Amazon Prime Day

Alexa, what can my business learn from Amazon Prime Day?

Amazon sold more than 175 million items during Prime Day 2019, making it the “largest shopping event in Amazon history.” Here are some lessons businesses today can take away from this epic 48-hour sale for more conversions, happier customers and faster growth.

Amazon Prime Day 2019 has come and gone, and this year’s event was a doozy. It drove an estimated $7.16 billion in sales globally, up 71% from last year’s event.

Other e-commerce retailers were able to cash in on the Amazon Prime Day rush, too.

According to TheStreet, retailers with more than $1 billion in annual revenue saw a 64% boost in online sales during Amazon Prime Day, too. Meanwhile, retailers with less than $5 million in annual revenue saw a 30% lift.

With all of its successes (and a few hiccups), Amazon continues to position itself as an e-commerce retailer leader.

Looking back at this year’s Amazon Prime Day, here are six lessons all e-commerce businesses can learn– just in time for Black Friday and Cyber Monday (BFCM) preparations.

No. 1. Build exclusivity excitement

Amazon is a master of igniting consumers’ Fear of Missing Out (FOMO) on deals.

Kit Yarrow, a consumer psychologist explained, “There’s this sense that Amazon is for everybody and it’s everywhere. They upped the coolness factor associated with Amazon a lot with these campaigns.”

Tom Meyvis, a marketing professor at New York University’s Stern School of Business, adds that because Amazon Prime Day only happens once a year, it gives people a sense of urgency.

“There are so many brands and retailers that have promotions all the time — often times you don’t have a sense of urgency,” Tom said. “It’s not just that you didn’t get a deal, it’s also that other people did”

When it comes to BFCM, take note. A few things you can try:

  • Show that people are buying: Use social proof notifications to let people know that other customers are buying. If other people are buying it, they will want it too.
  • Show your stock levels: Amazon uses this strategy daily. It helps drive customers to get the deal when there are just a few remaining. You can also use a more generic term, such as “while supplies last.”
  • Highlight how many people are viewing the product or claimed the deal: If there are 12 people viewing an item or have already claimed a discount, it may be enough to drive someone who is on the fence to make the purchase.
  • Offer deals only to people who sign up for a newsletter or a membership (such as Amazon Prime): As mentioned earlier, people love getting their hands-on deals that not everyone will get.

No. 2. Think about the entire customer journey

Last year’s Prime Day was marred by a website crash, and the technical teams likely worked had to avoid a similar event this year. Your website needs to do the same.

As Amazon Founder Jeff Bezos once said, “We see our customers as invited guests to a party, and we are the hosts. It’s our job every day to make every important aspect of the customer experience a little bit better.”

The best way to think about and improve the customer experience is to look at their entire journey instead of just a part of it.

Ask questions such as:

What pain points do they experience? What’s stopping them from checking out? Where are they clicking; where are they not clicking? How are they navigating through the site, and how can I make it easier for them?

In general, improving your website comes down to analyzing two things:

  • Their actions: Use dynamic heatmaps and conversion funnels now to spot where your customers are abandoning their carts. Watch session recordings to see what they are doing, where they are clicking and how they are moving across your website. You want them to take a specific action, and if they aren’t, you need to find out why. You won’t have the luxury of time during BFCM, so doing this now can help generate more sales at the end of the year rush.
  • Their feedback: Customer feedback is invaluable when it comes to improving your website. Poll and surveys provide a more anonymous method of gathering this information. Both can be helpful in isolate website issues that are preventing them from checking out. Live chat offers you a chance to connect with customers to answer their questions and address the pinpoints.

Your goal is to give customers the online experience they want and expect while making the navigation process as seamless as possible.

No. 3. Get your inventory ready

Amazon didn’t go into Prime Day 2019 without an inventory plan, and neither should your business.

  • Plan your inventory based on feedback: The Shopify store My Bait Shop used polls to ask customers for inventory they wanted to buy. As a result, My Bait Shop’s grew its inventory of customer-preferred products and saw sales rise. Over the course of 103 days, polls and other Lucky Orange tools helped My Bait Shop increase conversions by 450%.
  • Ask (and answer) the hard questions: How quickly can your business restock inventory if you sell out earlier than expected? Have you tested your inventory tracking system? Have you used last year’s BFCM product performance measurements to identify you top-selling products and evaluate how much inventory may be needed this year?
  • Have a contingency plan in place: If the inventory runs out early, train your customer service agents how to communicate when it will be back in stock and alternatives that may entice the customer to buy.

No. 4. Test, test, test

You want everything ready for your BFCM shoppers, and now is the time to test.

Test your servers with a tool like LoadImpact.
Test your checkout processes with session recordings.
Test your website on different browsers.
Test your shipping experience.
Test your discount codes.
Test your payment methods.
Test your inventory supply.

Test, test and test some more. If there’s a problem, you’ll be able to act now instead of rushing to fix it during BFMC. It can also help you improve pre-BFCM conversions, too.

One e-commerce retailer moved to BigCommerce’s one-page checkout after session recordings showed a frustrating checkout experience. As a result, conversions increased by 2%.

Also, don’t forget to have a strategy in place as a just in case. Pick someone who can watch live view for possible issues and someone on the technical side to act if there’s a problem. If you’re using a third-party service, get an emergency contact in case something goes awry.

As Murphy’s Laws of e-commerce states: “Anything that can go wrong during Black Friday and Cyber Monday will go wrong.”

No. 5: Keep deals simple

Consumers love a good sale. More than 95% of consumers look for deals when they shop. As you plan your BFCM discounts, make sure they aren’t too complicated. For example, limit your doorbuster deal for early shoppers to your first day of BFCM instead of spreading it across each day.

Don’t litter your website with an endless stream of discounts that end at different dates and times; it just gets confusing.

Keep it simple. Your customers aren’t going to wade through discount confusion. Think like Amazon; make it clear what the deal on a product will be.

Tip: Consider making your deals sharable; if customers want to pass on savings to their friends, they should be able share the deal through social media, text and/or email.

No. 6: Train your staff

While e-commerce retailers don’t have employees “on the floor,” you’re probably planning on having staff man the customer service channels and social media accounts. You can be sure that at Amazon, it was all-hands-on-deck during Prime Day.

For your business, make sure everyone is comfortable and familiar with your systems, such as Lucky Orange chat, to get everyone on the same page.

Everyone (even if you’re a team of one) should know how to:

  • Use canned chat responses for popular questions, such as coupons, shipping information, contact information and product documentation
  • Find the point person if the question is related to a technical problem; consider having a point person to direct the more technical questions and how to quickly prioritize responses.
  • Manage multiple chats while responding to inquiries in a timely manner

Here is a live chat guide, made especially with BFCM in mind.

Wrapping it all up

There’s no doubt that Amazon Prime Day will continue to be known as the Black Friday in July. E-commerce retailers shouldn’t ignore Amazon’s accomplishments with Prime Day and use these lessons to tun BFCM into their success story.

Did you have any good or bad experiences with Amazon Prime Day? Let us know in the comments below.

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