It was touted as a moment in eCommerce history.
For the first time since its inception in 2015, Amazon held two Prime Days instead of one.
Just three months after the first event in July, Prime members were encouraged to take advantage of big savings on their favorite brands — this time to get their holiday shopping done.
There were even some meaningful offers for non-Prime members, like three free months of Amazon Music Unlimited.
How did this somewhat shocking decision ultimately work out? What can publishers and brands learn from Amazon’s second Prime Day? Let’s dive in.
Why did Amazon have a second Prime Day?
At first glance, Amazon’s decision to hold a second Prime Day may seem like good business.
With inflation forcing many consumers to tighten their budgets, providing another opportunity for savings makes sense, especially when competing brands like Target and Walmart are hosting pre-Black Friday sales of their own.
But peel back the layers and another possibility emerges.
To start, the company’s eCommerce sales have declined for the past two quarters. Second, they’ve closed or postponed plans for dozens of facilities. Lastly, Amazon is dealing with the same bloated inventory problem as brands like Target, Walmart, and Nike.
None of this means Amazon’s in imminent financial trouble, but it does raise questions about how much more market share it can realistically capture and how else the company might pivot to meet the expectations of its investors in the future.
What’s the difference between Amazon’s Prime Day and Black Friday?
Amazon’s Prime Day and Black Friday are very similar at the core: They both refer to annual sales that feature steep discounts.
Here are two of the most significant differences between Amazon’s Prime Day and Black Friday:
Paid membership vs. open to all
Consumers need an Amazon Prime membership to fully participate in Prime Day sales, while Black Friday deals don’t require membership and aren’t store-specific.
Online only vs. in-person
Amazon operates as an eCommerce-only brand, which limits Prime Day shoppers to buying items online. Black Friday deals include brick-and-mortar retail.
Timing + duration of each sale
Black Friday generally refers to the day after Thanksgiving in November, while Amazon’s Prime Day typically spans two days in July.
Did Amazon’s second Prime Day live up to expectations?
From a purely financial perspective, October Prime Day was a flop.
When compared to Prime Day in July — which generated $7.5 billion in revenue — Amazon’s second Prime Day “only” generated $4.5 billion. To boot, average order value decreased from $60.29 to $46.68. According to Digiday, publishers experienced a similar dip in results.
The disappointing performance of Amazon’s second Prime Day extended beyond revenue generation for some analysts. As Wall Street Journal reports, October Prime Day failed to attract the same social media buzz as Prime Days’ past.
Whether any of this matters to Amazon is up for debate. As Juozas Kaziukenas, founder of research firm Marketplace Pulse observed: “I think it did fine for what Amazon was trying to do, which was to reduce the amount of products they have in their warehouses.”
Product recommendation site Wirecutter echoes this theory, starting its best Amazon Prime Day deals roundup with a disclaimer: “Most of the deals you’re seeing during this second Prime Day of 2022 aren’t actually worth pursuing.”
Second Prime Day Takeaway: What marketers should consider for next year
For some budding eCommerce brands, joining Amazon’s marketplace is a no-brainer.
As the world’s largest eCommerce retail site with millions of daily active users, selling products on the platform has the potential to get brands in front of shoppers they may not reach otherwise.
All that exposure comes with a price. For third-party sellers on Amazon, the list of concessions includes:
- Shipping your product(s) to a fulfillment center before they can enter the marketplace.
- Dealing with copycat listings and the temptation to compete with others on price.
- Interacting with customers through Amazon’s limited support system.
- Paying monthly fees in addition to referral fees based on product category.
- Getting paid every two weeks as opposed to instantly.
- Navigating Amazon’s various complex processes without much customer data.
Given the amount of control eCommerce brands must forfeit to sell on Amazon’s marketplace — including lack of meaningful customer data — we can’t say it’s worthwhile for everyone.
Retailers should stick to their own holidays and campaigns
Ultimately, we believe retailers have everything they need to stick to their own holidays and campaigns. You know your customer better than any third-party, and you can create momentum around Prime Day without Prime Day.
Resist the danger of becoming sidetracked by third-party marketplaces like Amazon — or on potentially gimmicky marketing ploys like its second Prime Day.
Focus on creating real value for your customers and prospects instead. With consistent messaging during the holidays and beyond, your team can cultivate the one-to-one connections needed to weather tough economic storms on the best terms possible: your own.