Competing with Prime Day for the rest of the retail industry
Head-on competition with Amazon Prime Day is virtually impossible, but that doesn’t mean you should concede sales to Amazon.
Amazon has finally revealed the dates for this year’s edition of its annual Prime Day sales extravaganza – Oct. 13-14. While some fellow big players, including Walmart and Target, are directly challenging Prime Day with concurrent promotions, most retailers lack the size and recognition to take on Amazon on its own turf.
However, Prime Day offers too much potential opportunity to simply ignore. Any event that generates that much interest and traffic will inevitably create gaps and spillover, which in this case is worth competing for. Here are a few ideas for retailers looking to compete with Amazon Prime Day in a less direct manner.
Listen and respond – socially
If you have algorithmic social listening software, Prime Day is a perfect use case scenario. Customers comment across all major social media platforms throughout the event, providing invaluable real-time insight into glitches, outages and product shortages, as well as what deals are especially popular.
Attentive retailers can quickly respond with social messages of their own promoting their site’s availability, or providing offer codes that will beat specific Amazon deals for a limited time. Even retailers that do not have an artificial intelligence-based social listening solution or service in place can still manually search social media platforms for posts with relevant hashtags and get a real-time sense of opportunities that can be converted to higher web traffic and sales.
Have a delivery (third) party
In addition to its extremely deep inventory and low prices, Amazon also offers the promise of rapid delivery. Retailers that want to at least partially compete with Prime Day can quickly ramp up their same- and next-day online delivery capability by signing on with one of a wide variety of third-party delivery platforms. Many of these services will integrate with a retailer’s inventory and logistics systems within a few days.
This allows retailers to provide competitive delivery times with Amazon without the upfront investment of time or money (although there is a revenue-sharing and fee structure for deliveries). Retailers can then support competitive activities such as the social listening scenario described above, or simply offer fast delivery as a way to save some digital sales that might otherwise be lost in the Prime Day tumult.
Play the waiting game
Once the dust from the event has settled and Amazon and analysts have given their pronouncements on the results, other retailers can meticulously craft a sales event in response. Retailers can analyze data on what specific brands and products consumers purchased at what prices, as well as what times traffic spiked and any issues that may have occurred, to fine-tune their own promotions.
As with social listening efforts, AI algorithms are not necessary for postmortem analysis of Prime Day data, but can be helpful in detecting patterns you may otherwise miss. Retailers should be able to crunch some data and launch their own event by mid-November, still well-ahead of distractions caused by Black Friday and the traditional holiday sales season.