Amazon Prime Day sales jumped from 4 billion in 2018 to 6 billion in 2019, and it seemed obvious that number would only go higher in 2020. However, this has been an unprecedented year. Not only has Prime Day been postponed to September (at the very least), but shopping in general has been turned upside down. Here’s what brands and retailers can keep in mind as they try to maneuver the space between our usual, expected Amazon Prime Day and today’s real ecommerce opportunities.
Get ready for holiday sales and prepare to be flexible
Chances are, most businesses who were ready for Prime Day sales started preparing their stock months ago. Since Prime Day is postponed, of course, brands and retailers might be looking for ways to drive sales and run promotions right now… but the possibility of a late-in-the-year Prime Day should also raise some questions.
With Prime Day happening closer to the holidays, not to mention right after back-to-school shopping, sales patterns this year could be even more disrupted. The key will be staying flexible and being ready to commit to whatever schedule comes your way. Perhaps schools will open later than planned, pushing all those sales further back. Perhaps Prime Day will be particularly small this year as shoppers wait for Black Friday sales. Be ready for surprises and be sure you can wow those shoppers with great content whenever that opportunity does arise.
…and be sure to get flash sales in order!
Flash sales are becoming a bit of a free-for-all in the absence of Prime Day and the spike in ecommerce sales. Price for apparel dropped by 12% between March and April this year, according to the Adobe Digital Economy Index. That’s a holiday shopping-level of price reduction and sales, and shoppers know it.
Expect competitors to also be looking to drive sales and get rid of excess inventory in the coming months, and be ready to take advantage of this opportunity to grab shoppers’ attention outside of Amazon’s Prime Day.
Focus on the new trends and “pandemic-era” essentials
Homewear, snacks, bread machines - all of these things have grown in ecommere popularity recently. While it isn’t possible for every brand and retailer to jump on these bandwagons, it will pay to understand what counts as “essential” for shoppers today. Medicines, masks, and other popular products are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to new opportunities.
Here are some winning categories to be aware of:
- Games, which have grown 90% compared to 2019.
- Books and hobby supplies, which 15% of Americans have recently purchased online specifically due to the pandemic
- Takeaway, which 31% of Americans have recently purchased online specifically due to the pandemic
In short, brands and retailers who are able to be creative and adapt will continue to win throughout 2020. As cosmetic brands start to make sanitizers and cleaners and restaurants turn into delivery services (or getting even more creative), now is the time to locate new audiences, test new approaches. These shifts are going to have long-term effects even after shoppers start feeling comfortable in-store again.
Check out Google’s Rising Categories for some inspiration.
Take time to evaluate your branding in today’s climate
Politics are usually the last thing a brand or retailer wants to get involved in. While that may still be the case, the climate today in the US and indeed many other countries is far from normal. Regardless of what choices you make, decisions will no doubt require much more complex reasoning and planning.
Consumer sentiment also varies quite largely by demographic, and it’s worthwhile to do the work and find out how your key audiences really feel today. This study from Morning Consult is a great place to start, with findings like “half of all adults said that donations to social justice groups increase brand favorability in their eyes.”