What can brands learn from Amazon this Prime Day?

How can you bring a little of Amazon's success to your business?

It's that time of the year again! Amazon Prime Day is arguably one of the number one hot spots in the ecommerce / online shopping space (Black Friday / Cyber Monday and Christmas sales aside). It all kicks off from tonight (Monday 10th July) at 6pm. We take a look at how the retail giant prepares to make such a success of Prime Day, and bring you 8 handy lessons that any brand can emulate.

Lesson 1: Target your strategy towards the personalised needs of your consumers

The initial idea behind Amazon Prime Day was a very clever way of capitalising on their most profitable asset. With Prime users spending significantly more throughout the year than non-Prime users, this was great way of both showing thanks and appreciation to the most loyal customers, whilst seeing a substantial increase the amount of people signing up for Amazon Prime, thanks also to the pre-Prime Day promotion. (Following Prime Day in 2015, Amazon reported a 53% increase in the number of Prime memberships.)

Whilst offering promotions is a great way of increasing sales, it is important to ensure they are offers that the customer actually wants. There are often mixed opinions on the success of Amazon Prime Day, with some people unhappy with the range of discounts available, but it's important to note that a wide variety of customers all have very different needs.

In general, small businesses have a smaller product offering or demographic, therefore it could be easier to tailor a product or service to a customer’s particular requirements. Just like any form of marketing, the most effective ways used a personalised approach.

> Get personal and tailor your offers to specific groups of customers for the best response

Lesson 2: Control customer expectations whilst ensuring your business can deliver on its promises

Amazon puts great effort into promoting Amazon Prime Day, and subsequently customer expectations surrounding the event are high. On the day of the event, however, previous Prime Days have seen increased site activity lead to issues with website performance, along with many deals selling out within a matter of minutes. As customer expectations had been so high, the issues with the website and shortage of deals gained a lot of negative response on social media. (On Prime Day 2015, Amazon saw a 78% increase in mentions on social media, with 29% of these being negative). Along with this, many consumers found that the deals offered were underwhelming, as many were anticipating deals in electronic (which were no longer available). This lead to the hashtag #primedayfail to trend amongst users.

It is important for businesses to note that promotion for a service or product should reflect what is being offered. Many of the issues surrounding Amazon Prime Day were due to the increased expectation of consumers, rather than the customer service.

> Make sure your promotions include clear and honest messaging. Exclusive deals need to feel fair and open to all VIP members, and a bonus privilege to achieve, rather than a right.

Lesson 3: Direct efforts generating the most revenue from consumers rather than just selling

When consumers are searching for a particular product or service, a business can be more successful if they present numerous search results as opposed to just one. Although it can sometimes be counterproductive, some industries can maximise returns on their marketing budget, as well as increasing their profits, by selling competitor products or services.

Amazon displays a primary example of this through their sales and advertisements. Although their marketing material strongly promotes key Amazon merchandise, they also sell a wide range of competitor goods, often recommending these on the website to complement their products through cross-selling.

 > Be open to new revenue streams, even if they initially seem to oppose another of the goals of the business, there may be a business case where the pros outweigh the cons

Lesson 4: Capitalise on successful tactics and take an innovative approach

Amazon has cemented itself as a forerunner in innovation and businesses can learn from Amazon's approach. Although Amazon Prime Day can receive media scepticism, figures show the day is very successful for the brand, and proves year after year that taking chances can pay off. Last year Amazon saw 60% more orders placed than in the previous, as well as a 100% increase in sales made through the Amazon app. Whilst leading the way with innovative ideas, they are also sure to take advantage of the approaches they know work well, such as increasing their range of compatible Amazon devices and benefits of Amazon Prime. It is a good idea to keep this in mind when implementing a business strategy, developing on ideas that work well, whilst always looking for new ways to develop.

> Listen to customer feedback and figures as your key benchmarks, and don't stop innovating

Lesson 5: Utilise events to increase brand awareness

Events can be used as a great tactic to generate business. Prime Day is one of the most effective strategies Amazon has implemented, regularly attracting more subscribers in one day than ever before. For events to be most productive, it is a good idea to focus on the most profitable aspects of the business. Amazon do exactly this with Prime Day, encouraging users to first sign up to their Prime membership which can attract up to three times the amount of business as regular users. By creating such a compelling event exclusive to Prime members, the drive to complete membership for Prime Day is made irresistible by Amazon.

Amazon Prime Day has also shown that an event does not need to be based around a product launch or other significant event, it can be successful in promoting current products. Since the first Prime Day in 2015, Amazon has reportedly nearly doubled the number of Prime members. Surrounding Prime Day Amazon became a great topic of conversational online across the globe, which although is not feasible for many small businesses, this can be replicated locally to gain interest.

>  Does an event exist in your industry around your premium services? If not, consider creating one! Being able to own a particular day and create a buzz around your key products or services will pay dividends

Lesson 6: Create anticipation and excitement around new products

The key to generating engagement and encouraging consumers to take interest in your products is to inform them early to gain increased awareness. This includes promotion through social channels as well as email campaigns.

To develop maximum response and build interest in Prime, Amazon start promoting the event weeks in advance. Throughout the website there are many calls to action informing customers of the benefits of joining Prime. As well as this, Amazon also utilise social media channels, urging people to subscribe and to display their new special offers on the day.

>  Generate buzz through build-up and drive anticipation through teaser and countdown campaigns across multiple channels. By the time the event comes around customers will be raring to go!

Lesson 7: Simplicity is key

There can be a temptation to overcomplicate strategies, but this can lead to issues when trying to grow and develop your business. One of the key features in Amazon's success its simplistic approach to promoting its most profitable assets. Marketers would be wise to to take note of this approach, ensuring the message is concise and easy to understand, as it is harder to entice consumers when they do not fully understand the message the business is trying to convey.

 > Less is more! Keep your messaging clear and simple for maximum results

Lesson 8: Retargeting consumers to increase revenue

One of the areas that Amazon has been very successful with is retargeting customers back to the website once they have left. With no company being more successful at this, Amazon hold the industry benchmark for all others to compare to. Taking advantage when customers view a product but don’t follow this up with a purchase, Amazon retarget by offering special offers on products customers have left in their baskets, or remind them of their previous search history.

Amazon Prime Day is a brilliant example of how following up and communicating with consumers who have shown curiosity can increase sales. It could also be said that many Prime Day purchases will be as a result of consumers being reminded of a product they have previously viewed, that is now on sale.

> Retargeting is one of the most effective tools in your digital marketing toolkit, especially (but not solely) in the consumer / ecommerce market. Target, test and tailor abandoned carts and similar campaigns until you find optimal results for each

So, whilst you're looking for deals online with Amazon this Prime Day, don't forget to consider the key marketing takeaways from the top to help grow your business.

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