It’s not Christmas in July without Black Friday. And it’s not Black Friday if the deals don’t span an entire week. It’s only fitting, then, that eCommerce giant Amazon is celebrating its third annual Amazon Prime Day by expanding the occasion into Amazon Prime Week.
Although the company has not officially announced the dates, it’s looking like the festivities will run from July 9 through July 15, according to comments by individuals who say they work for Amazon. Affiliates have been told to prepare for a 30-hour event that’s slated to be part of a weeklong sale taking place the second week of July.
The week of July 9 through 15 would make sense because last year’s Prime Day took place on Tuesday, July 12, and the first one was on Wednesday, July 15. Prime Day was introduced in 2015 to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the company’s founding on July 16, 1995.
Last year’s Prime Day was the biggest sales day ever for Amazon. The company didn’t disclose numbers, but it reported selling millions of toys and shoes, hundreds of thousands of Kindle e-readers, 215,000 pressure cookers, 200,000 headphones, more than 90,000 TVs and 14,000 Lenovo laptops.
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. The company said it sold 18 percent more units than during its biggest Black Friday ever in 2014 and roughly doubled sales from its first Prime Day, potentially netting close to $1 billion, according to some.
“After yesterday’s results, we’ll definitely be doing this again,” said Greg Greeley, vice president of Amazon Prime, once the 2016 numbers were tallied.
Critics have suggested that the numbers may be less impressive than they appear because, based on affiliate data, customers may have been holding off on purchases in the days leading up to the big sale. But that hasn’t stopped Amazon from rushing headlong into a bigger and better rendition of the event this year.
As the name suggests, Prime Day (or Prime Week) 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, Audible audio-books, and select grocery and restaurant delivery.
There may be even more exclusive deals for owners of Alexa-enabled devices. Amazon already pushes Alexa-exclusive deals for Prime members through its fleet of home devices, giving its loyal shoppers one more reason to invite Alexa into their home. Conveniently, with Prime Week just around the corner, the flagship Echo speaker is on sale for $129.99 – that’s $50 off, its lowest price ever. Coincidence?
Over its two-year lifespan, Prime Day has seen a vast improvement in logistics and customer satisfaction. Many found themselves frustrated the first year as the best deals sold out early or they had to wait for items to re-stock. Feedback was much more positive last year.
Perhaps spreading the deals out over a week will further alleviate some of the pressure that was previously focused on a single day’s high performance. Or, maybe it’ll be seven days of insanity for Amazon employees, who are not allowed to take time off because Prime Day (or Week) counts as a blackout date.
In Other News…
Amazon is taking on Google with a translation service that it initially created for internal use, but which it now wants to make available to third parties. The service could enable developers to make their websites and apps available in multiple languages. Amazon already uses this machine-translation technology to provide product information in various languages.
The company is looking for $5 million in grant funding from the state of Michigan to build a second metro Detroit distribution center. Amazon says that the new center would cost $140 million to build and would create at least 1,600 new jobs. This is on the agenda for the Michigan Strategic Fund board’s meeting on Tuesday, June 27.
After paying $50 million in April to the NFL for the rights to stream its 10 Thursday night games, Amazon now plans to charge $2.8 million for ad packages during the games. It will be able to sell up to 10 30-second ad spots during each streamed game for a total of more than $300 million in revenue. Live-streamed NFL games will be available for view by members of Amazon Prime.