Consumers Value More Than Low Prices: Tips to Compete on Prime Day 2020

by Meredith Kavanagh • ,

Prime Day is a two-day event exclusively for Amazon Prime members and this year the sixth annual Prime Day takes place on October 13-14. Their marketing promises huge savings on top brands and small businesses, with deep discounts on their own product lines. The event is a push to increase sign ups on the Prime membership program and has become one of the largest e-commerce events of the year. In 2019, the two-day sale generated an estimated $7.16 billion globally and an eMarketer forecast predicts that Amazon will generate nearly $10 billion in worldwide sales for Prime Day 2020.

Holiday Shopping is Starting Early

Prime Day normally takes place in July but was pushed to October due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The close proximity to Black Friday coupled with consumers’ desire to shop for gifts early (possibly due to concern over disrupted supply chains and shipping carriers’ capacity), mean that the holiday shopping season is starting earlier than ever.

A September 2020 Bizrate Insights and Digital Commerce 360 survey of 1,000 online shoppers found that 68% of consumers say they will start making holiday purchases by early November—up from 57% who said the same in 2019.

It comes as no surprise that industry analysts predict Prime Day 2020 will be the kick-off to holiday shopping and so once again competing retailers are running their own promotions to draw sales away from the e-commerce giant. Target, Walmart, and Kohl’s are just a few of the big names holding their own sales during the week of October 12 to compete with Prime Day.

77% of online shoppers intend to purchase more than half of their 2020 holiday gifts online.

This is good news for e-commerce retailers, but since 48% of those consumers also said they plan to buy half or more of their holiday gifts from Amazon, it underscores the need for retailers to have a plan to compete.

For smaller businesses hoping to attract consumers who are primed to buy in early October, use the following insights to guide your strategy.

Top 3 Insights to Use Against Amazon on Prime Day 2020

One of the best ways to rival Amazon’s offerings on Prime Day is to use their size against them. In 2019, Amazon sold a reported 175 million items during Prime Day and as powerful as Amazon may be, the logistics of their fulfillment processes, lack of personalized customer experience, and overall scale can be seen as a detriment to shoppers.

The top three reasons consumers choose to buy from a different retailer when Amazon sells the same item:

  1. I prefer to support small businesses
  2. Item costs less on another website
  3. The ease of finding what I want

Additional reasoning includes, but is not limited to:

  • The option to pick items up in store the same day
  • Poor customer service
  • Easier returns at other retailers
  • Fear of “fake” products
  • Concern around Amazon’s political or business ethics
  • General lack of trust in the retailer

prime day shopping survey bar graph

Consumers Want More Than Low Prices

Following a desire to support small businesses, a deeper discount is the second most important criteria for online shoppers. Even if you can’t beat Amazon’s price by much, you can use the following insights to your advantage by promoting the fact that you thrive where Amazon lacks.

Reason 1: “I prefer to support a small business.”

Tip: Appeal to customers who want a more personalized shopping experience and the feel-good emotions that come with knowing they are contributing to a business that appreciates the support.

Ahead of your sale, send a personalized email to subscribers or loyalty members detailing your discounts and inviting them to shop with you. This will remind them that they are a valued customer and encourage them to visit your site to check out your deals.

Once someone makes a purchase, include a note to thank them for shopping with you when packing their shipment, or via email with their receipt. This will help give a good first impression to new customers and remind loyal shoppers why they support your business.

Reason 2: “Item costs less on another website.”

Tip: Provide a bigger discount than competitors if you can and offer to price match with Amazon. Another way to stand out is to hold your sale beyond the two-day period of Prime Day. Start your promotions on Monday and run them through the end of the week to give shoppers more time to compare prices and the opportunity to shop with you if there’s something they couldn’t find on Amazon.

Reason 3: “The ease of finding what I want.”

Tip: Another problem with having a seemingly unlimited supply of inventory is that it isn’t as effortless for customers to find what they’re looking for. Create a GIF highlighting the intuitive, easy-to-use features of your site and post on social media to demonstrate your seamless shopping experience. Shoppers may even agree that a positive shopping experience is worth paying a few dollars more.

Focus on Your Strengths

Remind your customers that another positive to shopping with you is avoiding the uncertainty around Amazon’s capacity issues in fulfillment centers and shipping limitations. COVID-19 and the increase in online shopping has put unprecedented pressure on shipping carriers and offering the option to buy online pick up in store (BOPIS) is a surefire way to delight customers. Shoppers can get their items faster and help alleviate the stress on the U.S. Postal Service and shipping carriers by taking advantage of BOPIS.

Take some of the other survey insights into account and call attention to the quality of your products, excellent customer service, and flexible delivery options to demonstrate why the overall experience will be better with you.

While the scale, revenue, and spectacle of Prime Day continues to grow year over year, competitors know there is more than enough to go around. Use these insights to target your ads, featured products, and marketing copy on the week of October 12 and throughout the 2020 holiday shopping season.

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