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Prime Day Primer - What's The Offline Impact of Amazon's Online Extravaganza?

Ethan Chernofsky
July 2, 2019
Prime Day Primer - What's The Offline Impact of Amazon's Online Extravaganza?

Now in its fifth year, Amazon’s annual Prime Day is one of the most significant shopping days of the year. In 2018, the event was lauded as the most successful of all time, even in spite of technical glitches on the day. The increased demand and excitement has led many brands to dive into the mix looking to capitalize on the interest the eCommerce giant generates.

From Walmart offering “thousands” of deals over a four-day period to Target’s “Deal Days,” to nearly 250 other retailers, the sales extravaganza participants have grown (from seven in 2015 to 194 last year) in an attempt to kick off the back-to-school season with vigor. While the day is already a major flashpoint for online shopping, brick and mortar stores are also making strong attempts to reap the benefits offline, as well.

We dug into Prime Day 2018 sale season to see if these dreams came to fruition last year, and to set a baseline for what a successful offline Prime Day might mean in 2019.

Whole Foods - Prime Day’s Offline Boon?

In 2018, Amazon looked to extend the impact of Prime Day to Whole Foods locations with special offers of online discounts from offline purchases. Recognizing the inherent limitations to offline shopping, they extended the sale to seven days - as opposed to 36 hours for online deals. Impressively, the tactic seemed to work effectively. Visits on the sale Sunday rose 26.8% above the baseline for the time between June and September of 2018, making it the most successful day for visits in the period. Additionally, the sale Saturday visits of Prime Day week rose 22.4% above the baseline, making it the most successful Saturday for the period.

The campaign was heavily integrated with visitors receiving credit for online shopping on for in-store purchases at Whole Foods. This comprehensive strategy is reminiscent of brands like Starbucks, who run integrated campaigns throughout the year to drive multiple goals with each event.

New Participants

One of the major stories of 2018 was the entry of a wider variety of brands into the Prime Day mix. Walmart, Target, Best Buy, Macy’s and more increased their focus to try and take advantage of the Prime Day tailwinds. While they did so to varying degrees of success, few dove into the offline opportunity that Amazon built through Whole Foods.

Taking the same period of time, Walmart saw a normal weekend output that didn’t even mark a high point for the summer. In fact, Monday through Thursday outputs were all below the baseline for this period.

The same was true for fellow general merchandise giant Target, who saw the peak of their summer activity come in the weeks that followed their Deal Days.

Best Buy experienced a similar trend, seeing one of their worst summer weekends in the week of Amazon’s Prime Day, with the poor performance extending into weekdays. Like Target, Best Buy saw its peak summer performance come in the weeks that followed.

Delivering on 2019

While nearly 200 brands got involved in the Prime Day opportunity in 2018, few looked to bring its tremendous benefits offline. In fact, of the major players, one of the only brands to see a significant impact was Amazon’s offline grocer - Whole Foods. 

This builds up a new and interesting front to monitor in 2019’s version of Amazon’s sales event. Can Whole Foods continue to drive increased engagement around the digital extravaganza? Will other top retailers with strong omnichannel approaches look to sync up their efforts?

Check back in to see how 2019 summer sales event plays out.

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