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Amazon’s Prime Day promises to shake up ecommerce

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Today sees one of the biggest online events of the year: Amazon Prime Day.

It's 24 hours filled to the brim with discounts, as hosted by one the biggest online retailers. The reductions started last week in the run-up to the big day, and the discounts are available to both Amazon Prime subscribers and customers opting in for a free 30-day Prime trial.

Amazon isn’t the only one cashing in, though. Last year, Prime Day was the sixth biggest online shopping day in the UK calendar, ahead of Valentine’s Day. And an analysis of the UK’s top 25 retailers saw an impressive 29.1 million mobile and desktop visits, of which only about a third went to Amazon. In fact, the online retailer itself has said that 30 per cent of its Prime Day deals are offered by third-party marketplace sellers on the site.

Prime Day joins a growing number of online shopping holidays. Where traditionally, shopping holidays have focused around existing calendar events like Christmas, Easter and Mother’s Day, the boom in ecommerce has seen a growing number of retailers inventing their own shopping holidays to boost online sales. The biggest ecommerce holiday of them all in the UK is Black Friday, where digital spending went up last year by a whopping 259 per cent in a single day, as British consumers spent £1.1 billion. This ends up making November the peak month for the online retail industry, dictated by the proximity of Black Friday and Christmas. 

Yet while Black Friday was designed to kickstart the festive shopping season, retailer-owned shopping holidays like Amazon Prime Day are also in a position to shake up the UK ecommerce scene. We already know that 69 per cent of Britons do their holiday shopping online; Holiday retail ecommerce sales rake in billions and keep growing year on year. Consumers can’t help but find shopping holidays irresistible, as evident by 20 per cent of shoppers surpassing their holiday budgets on Black Friday due to enticing bargains, and by 30 per cent giving into FOMO—fear of missing out on a good sale.

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Indeed, even the more traditional holidays affect ecommerce revenue. Mother’s Day 2015 had consumers spending over a million hours online, browsing and purchasing the perfect present for mum. Meanwhile, this year, Britons are estimated to have spent more than £928m in total on gifts for their mothers. Worth noting too, that 60 per cent of Mother’s Day retail searches were made from a mobile device.

As we’re still enjoying the (marginally) warmer climates, let’s not forget that the spring and summer months also greatly influence how Britons spend online, creating a huge opportunity for Amazon Prime Day to tap into the holiday mindset.

Recent years have revealed that both May bank holidays have seen an increase in average online spend on the Tuesday following the Bank Holiday weekend. While Bank Holiday Monday experiences a 17 per cent spike in online shopping, the following day sees a 33 per cent increase. Bank holiday weekends often have consumers away on holidays, at festivals, at the park with a BBQ, and the like. However, come Tuesday, they’re back at work, perhaps staving off the post-holiday blues thanks to a bit of retail therapy, hence the Tuesday surge in online shopping. 

It’s clear that the growing roster of online shopping holidays represents a significant opportunity for UK ecommerce businesses. Occasions like Amazon Prime Day, Alibaba’s Singles Day and, of course, Black Friday, offer a source of revenue and a way to reach new customers. Across the shopping calendar, there are numerous opportunities that online retailers need to keep on their radar (let’s not let this year’s Easter repeat itself, when websites suffered performance issues due to the last-minute demand for Easter Egg purchases).

Preparing for online shopping events like Prime Day or Black Friday is crucial when it comes to getting ahead of your competitors. So, what should you do to get ready? Well, start early. Know your prospects, understand what they want, and reach them – with personalised, relevant messages. Programmatic display advertising can help online retailers do this, enabling them to run targeted promotional campaigns to reach ideal customers across desktop, mobile web and in-app environments, which is key during intensive sales periods to help consumers cut through the noise.  

With Amazon Prime Day now on, visits to online retailers will be on a high – so there’s a clear opportunity for ecommerce businesses to engage new customers and drive revenue. And they need to get ready: it's only the sixth biggest online shopping day in the UK calendar. The biggest ones are yet to come.

By Adam Baker, MD, Sociomantic

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Published on Tuesday 12 July by Guest Piece

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