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Retailers hope to steal some Prime Day thunder


Amazon may be pulling out the stops to lure customers to participate in Prime Day, but competitors are taking steps to grab their own online sales.

The online giant’s third annual Prime Day global shopping extravaganza officially kicked off on Monday, July 10, at 6 pm PST, and will run until the wee hours of morning on July 12. Eager to take advantage of early bird shoppers, Amazon began rolling out sneak previews — and sales opportunities — as early as last week.

On July 5, Amazon gave Alexa shoppers access to more than 100 exclusive deals on Amazon Echo, Echo Dot, Echo Show, Amazon Tap, Fire TV or compatible Fire tablets. Voice shoppers will also get first dibs on select Prime Day deals on July 10, between 4 p.m. and 6 p.m. PST — two hours before the general public.

To sweeten the deal even more, voice deals across “smart home products, devices, chocolates and more [extend] all the way through July 17,” said Assaf Ronen, VP Amazon voice shopping.

The online retailer also launched exclusive pre-sales for its Prime Now customers — a move that promised to get qualifying purchases to members within two hours. These deals, which began on Saturday, July 8, will run through July 11.

Of course, Prime Day was created as a way to boost sales during a typically slow period — and efforts are paying off. Sales for Prime Day 2016 were 60% ahead of the event’s debut in 2015, according to Amazon.

This volume equated to between $500 million and $600 million, or 1.5% of Amazon’s third quarter sales. If that trend continues, Amazon could generate between $800 million and $1 billion in sales from this year’s Prime Day, according to Peter Cohan, strategy and entrepreneurship professor at Babson College.

This volume proves that all retailers — not just Amazon — stand to benefit from the online shopping event. “The opportunity for retailers is to create their own shopping holiday that puts customers first,” said Adrien Nussenbaum, U.S. CEO and co-founder, Mirakl. “By building their own marketplace with a broad assortment of products, [retailers] can truly compete to offer the best customer experience possible.”

Among the retailers taking this advice to heart, Sur La Table launched a one-day shopping event called “Lime Day.” The sale, which is set to launch online and in stores July 10, features more than 300 items on sale for up to 75% off. Stores will also be serving free lime slushies made with the retailer’s Margarita Mix, and employees will be decked out in lime-themed attire.

Newegg is also promoting its third annual "FantasTech" sale. The three-day event, which kicks off on July 11, will feature “deep discounts” on hundreds of products across all tech categories, including external hard drives and computer components to gaming laptops and 4K Ultra HD Smart LED televisions.

Meanwhile, J.C. Penney is hosting its own online-only shopping event, “Penney Palooza.” The second annual two-day sale, which will run July 10-11, will feature “48 hours of non-stop savings,” according to the retailer.

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