How Small Retailers can Cash-In on Amazon Prime Day

Does the thought of Amazon Prime Day have you rolling your eyes? If you own a boutique or small retail business, you’re probably not among those chomping at the bit to capitalize on the retail giant’s now 36-hour shopping extravaganza beginning July 16.

If it couldn’t get any worse, Amazon has ramped up the event to include: an Amazon Music Unboxing Event with performance by Ariana Grande; extended the sales an additional six hours; unveiling new products from major beauty brands like Tarte and K-beauty, available for a limited time only; and a partnership with Whole Foods, that includes a $10 credit for prime members who spend $10 with the grocer.

But is it all doom and gloom for small businesses? Apparently not. During Amazon’s 2017 Prime Day, “Brands' sales off of Amazon jumped 30% on the day of the event,” says John Koetsier, a contributor for Forbes.Sales by mass merchants such as discounters and deal sites jumped 124%. Interestingly, according to Criteo, merchants who anticipated Amazon's timing saw the biggest jumps: 30% higher sales over the course of the entire week.”

On Amazon Prime Day 2017, retailers collectively experienced the following increases from the year prior:

  • +27 percent add-to-basket rates
  • +33 percent average order values
  • +41 percent conversion rates

Amazon has already spent the major marketing dollars to get online shoppers plugged in and ready to spend—and retailers of all sizes can align their selling strategy to piggy-back off of Prime Day. “Minimizing discounting before the big event will maximize retailers’ ability to compete with Amazon on Prime Day,” says John Roswech, the Executive Vice President for Criteo. While online retailers may not be able to beat Amazon on price or shipping costs, having comparable prices for the right products during the major selling event will keep small businesses competitive.

“The huge success of Prime Day has inspired other retailers to create their own “holidays,” says Denise Lee Yohn, a contributor for Forbes. “For example, Wayfair, the homegoods e-tailer, launched Way Day on April 25th of this year, and Alibaba, the Chinese conglomerate, has transformed Singles’ Day from a cheeky national holiday in China for those who want to celebrate being single into a tent pole event to promote retailer discounts on its e-commerce platforms.”

But brick-and-mortar retailers shouldn’t feel left out either. “Business owners can boost their brand engagement during the mid-summer slump by hosting a special event,” says Katy Albrecht, Publishing Editor of Off-Price Retailing Magazine. “Press your customers’ FOMO by unveiling a new line or limited-availability product, host a lawn even with live music and appetizers, or encourage new experiences by partnering with a local service or entertainment business. Think about what makes sense for your store: If you’re a golf shop, give shoppers a special in-store reward for a hole-in-one.”

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