Amazon

What To Expect From Prime Day 2018

After another year of waiting, Amazon‘s one-day (ish) annual celebration of all things eCommerce is set to commence this afternoon (July 16) — and run until Wednesday (July 18) morning. Bargain hunters are queued up, Amazon enthusiasts have been refreshing the site all morning to make sure that no super-deal tried to sneak by before the official site bell, and the headers of a thousand think-pieces have likely already been started by columnists and would-be thought leaders about what all of this commerce really means for the future of retail.

While we at PYMNTS will refrain from predicting the future that Prime Day portends, until the American answer to Singles Day has gotten off the ground and logged some figures, it doesn’t hurt to try glance into the immediate future to wonder what Prime Day has in (digital) store for us all. Spending, of course, is the simple and straightforward answer — and a whole lot of it, analysts believe. The prediction of the year that seems to be the go-to for the retail watching space is $3.6 billion in sales, a whopping $1.2 billion more than Amazon made last Prime Day, which it described as its strongest day of 2016.

Daniel Ives, the head of technology research at the market research analytics firm GBH Insights, is the source of the prediction. He says the uptick is caused, in part, by the sales lasting 36 hours this year and because of the discounts Amazon is pushing, particularly on its own in-house line of electronic products.

“There’s a much broader push this year, from discounts to the type of inventory, and Amazon’s marketing push as well,” Ives said in an interview. “When you think about Alexa, smart speakers and smart home products, it’s really becoming more and more [essential] to the consumer. Discounts on Echo and other Alexa products today are really just the tip of the iceberg.”

The tip of the iceberg, indeed, as many experts are not only predicting that Prime Day 2018 will be a good time to buy Alexa-powered smart devices, but a great time for customers to put them to use for shopping. And yet, other experts noted, given the sheer volume of Alexa enable devices Amazon has already sold to customers in the U.S. and around the world, Prime Day 2018 could be a very busy one for the most popular voice-activated AI system in America.

Of course, Amazon has so much more Echo and Alexa to give (or at least sell at a steep discount) this year. When Prime Day kicked off last year, the Echo Show was new, the Echo Spot didn’t exist, and far fewer people had any kind of Alexa-enabled devices. During the holidays, the Echo Dot was the No. 1 selling Amazon device, and the best-selling product from any manufacturer in any category across all of Amazon — and was, in fact, so popular that it sold out (as did the Echo Spot and Echo Buttons). For Prime Day this year, the Show, Dot, Buttons and Spot are all one sale (the Show has been marked down a full $100 for the event), and Amazon is ready to keep that Alexa ecosystem growing and spending.

Whether we’ll find out any hard sales numbers on how the devices sold or how many customers used them to do their Prime Day ordering this year, Amazon is generally pretty close-mouthed. But if the numbers are good enough … well, we’ll keep readers posted.

For the first time in 2018, Amazon is bringing its Prime Day party offline and into real-life commerce with the newest edition to the Amazon family: Whole Foods Market. This year, in celebration of the shopping holiday that Amazon invented, Prime members will get a $10 Amazon gift card for shopping at Whole Foods during the 36-hour shopping extravaganza.

“This is Whole Foods Market’s first Prime Day, and we’re taking the shopping experience to the next level,” said John Mackey, co-founder and CEO at Whole Foods. “Between our exclusive deals and special Prime Day offers, you’re not going to want to miss out on these savings.”

In addition to the gift card promotion, Prime Rewards Visa cardholders will enjoy double rewards — 10 percent cash back — when shopping at Whole Foods from July 14 to July 17 and Alexa-enabled Echo devices will be going on sale at Whole Foods locations nationwide.

Plus, since people need to keep up their strength while battling for deals on Prime Day, Whole Foods is offering up a slew of new food discounts to make sure Prime customers are fortifying themselves adequately. This may end up being the winning advice of the Prime Day pre-game: hydrate, fortifying with food as necessary and pace oneself.

After all, there is little worse in life than peaking too early on the biggest made-up shopping holiday of the year.

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