The countdown to Amazon’s annual Prime Day is down to hours, not days, and the excitement just keeps building as the eCommerce giant releases more information about the deals that will be available.
Meanwhile, at Amazon’s Seattle headquarters, the imminent event has caused two floors of conference rooms to be transformed into “war rooms” to accommodate the anticipated crush of activity. Employees were required to postpone summer vacations until after the event, blocking out June and early July to prepare.
Amazon created Prime Day in 2015 – ostensibly, to celebrate the 20th anniversary of its 1995 founding, but also as an experiment to drive some activity during the summer shopping doldrums. As with any new venture, the first year was not without its wrinkles, but sales on the second Prime Day surpassed the company’s best sales day ever: Black Friday 2014.
The eCommerce giant doesn’t share Prime Day sales figures with the public, but analysts estimate that it raked in between $500 million and $600 million last year, and this year is expected to be even bigger.
But the value of Prime Day is in more than just dollars. The 30-hour online shopping bonanza offers ample incentive for new customers to try the Amazon app or a Prime membership for the first time,and for loyal customers to try new services and products like Prime Now’s two-hour shipping or voice shopping with Amazon’s digital assistant, Alexa, via one of the company’s Echo home speakers.
As the name suggests, Prime Day is only open to members of Amazon’s Prime loyalty program. The membership costs members $99 per year and affords them free two-day shipping on any order, plus access to a growing number of features like video, music, audio-books and grocery delivery.
For those who want to make the best of Amazon’s “Black Friday in July” event, here’s everything a shopper should know before the Prime Day kicks off tonight.
Get Those Thumbs Ready
Prime Day isn’t just a day anymore; it starts tonight, Monday, July 10 at 9 p.m. EST. From then until 3 a.m. EST on Tuesday, July 11, Amazon will be rolling out new deals every five minutes.
For those who haven’t already, now is a good time to download the Amazon app, since it enables shoppers to watch deals and receive push notifications when a deal goes live. The app has also listed deals in advance.
Some highlights: $29.99 for Amazon’s best-selling Fire 7 tablets; half off certain video games and consoles; 40 percent off select furniture; deep discounts on diamond jewelry; $119.99 for an 8-foot Skywalker Trampoline with a basketball hoop; and an unprecedented 50 percent off the flagship Amazon Echo home speaker, dropping the price to $89.99.
Last year, more than a million people used the Amazon app for the first time ever to shop and watch deals. Customers worldwide were ordering 398 items per second.
Now Is The Time To Try Prime Now
Prime Now is the exclusive inner circle of Amazon’s already-exclusive Prime membership. Prime Now members can get household goods delivered practically as soon as they run out, saving them that frenzied trip to the store.
For Amazon Prime Day, the eCommerce giant is now offering two-hour Prime Now delivery to qualifying purchases, and Prime Now shoppers will have access to discounts as deep as 25 to 30 percent off in some cases. They can also ask Alexa to track their package in real time.
Members who have never used Prime Now will save an extra $10 off their first Prime Now order if they place it between Friday, July 7 and the end of Prime Day on Tuesday, July 11. They’ll also get to enjoy $10 off their next purchase via a promo code that Amazon will give out to first-time Prime Now users.
Alexa Is A Better Bargain Hunter Than You Are
Prime members using Alexa voice control to shop have had access to exclusive Prime Day deals since Wednesday, July 5, and Amazon said it would roll out even more special deals to voice shoppers this evening, two hours before Prime Day starts for everyone else.
Voice shopping is only available to Prime members, and if that wasn’t reason enough to become a member, Amazon was also offering a $20 discount on the $99 annual Prime membership fee for Alexa users who asked the digital assistant to sign up for them.
It’s probably no coincidence that the flagship Echo speaker hit its lowest price to date – $129.99 – in the weeks leading up to Prime Day. Amazon probably hoped this move would encourage more customers to invite the smart assistant into their homes.
Prime Day or not, Alexa shoppers always have access to exclusive Amazon deals, so if you were even thinking about getting an Echo device, now is the time to get one. The original Echo is going for $89.99, and other devices in the family – the Echo Show and Echo Dot – are also discounted.