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Do Amazon Sellers Benefit from Prime Day?

If nothing else, Amazon Prime Day is a success from a marketing and PR standpoint – everyone has been buzzing about the July 12th shopping event.

But sellers want to know, are they benefitting from the hordes of shoppers coming to the site looking for deals?

Sellers discussing the special event in the days leading up to the event debated whether it was having a negative impact on sales as shoppers held off on making purchases in order to wait for a deal. On July 9th, one seller posted, “Seems like the closer it gets to Prime Day the lower our sales are getting. Guess customers are doing a wait and see. Don’t get the point if you lose sales over 2 weeks just to get a bump in one day…. sounds like a wash at best.”

Another seller said they had noted a definite dip in sales 4-5 days prior to last year’s Prime Day – this year it appears that the same thing is happening. “Is Prime Day better than average? Sure it is but it doesn’t make up for a week of bad sales.” But the seller also noted that if it succeed in increasing the number of Prime memberships, that could be a good thing for sellers in the long run.

“I would think the possibility of a lull in sales prior to Prime Day would depend on the type of products and how in demand those products are,” wrote another seller. “Looking back at our sales prior to last year’s prime day, we did not see a lull at all – just a slight bump in sales on Prime Day itself.”

Last year’s event was not without its problems, as we described on the AuctionBytes Blog on July 15, 2015. Some shoppers were disappointed to find items they wanted had been snapped up before they had a chance to order, others said they had found nothing worth buying. And Amazon experienced some technical problems, but after the event it seemed to be more of a blip than a major issue.

This year, reports also surfaced of technical problems. Mike Azevedo, CEO of Clustrix said some customers were getting an “add to cart fail” message when they went to check out. “Amazon was so successful in drumming up demand that its ecommerce applications could not keep up with the sheer volume of transactions generated by excited buyers. Most of the complaints on social media revolved around the failure to add items to a cart. The error “Add to cart failed… Retrying” was tweeted and retweeted numerous times, along with not-too-friendly commentary from frustrated would-be customers.”

Azevedo said newer technologies would have given Amazon the ability to quickly add additional capacity to handle the temporary spike in cart and checkout transactions, and then scale back down when no longer necessary (to avoid wasted capacity and cost).

At midday, HookLogic reported a lift in retail site traffic across the board, with some sites seeing as high as 3x more than average. HookLogic’s network includes Target, Best Buy, Macy’s, and Walmart. The site is set to release additional data about Prime Day’s impact on rival sites.

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Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner is co-founder and Editor of EcommerceBytes and has been reporting on ecommerce since 1999. She's a widely cited authority on marketplace selling and is author of "Turn eBay Data Into Dollars" (McGraw-Hill 2006). Her blog was featured in the book, "Blogging Heroes" (Wiley 2008). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to ina@ecommercebytes.com. See disclosure at EcommerceBytes.com/disclosure/.