Three Ways Amazon Stays A Step Ahead On Prime Day

Prime Day has grown out of Amazon to become a general shopping holiday.

Monday and Tuesday were the third ever two-day period with more than $2 billion in online shopping in the U.S., aside from the Thanksgiving holiday week, according to Adobe data. Only Memorial Day weekend this year and Labor Day 2018 had similar spending results.

But even if other retailers have learned to harness the shopper whirlwind that Amazon spins every year, the Prime Day bonanza shows how the ecommerce giant is pulling away from other retailers in terms of the data and deals it can offer to brands.

AdExchanger took a look at some of the examples that cropped up during Prime Day this year.

Brands Amazon sells feel the most love

Practically any seller can slash prices, pony up on promotional spend and get in front of a lot of Prime Day shoppers. But Amazon’s top first-party merchants form the most eye-grabbing deals.

Those brands, like Apple and KitchenAid, put Amazon in charge of promotions and fulfillment for their sales on the platform. They make products that are rarely discounted online or in stores, but Amazon knocked hundreds of dollars off on some items for Prime Day.

Those first-party merchant deals show how strong Amazon’s pitch to a brand can be for premium and upscale products, where Amazon can over a day or two massively extend the company’s reach to millions of new customers who were interested but previously priced out, said Eric Heller, Wunderman Thompson Commerce’s EVP of marketplace services.

This dynamic also makes it harder for smaller or third-party merchants to get attention when some of the largest brands in the world redouble their promotions on Amazon and commit to working directly with Amazon, said Connor Folley, co-founder and CEO of the Amazon ad tech startup Downstream.

Amazon pays consumers for data

What’s ten bucks to Amazon? A lot, it turns out.

Deal-hunters this year identified a few $10 cash-back promotions that promise easy credit, for new users of data-hungry Amazon services.

There’s a $10 offer for people who download and shop with Amazon Assistant, a browser extension with powerful data insights. The tool tracks web activity, and siphons general ecommerce by firing notifications for Amazon prices and reviews when people are browsing other retail sites. It also creates a browser-based cart where products can be saved from across the web, but are then purchased from Amazon.

Many retailers block any insight by Amazon into their operation. Walmart and other major department stores and grocers reportedly go so far as to insist that their third-party tech vendors not run any operations on Amazon Web Services, the most popular cloud software infrastructure service. But the Amazon price-comparison tool opens a window into other retailer’s inventory and rates, which could prove valuable for its ad platform if enough users install the feature, Heller said.

Amazon’s other $10 offers include an ecommerce credit for Prime members who shop at Whole Foods and connect their grocery shopping to their Amazon account. Downloading and signing in to the Amazon app for the first time is also good for $10.

Celebrities get involved

Amazon ratcheted up its celebrity involvement in Prime Day marketing and product sales this year.

One Amazon marketing program got celebrity-backed brands involved in Prime Day promotions by incorporating them into the company’s own marketing blitz.

Art of Sport, a men’s body care product manufacturer co-founded by Kobe Bryant among other athletes, had a Prime Day special that benefitted from all the normal paid promotions, as well as by Amazon PR campaigns to promote celebrity partners.

How else to manufacture a holiday?

Taylor Swift, who headlined a Prime Day concert last week, had two merchandise specials promoting her new CD. A new makeup line backed by Lady Gaga launched on Amazon last week, and during Prime Day, Lady Gaga became one of the first sellers to use Amazon’s new live-streaming products.

That product, called Amazon Creator Live, is a QVC-like streaming feature that vendors can add to their Amazon pages. Amazon plans to officially introduce the product later this month, according to companies approached by Amazon as potentially early partners.

So not only does Amazon get the celebrity cache and sales bump on the Prime Day deals, but it can also bring those results to the first potential commercial users of the live-streaming product, said one Amazon vendor.

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