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Amazon Calls Prime Day 2016 a Success for Sellers

Amazon called Prime Day 2016 a “record-breaking success” for participating sellers and small businesses, reporting that sellers who offered deals to Prime members saw orders nearly triple year-over-year on Prime Day, both worldwide and in the US. As most Amazon sellers know, however, participation in official Prime Day deals was by invitation only, and many of those participating were selling their own branded items.

As a whole, the second annual Prime Day was the biggest day ever for Amazon, with a spokesperson telling us customer orders surpassed Prime Day 2015 by more than 60% worldwide and more than 50% in the U.S. Greg Greeley, Vice President of Amazon Prime, thanked the “tens of millions” of Prime members around the world through a press release issued on Wednesday and confirmed the company would “definitely be doing this again.”

Amazon was as tightlipped as ever when it came to hard numbers. For example, Amazon said Prime member orders on the Amazon app surpassed Prime Day 2015 mobile app orders by more than 2 times. Something else we found interesting: over a million customers used the Amazon app for the first time on Prime Day to shop and to watch-a-deal. Getting more shoppers walking around with its shopping app on their mobile devices is icing on the cake for Amazon.

Globally, more than two million toys and more than one million pairs of shoes were purchased by customers and over 90,000 TVs were purchased on Prime Day 2016.

US Prime members purchased over 215,000 Instant Pot 7-in-1 Multi-Functional Pressure Cookers, over 200,000 headphones, and over 14,000 Lenovo laptops.

In the days leading up to Prime Day, Amazon sellers expressed concern that shoppers were slowing purchasing activity in order to wait for Prime Day deals.

Wall Street analyst Colin Sebastian of Baird noted that concern, writing in a report on Wednesday, “While we believe there is overall incremental sales volume created by the new shopping holiday, we also note that some order volume is “cannibalized” from days both before and after Prime Day. Nonetheless, we view Prime Day as a success, and helps to boost traffic and visibility for Amazon ahead of the seasonally stronger shopping months of the year.”

Other retailers responded to Prime Day but were hampered by the fact the shopping event used Amazon branding in its name. Walmart and eBay, for example, tried to use Prime Day’s exclusivity against Amazon, pounding home the theme that they provided deals to all of shoppers, not just a subset.

As HookLogic put it, “most other retailers didn’t want to promote an Amazon-led shopping day commemorating Amazon’s birthday.”

A performance marketing exchange for brands, HookLogic pulled traffic and conversion data on all of the other top retailer sites that encompass their network which includes Target, Best Buy, Macy’s, Walmart and many more, to see if Amazon Prime Day drove more shoppers to those sites as well.

Retailers did see a 13% rise in traffic on Prime Day compared to a typical day, but not the 75% spike HookLogic saw last year. Conversion rates were up 62% vs. a typical day, and the company said the data suggested there were good discounts and that consumers were in buying mode, likely stimulated by comparison shopping of Amazon deals.

“Given other retailers still saw rises in sales, it appears Amazon brought more shopping traffic online, but didn’t take away sales from other retailers. Rather they stimulated their own ecosystem and Prime members. It remains to be seen if Prime Day generates a large net gain for Amazon or just pulled sales forward that may have happened anyway over the next few weeks or months.”

What about glitches? One reader told EcommerceBytes they had tried to take advantage of a Prime Day Deal but were unable to complete the purchase (they weren’t alone in experiencing problems) – and they said the response from Amazon was unhelpful. We asked Amazon about the problems, including reports of a problem with a Visa promo code that shoppers complained about via Twitter on Tuesday.

A spokesperson said she would look into it, and in the meantime, pointed us to the following statement the company had issued on Tuesday: “The issue that some customers had this morning, adding certain Lightning Deals to their cart has been resolved.”

Interestingly the reader said they gave up and went elsewhere for the item. “I ended up going to Walmart.com and bought slightly better item for $2 more.”

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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). She is a member of the Online News Association (Sep 2005 - present) and Investigative Reporters and Editors (Mar 2006 - present). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to ina@ecommercebytes.com. See disclosure at EcommerceBytes.com/disclosure/.