Home Commerce On Prime Day, Amazon Shows What A Content Fortress Can Really Do

On Prime Day, Amazon Shows What A Content Fortress Can Really Do

Comic: New Normal

Howdy, readers. This is AdExchanger’s James Hercher, bringing you the latest Commerce Media dispatch, which could only be about Prime Day.

Amazon’s brief summer window for avid American consumerism has become one of the world’s major shopping events and reshaped the retail calendar. Whether Prime Day falls in Q2 or Q3 distorts the earnings of Target and Walmart, as brands cash in on the shopping intent generated by Amazon.

But even if big-box chains and local small businesses see a bump, Prime Day is still all about Amazon – and not just the retail marketplace.

Amazon’s streaming video, ad platform, cloud software and other properties are all center stage.

Amazon Primed

The biggest sellers on any given Prime Day are, invariably, Amazon products.

In the past, Echo dot devices and Kindle tablets were the big things. This year, the most-bought item is the Fire TV Stick with Alexa-enabled voice remote, and the biggest savings was on the 43-inch Fire TV, down from $399 to $99.

Amazon also highlights brands that give it exclusive control over price and advertising.

Take Apple, which is known for not discounting products. There are no Black Friday deals on the latest iPhones; the price is the price.

Yet Amazon has a unique wholesaling deal with Apple, and this Prime Day marked the lowest prices ever registered on iPads, iPad minis, Apple Watches, AirPods and both MacBook Pros and Airs.

Of course, the product you don’t see here is Apple TV, as that would interfere with the runaway success of Fire TV Stick sales. And fun fact: Amazon began policing Apple resellers only after adding Apple to its retail wholesale program.


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Last week, a federal judge ruled that a consumer antitrust suit alleging that Apple and Amazon colluded to maintain high prices on Apple items will go to trial. Amazon is accused of removing third-party sellers, including blocking people from being able to sell their used devices.

But regardless of the suit and its potential merits, the fact remains that, on Prime Day, Amazon can promote and price major brand name products in ways no other retailer can.

Beyond retail

Amazon’s relationships with the brands it carries go deeper than the retail marketplace.

TV companies let Walmart or Best Buy discount steeply on Black Friday, after all. But Amazon helps brands manage their profit margin by doing more than just selling more stuff at a cheaper price.

For instance, this is the first Prime Day since the release of Amazon Marketing Cloud, an AWS product that ties into advertising for targeting and measurement. (It’s basically Amazon’s data clean room service.) Two brand marketers and two ecommerce agency buyers tell me that brands using AMC and AWS are beta testing many new sales and measurement opportunities.

One option is to connect Amazon sales to TikTok and other social media nets. Amazon has practically owned the top-of-the-feed ad unit on Twitter over the course of Prime Day this week.

And the same buyers, in addition to a creator with an affiliate deal, say that Amazon fronted the costs for TikTok influencer marketing deals for certain close brand partners.

The Amazon fortress

Why is Amazon making these moves?

To prove that it can do more for brands than offer a platform where they can sell products at the lowest price. The benefits compound as the businesses add Amazon to their infrastructure.

Then there are payments and fulfillment.

This was the first Prime Day where non-Amazon brands (i.e., Shopify companies) could list “Buy with Prime” on their sites. The purchases don’t even have to be on Amazon anymore as long as your business is built on its backend.

Oh, and don’t forget about Amazon’s media empire.

On July 11, the first day of Prime Day, Shopify and Roku announced an advertising partnership so viewers can click-to-buy products in Shopify catalogues.

Amazon can do click-to-buy across Twitch, Prime Video and other video surfaces it owns. The super-cheap Fire TV carries the Amazon Live Shopping app. The free Freevee and paid Prime Video have exclusive click-to-buy options, not to mention discount deals on other streamers like Max, Paramount Plus and Starz.

Although it’s called “Prime Day” because you need a Prime subscription to access the best deals and free shipping, the other definition of the word “prime” is rather apt.

Amazon’s real superpower is its indivisibility.

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