Amazon Prime Day 2021: How to Prep Your Ecommerce Store
June 2, 2021
There are three things you need to know about Amazon Prime Day. It moves inventory, it moves fast — and this year, Amazon moved it up.
But you don’t have to sell on Amazon to have Prime Day act like rocket fuel for your direct-to-consumer store. You only need to know how to position your store’s offers to leverage shoppers’ excitement.
When is Amazon Prime Day 2021?
Amazon released a press release on June 2nd stating that Prime Day 2021 will happen on June 21 - 22, giving brands about two and a half weeks to prepare.
Similar to Prime Day 2019 and 2020, this year’s sale will span two consecutive days and offer 2 million deals across each department.
Why such short notice? Amazon may want to keep us on our toes. Their own Prime Day page prompts people to ask: “Alexa, keep me updated on Prime Day.”
We’ve gotten used to the idea that Black Friday is the same time every year, always the day after Thanksgiving. But Amazon keeps things less predictable. While it started as an anniversary of Amazon’s founding in mid-July, during the pandemic Amazon switched Prime Day to autumn before once again reshuffling it up to June for this year.
But, there’s no need to panic about the quick turnaround. The critical question isn’t so much when it is, or even what you’ll sell. It’s why your store needs to be ready, and how to best prepare.
Why bother with Amazon Prime Day?
If you sell products on Amazon, this is simple. Shoppers will have their wallets out and their clicking fingers in position. A smart Amazon seller will prep accordingly.
But what if you’re not yet selling on Amazon directly?
No worries, you can still take advantage!
The Prime Day “Halo Effect”
Amazon Prime Day is such a potent market-mover that it spills over to the rest of the Internet. Experts have dubbed this the “Prime Day Halo Effect.”
It’s both real and measurable. According to Digital Commerce 360, ecommerce stores outside of Amazon still noticed the following on Prime Days:
Non-Amazon retail web traffic increased by 17%
Conversion rates increased by 13%
Online sales for retail sites outside of Amazon grew 76% on the first day of Prime 2020
That leaves one question: how can an off-Amazon retailer capitalize? According to Megan Barry, the best way is simply to recognize Prime Day’s relevance and position your next store promotion accordingly:
“Merchants who don't sell on Amazon can capitalize on consumers' increasing desire to shop from independent brands. By explicitly putting your sales/promotions on Prime Day, you can drive consumer spending to your store vs. Amazon. You can leverage messaging around supporting small businesses or even an ‘anti-Prime Day’."
There’s enough participation in Prime Day, you can think of it as a miniature Black Friday.
While the sales revenue primarily benefits Amazon, small and medium businesses do just as well: third-party sellers reported $3.5 billion worldwide thanks to Prime Day in 2020, an increase of 60% over the previous year.
Take the example of Furbo, the dog camera. Though the company only started selling on Amazon in 2016, a “spotlight deal” placement on Prime Day gave the company jet fuel. Within a year, they were the top-selling pet camera in the world. On Prime Day, they saw sales increases of 500x their daily average. And they’re still growing, expecting 70% year-over-year growth heading into 2021.
Interested in starting to sell on Amazon ahead of Prime Day?
Whether or not your company will be selling on Amazon on Prime Day, it doesn’t hurt to know what sells. The more you know the trends, the more you can leverage your own deals in these ecommerce verticals and receive potential boosts from the Amazon halo effect.
Here’s what often sells, if the recent past is any indication:
Consumer electronics. Amazon loves to slash prices on Echoes, Kindles, and Fire TVs to build customer loyalty. These devices often go half-off and can set off a frenzy for other consumer electronics.
Appliances. Home automation was popular last year, including items like smart plugs and InstaPots among the top sellers.
Personal care. Teeth-whitening strips are a traditional Prime Day favorite. Last year, DNA test kits and loft pillows were among the top sellers, too. At MARLOWE, a men’s skincare product line, the brand reported customer traffic increasing “eight-fold” on Prime Day. In 2021, brands like L’Oréal and haircare from Mizani and Pureology are already planning sales up to 40% off.
If these trends overlap with your store...
Remember Amazon can be a friend just as much as it can be a competitor. It may be time to consider steep discounts when possible to either beat out Prime Day or divert some Prime Day traffic your way.
Customers will be on the hunt for what you sell. Consider creating new bundles that help create discounts on some of these products. Or run a flash sale on these items after Amazon Prime Day for anyone who feels like they missed out. Consider boosting ad spend on electronics, appliances, and personal care to catch some of the traffic that would otherwise go Amazon’s way. (More on this later.)
What’s trendy with Amazon Prime Day is that customers know they don’t have to go to Amazon to find sales. Shopify-based and independent DTC stores are happy to position their sales to coincide with the spikes in traffic.
Especially when customers are already in “must-shop-now” mode.
How to prep your store for Amazon Prime Day
Free two-day shipping
90% of consumers say free shipping is a top incentive for their buying decisions. It’s especially important for Prime members, where two-day shipping is a major selling point. Seeing your $4.99 shipping fees can inevitably be a disappointment.
Do what you can to minimize that effect.
How? First, it pays to offer two-day shipping when possible. This usually means you have to pay a premium. Shopify recommends limiting your offerings to store members, or making them after a minimum order value. They also feature a calculator for figuring out when the cost of two-day shipping will be well worth the additional sales you make.
If you do offer free shipping, advertise it. Consider a badge that highlights your two-day offerings, especially if it incentivizes a minimum order value.
“Combined with free shipping, this can be a big needle-mover for you,” said Amanda Natividad, Head of Content at ShipBob. For example, offering a free shipping threshold that’s 10-20% higher than your average order value (AOV) can make the investment worth it.
One reason people flock to Prime Day and Black Friday isn’t because they always have a specific product in mind.
It’s the exciting concept of a deal that attracts them.
Flash and lightning sales are perfect for customers who are already in deal-hunting mode. And since there can be substantial fees in creating your own flash sale on Amazon, this can be even more profitable on your own. Consider cashing in on the halo effect by offering the following:
Exclusive “Before Prime Day” sales, i.e. "Get the latest before Prime Day!"
"Missed Prime Day?"—Deals.
Using a countdown timer to highlight just how quickly the flash sale will move. This creates urgency for customers who are already in a hurry.
Create a dedicated landing page for your flash sale. This builds credibility: when a customer lands on a unique URL custom to a deal, it highlights the urgency of the sale. This is especially easy to do with Shogun for Shopify.
“Teaching your customers to anticipate these super sales (and being disciplined about other discounting) will — I believe —garner the same excitement or more, since presumably it’s excitement and brand loyalty coming together…which Amazon likely won’t have anytime soon. The issue is — it takes awhile to take up that much space in your customers’ minds.”