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How to Plan for Amazon Prime Day and Similar Retail Events

Digital sellers and shoppers have a good idea of what to expect on Amazon Prime Day, as this year marks the 8th annual Prime Day in the US. Amazon continues to be tight-lipped on when in July Prime Day will be, though they started preparatory conversations with partners as early as March.

Announcing the official dates as last-minute as possible ultimately helps Amazon dominate Prime Day as the sole shopping destination by limiting turnaround time for their competition to react. In 2021, studies found that 87% of online spending during the two-day Prime Day period went to Amazon, while Walmart and Best Buy combined captured under 10% of sales.

The majority of retailers have launched their own shopping days, like Walmart’s Deals for Days or Target’s Deal Days, to influence the retail calendar. Among e-retail sales events, Amazon Prime Day remains the most prominent – but how can brands prioritize their media during Prime Day and other major retailer sales events?

 

1. Plan ahead by setting aside a test-and-learn slush fund to activate incremental media during events.

We are observing an emergence of category-specific shopping dates, influencing shopping patterns for top-growing categories on Amazon. Brands will have the opportunity to be agile with advertising, reach new shoppers, grow sales, and capitalize on the increased traffic onsite.

Last October, Amazon hosted its first-ever Holiday Beauty Haul event, featuring deep discounts across a variety of cosmetic and beauty products. This event ran for three weeks, with rotating deals and category features ahead of Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and the holiday gifting season. Beauty brands did not have to compete with big ticket items and consumer electronics during Prime Day or Cyber 5. The event was a success, as Health, Personal Care, and Beauty on Amazon reported the greatest YoY category growth of 20% in sales.

This May, Amazon hosted the first ever Amazon Pet Day, featuring 24 hours of deals on pet supplies. Amazon forecasted two times more sales on Pet Day than Prime Day for pet supplies, making this the #1 shopping day for pet category sellers.

Category sales events present a great opportunity for brands to reach new shoppers and identify promotions that resonate best with their audience. Discounting, coupons, BOGO, and bundling strategies can attract goal-oriented and new-to-brand consumers.

 

amazon category sales
Source: eMarketer

 

2. For endemic businesses, maximize your advertising investments by reserving your prospecting dollars for onsite targeting.

The objective is to be strategic with prospecting media leading into key sales dates. Focus on finding shoppers that are in-market and onsite that will generate a larger return, moving shoppers down the funnel quicker. In parallel, reallocate any offsite prospecting budgets towards remarketing onsite and offsite activity, making sure you can retain your existing audiences when shoppers are most driven by value and deals.
 

3. Think about benefits that extend beyond revenue.

Walmart joins Amazon in offering exclusive discounts for loyalty members during their Deals for Days event. During June 2nd – 5th, aptly named Walmart+ Weekend, Walmart boasted deep discounts of up to 40% exclusively for members. Currently, Walmart+ memberships are priced at an annual rate of $98 ($8.17/month) or $12.95 monthly rate, offering fuel discounts, free shipping and delivery, and special members-only promotions and more. With rising fuel prices top of mind, households may want to consider Walmart+ just for this unique perk. According to Numerator, 2% of US Prime Day shoppers became Amazon Prime members during the event. It would be interesting to compare how Walmart shoppers are subscribing to Walmart+ memberships during Deals for Days.

Loyalty programs are an opportunity to grow the lifetime value of customers and also allow retailers to gather first-party data – an increasingly valuable asset for Walmart Connect, Walmart’s retail media network platform, to activate against in the future. If adoption increases, we can expect more powerful audience targeting within Walmart Connect platforms, partnership opportunities for advertisers, and enhancements to their closed-loop reporting.

Graph about CPG benefits for retail media networks
First-party data is becoming an increasingly important benefit to CPGs working with retail media networks.

Source: The Evolution of Retail Media Networks

 

4. Consider the cost and relative competition across platform options.

If you sell on both Walmart and Amazon, the advertising experience on Walmart is far less crowded. Amazon Ads is nearly four times more competitive than Walmart Connect, its closest competitor. Consider your investments during Prime Day on Amazon and other ecommerce platforms you sell on. Advertisers that choose to invest in Prime Day and other tentpole sales events should make sure their retail media network has closed-loop reporting to measure success. This will help benchmark performance for a correlated lift over Prime Day, across all platforms.

graph about which RMNs CPGS work with
Walmart is growing in popularity across CPG brands working with retail media networks.

Source: The Evolution of Retail Media Networks

 

5. Prepare for new or emerging tentpole events.

There is strong speculation for another major Amazon Prime Day event in the second half of the year. Right now, Amazon is calling this “Prime Fall Deals Event”, but it is unclear if this will be category specific or sitewide. What we know is that the deadline for Lightning Deals during the event week is July 22nd, which is quickly approaching. Advertisers can plan for Lightning Deals while waiting to learn more details. Remember, there is a deadline for submissions, but you can cancel your deal without penalties up to 25 hours before they go live.


Prime Day has major impacts on Amazon traffic and sales, but also elevates the entire digital ecosystem due to increased shopper interest and coinciding events at other retailers. With a holistic, proactive approach, advertisers can plan budgets appropriately to capitalize on increased consumer demand, both on Amazon and off.

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