa to place orders with Amazon.

Finally, looking beyond Prime Day, consumer awareness of (and participation in) shopping holiday events seems widespread. Black Friday/Cyber Monday appears by far the most popular and well-established event in consumers’ minds, with over 70% of consumers in all markets surveyed saying they regularly participate and shop for deals. The research shows that 63% of US shoppers and 61% of UK shoppers are eager to try out different deal events, indicating that these markets, in particular, represent a golden opportunity to generate additional online revenue. Similarly, with 53% of French shoppers and 47% of German shoppers saying they’re excited by the prospect of more online shopping holiday possibilities, retailers in these markets should seriously consider kicking-off their own special events. With consumer enthusiasm clearly riding high for online shopping holidays, there are significant openings for other retailers to get in on the act.

The opportunities are ripe for the picking - Top tips for retailers and brands

Amazon’s relentless focus on eliminating friction and making it simple to shop is proving a winning combination for consumers. But with consumers’ appetite for more of these kind of shopping events, for eCommerce organisations who are able to deliver an optimised customer journey and provide a seamless experience over online, mobile and now voice, the opportunities are ripe and ready for the picking.

Retailers and brands wishing to increase their pre-event marketing performance, optimise the customer journey, and maximise the results of promotional events should consider the following steps:

Develop an integrated, omnichannel strategy: Today’s consumers increasingly expect a fast and seamless experience across channels. With the prevalence of mobile and voice-assisted shopping slowly becoming more dominant, retailers will need to rethink their consumer journeys and think about their channel strategy in terms of their overall ecosystem rather than individual channels.

Make customer-centricity the core of your business: Focus on gathering insights into your consumers’ needs and pain points using quantitative and qualitative research, behavioural data and social media, and use these learnings to inform the design of customer journeys and your promotional offer selection for the event.

Invest in advanced tools and analytics: Make use of the vast amount of data available to you; collect and analyse customer feedback, benchmark your customer experience against competitors, and set KPIs to constantly improve customer journeys. In addition, leverage data and analytics solutions to manage the delicate balancing act of promotional/price investments for traffic and margin via everyday pricing and markdown optimisation.

Plan your pre-event marketing wisely: Consumers research their shopping targets well ahead of an event. Prepare your event marketing pipeline strategically to build awareness and prepare and curate promotions for each customer that incentivize them to participate on the day.

For more information on this research, download the report “The Amazon Prime Day Effect: Consumer Anticipation and Excitement Grows in 2019” via this link.