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Three questions retailers should ask before Prime Day arrives

Amazon Prime Day logo
Once again, Amazon is hosting Prime Day in July.

Amazon has confirmed that Prime Day will occur in July this year, and now is the time for other retailers to prepare.

As part of its first-quarter 2022 earnings report, Amazon announced that Prime Day will take place in July in more than 20 countries. Amazon’s annual Prime Day extravaganza has become a significant sales driver not only for the company, but for numerous other retailers that have launched their own competing events.

Adobe estimated that total U.S. online spending across retailers surpassed $11 billion during Prime Day 2021, which occurred in June. Other than 2020 (when Prime Day was delayed to October due to COVID-19 impacts) and 2021, Prime Day has taken place in July every year since it first launched in 2015.

Retailers seeking to effectively compete with Prime Day this year have roughly two months to create a counter-strategy for their own July sales promotion. Even retailers that don’t actively program against Prime Day may find themselves facing heightened traffic volumes from surges of consumers searching online for deals, and should still be ready to serve them.

Here are three questions retailers should ask themselves now in advance of Prime Day.

How social are you?
Social media is becoming an increasingly important customer touchpoint, especially among high-value Gen Z shoppers. Amazon actively leverages social commerce channels such as its Twitch live gaming channel and the Amazon Live livestream platform.

You may not have your own proprietary social commerce networks, but third-party social media platforms are also highly valuable tools for driving consumer awareness and purchases for an online sales event. Consider that a recent survey from Oracle and CRM Essentials shows that 84% of Gen Z respondents have purchased products in direct response to social media content.

In addition, ESW data reveals that 55% of surveyed Gen Z consumers say that both YouTube and Instagram are primary discovery channels, while 41% use TikTok as a primary means of discovering products.

Where is your stock?
The COVID-19 pandemic continues disrupting the supply chain, and consumers are taking notice. According to recent survey of 1,000 U.S. shoppers from Retail Insights, 61% of respondents said stock availability online is now lower than the onset of the pandemic. And the NRF expects the nation’s major ports to remain clogged throughout the summer.

Any retailer intending to launch a Prime Day counter-promotion, or just avoid stockouts, needs to conduct a thorough assessment of what products are currently in stock, as well as what merchandise is in the eight-to-10-week pipeline and which items customers are most likely to order. If you do not have the necessary inventory tracking and forecasting technology in-house, start investigating third-party consultants and/or cloud-based turnkey ERP solutions.

How fast can you deliver?
In addition to its extremely deep inventory and low prices, Amazon offers rapid delivery. Retailers that want to at least partially compete with the immediacy and convenience of Prime Day need to offer reliable delivery by no later than, or even sooner than, the next day.

Fortunately, retailers seeking to quickly and affordably scale their online delivery capability to next-day, same-day, or even ultrafast (within 30 minutes or less) can sign 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). In addition, retailers can transition underperforming or shuttered stores into “dark stores” that operate as hubs supporting last-mile delivery, as well as in-person pickup, of online orders.

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