Amazon put a new date on the calendar last week. No it’s not Prime Day. But it has told its sellers that “Black Friday” deals will start on Monday, Oct. 26, leaving the rest of the retail world to read the tea leaves on Amazon’s Q4 plans.
According to Tamebay, an Amazon seller news site, Amazon Early Black Friday Deals will start and run through Nov. 19. There will be three weeks of Amazon Early Black Friday Deals with different products on special offer each week. The traditional “Black Friday” falls on Nov. 27 this year; Cyber Monday is Nov. 30.
“This means that Amazon will pretty much have sales events running for two entire months. We’re still expecting Prime Day to fall in the first week of October and barely a three weeks later the Amazon Early Black Friday Deals will kick off,” says Tamebay.
The site also reports that Early Black Friday Deals will be available to all consumers, not just Prime Members or consumers who sign up for Prime subscriptions and video. It could be that Amazon is using the month of October (and early Black Friday deals) as much as a revenue generator for itself as for its sellers. Remember Amazon’s stated corporate mission: “Amazon is guided by four principles: customer obsession rather than competitor focus, passion for invention, commitment to operational excellence, and long-term thinking.”
Customer obsession usually applies to the end shopper. Here it may mean another set of customers and that’s its independent sellers. Now that it knows where Walmart’s subscription service, Walmart+ has netted out (it’s set for a Sept. 15 launch) it could be that Amazon feels safe enough in its competitive posture and its level of Prime subscriptions to let those subscriptions ride for the holiday season. Instead, it’s eating up the calendar where it sees competitive advantages for its sellers. Creating its own series of Black Fridays gives those independent sellers a chance to grab business before the Etsys, Shopifys and large-scale retailers put a stake in the ground for the holiday season.
While Tamebay expects Prime Day to be sometime during the first week of October, there’s still an argument that says it could be postponed further. Amazon is running out of time to make its Prime Day announcement. The 2019 date was July 16. The shopping holiday was postponed this year due to the pandemic and the shipping difficulties it presented. If it doesn’t make an announcement on Prime Day this week or at the latest next week, it loses valuable promotional time.
If Prime Day is indeed announced for Oct. 5, as rumored, it will essentially kick off the retail holiday season. Walmart, Target, Best Buy, Costco, Macy’s and Nordstrom have already committed to starting the season in early October this year.
As David Abbou, content manager at eCommerce solution company Namogoo, told Footwear News, “Because Amazon is such a dominant player in the industry, by coming out with their Prime Day promotions in October, that’s going to be competing for the holiday spending budgets of many consumers.”