Leave it to Amazon to host its own holiday.
While most retailers have been perfectly content over the years to plan their sales events around the existing holiday calendar, Amazon made the decision in 2015 to create Prime Day, an exclusive promotion for its loyal shoppers that offers special deals on thousands of products.
Since then, Prime Day has become one of the most important events in all of retail, an annual two-day extravaganza that inspires consumers to renew their Prime memberships, competing retailers to create their own counter-events, and brand marketers to triple-check their inventory levels.
As they look forward to Prime Day 2022 on July 12-13, several members of The Mars Agency’s eCommerce team mined their experience and expertise to make a host of predictions about how this year’s event will play out for shoppers, brands and the Amazon ecosystem.
Tapping Outside Influences
Brands that have invested in a social strategy can win with Prime Day promotions. Influencers will share their favorite brands on sale and promote a stock-up trip. Using social to push traffic to Amazon can be a cheaper strategy versus paying a premium for AMS (Amazon Marketing Services) opportunities. Lindsey Simcik
Heading Back Home
It’s all about the home. With post-pandemic consumers trending back toward travel, dining out and adventure-seeking, Amazon has struggled with excess inventory, a bit of a sales slowdown and challenging profit margins in their retail business. I’m anticipating that Amazon will go big in doubling down on how to “make a happier home” including decorating, tech innovation, recipes/new food to try in the kitchen, and easy ways to simplify the home routine (like organizing). I also expect Amazon Live to again be a big driver, knowing that the “live” space is growing with other retailers. Melissa Wightman
Services Go Big
Amazon will continue working with more brands that you don’t expect to see — and we’ll be delighted to see more of this. I’m talking here about brands that aren’t selling goods but rather services; shoppers don’t usually think of Amazon first when they want to learn more about these brands. Last year, Panera made its first move to build brand equity on Amazon.com by leveraging the huge Prime Day traffic. And we’ve seen more automobile brands making their presence on Amazon webpages and shipping boxes. Who’s next? My bet is on credit cards and payment services, given the rising popularity of “Buy Now, Pay Later (BNPL)” options. Michella Chiu
Prime Gets Live-lier
Last year, Amazon prioritized an all-day livestream of featured Prime Day products in the ATF (above the fold) arear of their homepage — almost like a modern version of old-school infomercials. I think we’ll see a return of the livestream, as well as partnerships with key digital and lifestyle influencers on YouTube and TikTok specifically. By tying this Gen Z-centered social strategy to Prime Day, Amazon will leverage the increased effectiveness of video marketing while also appealing to the next generation of Prime members. Marissa Rook
Connecting the Dots
Over the past year, Amazon has invested in Fresh both online and in-store, and it has also launched several new connected capabilities (Alexa shopping list savings, In-Store Mode, Sponsored Recipes). So we’ll likely see brands with Prime Day special offers or activations that can drive omnichannel baskets. Additionally, Amazon debuted new advertising products at this year’s IAB NewFronts event (Virtual Product Placement) and are building out their live commerce/shoppable streams with a heavy emphasis on reward-based campaigns. I suspect we’ll see a more “connected” Prime Day compared to past years, with brands trying to break through the clutter by exploring different channels and tactics to reach shoppers — with an emphasis on the “Surprise & Delight” factor. Kristin Wall
Shooting for Authenticity
I have no doubt we’ll see another huge push by Amazon to deliver a socially connected commerce experience, with Amazon Live streams and content from influencers. This will be a mad dash by Amazon Influencers and Amazon Associates to drive engaged traffic to the site during Prime Day. I do expect to see a heavy dose of peer-influencers rather than celebrities in an attempt to drive authenticity rather than glitz. (Will it feel authentic? Will it feel like an entertainment experience?) I also expect to see advertising aplenty for Amazon Prime Video releases and maybe their NFL game package (because we’re not just talking about a retailer here). From a sales experience perspective, when will Amazon deliver the “next” shopping experience, something that isn’t dictated by Search or Browse? When will it offer Prime members entry-level VR technology for free (or inexpensively) to unlock the full Amazon funnel experience? I’m hoping to see new site experiences focused on non-Amazon brand products (vs. their own brands), but don’t expect it. A return to their retailer roots, where they dedicate their best to non-Amazon brands, would make me feel … comfortable? Give me more Cheetos Brand Store experiences! Michael Bond
More Promotions (But Who Will Benefit?)
I expect to see more promotions of Prime Day deals on Brand Stores now that Posts and Emails can be leveraged at no extra cost, although a lot of companies are dealing with product and supply chain shortages that may negatively impact them as demand rises. If you asked me earlier in the year, I would’ve said Prime Day would prove to be bigger and better for Grocery, but with the aforementioned shortages, it’s likely private label and third-party brands will step up to fill the void as much as possible. I’m also expecting to see more social strategies through pushes from Amazon Live, Influencers, YouTube, TikTok, etc. Last year, we saw a large selection of local and emerging brands, so I think Amazon will use this opportunity to show they have roots in all markets. I’ll be keeping an eye on my dashboard as well, to see if I’m served customized offers based on my purchase and browsing history. Lauren Baugh
Focus on the New
I expect consumer packaged goods brands to focus on promoting Prime Day-only deals on new products or new Amazon-exclusive items in their portfolio. Brands will want to take advantage of the increased traffic as they look for interesting ways to drive excitement around new products in an increasingly crowded online marketplace. Prime Day offers a perfect opportunity for CPG brands to reach shoppers while they’re in a buying mindset and introduce them to new products they may not purchase otherwise. Kelly McLane
The Before & After Effect
Alongside the ever-present smart devices, I expect deals on kitchen appliances (specifically air fryers) as well as beauty products (think shampoos and curling irons) to be the highlight of Prime Day. But another important aspect to consider is that Prime Day is much more than the event itself. There’s also a lead-up and lead-out around those two days, which means that brands who advertised using multiple strategies like Sponsored Products, Sponsored Brands Video and Sponsored Display throughout all phases of Prime Day will have been better able to build their presence with shoppers compared to brands that only offered discounted prices. Aloka Kale
Prime Day vs. Inflation
From a big-picture perspective, I think one of two things will happen. The first is that vendors and sellers will strongly lean into the event, funnel all of their excess inventory through Amazon, and Prime Day will set sales records once again. The other possibility is that inflation, supply chain issues, and other external factors will stymie demand, sales will slow, and Amazon will create other press releases to shift the focus. It’s interesting that Amazon’s Affirm BNPL platform is already offering a $25 Prime credit on $100 purchases. Will new payment options, influencers, and promotions be enough to overshadow the dark inflation cloud hovering over us? We’ll soon find out! John Willkom