Prime Day is evolving, and it’s the highest time for Amazon to allow regular customers to access the deals during this shopping event. Here is why.
In 2019, Prime Day will take place for the fifth time. This huge mid-summer Amazon event is designed mostly to get new Prime subscribers, by offering the deals that are equally attractive as the ones you can get during Black Friday.
According to a report by RBC Capital Markets, as many as 59% of US households are Amazon Prime members. In September 2015 (after the first Prime Day event was held) it was 40%, but since 2017 the membership growth is rather flat.
Although Prime subscribers are more loyal and shop more often than non-members, the original goal of Prime Day (get new subscribers) is no longer valid.
Below, you will find a few reasons why it’s high time for Amazon to reshape Prime Day, and make it an event available for all customers, not only the ones who participate in Prime.
Why Amazon should allow regular customers to shop Prime Day deals
1. Many “Prime Day” deals are no Prime exclusive
The perception of Prime Day is evolving. In 2015, it was obvious that the shopping event was addressed exclusively to Prime members, although not every Amazon customer knew what Prime was about.
Now most users are aware of what benefits Prime gives, but are getting less certain about Prime exclusivity of the July event.
Why is that? Many new sites share “early Prime Day” deals since spring. These sites want to rank higher in Google web search results when the real Prime Day comes and to sell stuff to less aware customers.
Saying “early Prime Day deal” is a promise of a higher price cut than saying “Mother’s Day deal.”
The truth is that no deals you find on Amazon before July are related to Prime Day, and only a small chunk is Prime exclusive. In other words: all Amazon customers can take advantage of most so-called “early Prime Day” deals.
Therefore, if you are an Amazon user, you may get an impression that Prime Day is no longer a shopping event that requires you to have an active Prime membership.
And then, when Prime Day deals are announced, the first feeling you have is disappointment instead of excitement.
2. Customers have learned how to effectively manage Prime
When it comes to getting new subscribers, Prime Day is no longer as effective as it was a few years ago.
Amazon Prime was launched in February 2005. Since that time a great number of customers have been able to try it. Some of them stayed, some canceled.
Heavy users of Prime benefits have signed up for the membership and the only change they made was switching from a monthly to an annual plan.
Other customers were using Prime for some time and learned they didn’t need to be subscribed all year long.
I don’t have access to Amazon figures but I believe there is quite a large number of Amazon customers who join Prime before hot shopping season – Black Friday and Cyber Monday. They get all the deals, enjoy free shipping, get access to free movies during Christmas time, and once the holiday is over, they cancel the subscription.
Most probably, the fact that many users end their membership has pushed Amazon to craft a rather unfriendly Prime cancelation procedure.
There may be a lot of customers who reactivate their Prime subscription in November and December but are no eager to do the same during summer.
3. Prime exclusive deals are no longer a way to get loyal subscribers
When you look at the chart with Amazon Prime penetration, you clearly see that the time with the quickest growth was 2015 and 2016. Now, Prime Day as a tool to get new subscribers is not as effective as it used to be.
As I already mentioned, most loyal Amazon Prime users have joined the program long ago and are not planning to cancel the membership. Prime Day only confirms they made the right decision in the first place.
Currently, the new members are either occasional users or those who return. The latter ones buy a monthly subscription, shop Prime Day deals, and quit.
Prime Day lures now mainly short-time subscribers, those who join to hunt for deals and are determined to stop the membership a moment later.
4. Amazon would be able to extend Prime Day event duration
The original idea behind Prime Day was ingenious – to combine a huge shopping event during summertime with the need to sign up for the membership. It made many users consider getting an annual subscription instead of a monthly one (“hey, I will need Prime in five months, for Black Friday”).
Amazon wants annual subscribers who joined last year to renew their subscription. So, you can’t start Prime Day deals earlier than a year before because many annual subscribers would get the deals and use all the benefits within last year’s subscription.
As a result, year over year, Prime Day would run later and later. But this event is so popular because it fits customers’ needs to buy goods for summer – before they go on summer holidays.
Prime Day should be taking place at the beginning of July or even the end of June, not in August.
If Amazon opened Prime Day event to regular customers, and stopped thinking about annual subscribers any more, it would be more flexible in picking up the most suitable time for pre-summer shopping.
Early Black Friday deals start at the beginning of November. Why early Prime Day deals (the official ones) wouldn’t start at the end on June?
5. Amazon should care more about ex-Prime customers
As I said, many Prime members come and go. If you are an ex-Prime customer and decided not to join the program again, you may feel disappointed and forgotten.
This disappointment may be a result of your experience when leaving Prime: when you learned you couldn’t get a refund, or tried to cancel a subscription but failed (your subscription was automatically renewed, and you learned about it when checking your credit card statement).
If you are not going to buy Prime subscription to get a Prime Day deal, you won’t buy a product at all.
And there are many regular Amazon customers who are planning to shop at the beginning of summer. They would buy even more products if these products were available at reduced prices for them.
6. Amazon would continue to break sales records
Year over year, Amazon announces that the latest Prime Day was bigger than the last year’s Black Friday.
Having in mind that the user base is not growing as quickly as before, it may be difficult to score the new sales record, even if you expand internationally.
Making Prime Day deals available to all Amazon customers would be a way to trigger millions of purchase decisions that are blocked by Prime exclusivity.
7. Competitors started to do the same
Prime Day has become so popular that other online stores have started to offer major deals in summer as well. These deals are offered to all customers.
According to a report from Retail Me Not, in 2019 alone as much as 250 other retailers are going to offer deals around the Prime Day time. Only 7 retailers competed with Amazon in 2015, when the event took place for the first time.
Amazon users who are not willing to join or return to Prime may switch to other stores to buy goods from their summer shopping list.
8. International customers are ready for summer deals
A way to expand Prime Day is to let international customers of the US Amazon store also access the deals.
The thing is that for foreign customers getting Prime membership doesn’t make too much sense. You can’t get a purchased product delivered free of charge, using free two-day shipping. The list of movies and TV series you can watch from abroad is pretty limited.
It doesn’t mean that international customers would not be willing to buy a discounted Kindle or get a new Amazon Fire at half a price. But they will definitely not join Prime to do so.
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