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Retailers can’t beat Amazon Prime Day, so they should join the frenzy

Megan Thee Stallion Amazon Prime Day
Amazon enlists music star Megan Thee Stallion.

Amazon Prime Day is coming up soon, and retailers need to have a counterstrategy.

The 11th annual Amazon Prime Day event takes place July 16-17, 2024. Members of the Prime paid membership service will have exclusive access to millions of deals across more than 35 categories including electronics, kitchen, beauty and apparel, with early deals starting Tuesday, June 25. 

Not surprisingly, chief Amazon rivals Walmart and Target are both hosting major sales events in July ahead of Prime Day. Walmart Deals is open to all customers while Target Circle Week is restricted to members of the free Target Circle loyalty program. 

Typically, more than 100 retailers host some type of competing sales event in the same general timeframe as Prime Day. While there is no realistic hope of "beating" Amazon on Prime Day, the event is large enough that it produces a surge of online traffic and sales driven by consumers hunting for deals who do not necessarily only visit Amazon.

Here are three ways other retailers can take part, get noticed and drive sales in the general Prime Day excitement:


Nearly three-quarters (74%) of American consumers have purchased a product or service because an influencer recommended it, according to recent data from creator management platform Grin. 

Amazon is following this trend by having rapper/pop culture influencer Megan Thee Stallion release an exclusive Prime Day-themed song and music video and offer a curated selection of Prime Day picks.

Other retailers should also consider using influencers to help promote their online sales events. However, influencers should be selected carefully to align with target customer demographics.

When Grin asked consumers what qualities they look for that make them trust influencer recommendations, similar in lifestyle was the most popular response (62.4%), followed by similar in appearance (45.2%).

In addition, almost four-in-10 shoppers said the primary reason they turn to influencers for recommendations is to see products in action before buying, so influencer programs should include demonstration videos and livestreams of featured products. 

Flash deals

Amazon, Walmart and Target are all offering some type of limited-time, impromptu “flash deals” as part of their July sales events. Flash deals create a sense of “treasure hunting” that is hard to create online, give customers a reason to keep returning throughout the site, and help convert impulse purchases.

These are all great reasons for other retailers joining the Prime Day surge to offer some type of flash deals as part of their event. Ideally, flash deals should be offered on popular, quirky, or hard-to-find items to heighten the sense of excitement. A flash deal on staplers may not be the best use of the promotional technique.

Reward loyalty - or not

Amazon Prime Day is exclusively reserved for members of the paid Prime program, although customers can participate with a free 30-day trial membership. Target Circle Week is also restricted to members of the Target Circle loyalty offering, which is free to join.

Walmart is taking a different approach, opening Walmart Deals to all consumers, not just those who belong to its paid Walmart+ members. However, Walmart+ members will receive early access to sales items five hours before the event launches for the general public.

For retailers that offer some type of membership or loyalty program, whether paid or free, there is no single answer as to whether an online sales extravaganza should be limited to members or open to all. 

A restricted sale can help drive loyalty membership and potentially garner more business from a retailer’s best customers (usually members of its loyalty program), but an open sale has a much wider target audience and may help convert new customers who would not have joined otherwise.

Retailers can also take a mixed approach, such as Walmart Deals giving early access to Walmart+ members. But any decision should only be made after a retailer carefully evaluates its unique circumstances, customer base and goals.

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