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Five Lessons From A Made Up Day

Do you know what day it was on Tuesday?

No, I’m not talking about the Battle of the Boyne. Or Gareth Gates’ birthday. Or even Henry the Eighth’s wedding anniversary with his final wife Catherine Parr.

On Tuesday 12th July, it was “Amazon Prime Day”. Yes, seriously.

An entire day devoted towards special deals on Amazon. Whether you’re after a TV, a beauty set, a Kindle or a box of Berol pens, Amazon Prime Day gives you an opportunity to get big discounts on a whole heap of different things.

It goes without saying that this is an incredibly smart strategy from Amazon.

Here are a few reasons why:

It Drives Revenue

First, and perhaps most obviously, it’ll make Amazon a whole load of revenue.

Whilst making the offers may result in them taking a hit on their margins, they’re smart enough to have done the numbers and realised that a rapid increase in volume will make up for the shortfall in margin.

Crucially, it drives revenue at a time when traditionally they’d be making less.

There are no major dates or events in July that drive consumer behaviour, and without Amazon Prime Day, the chances are that Amazon would be experiencing a standard month (or perhaps even quieter than that).

Around Christmas, people buy Christmas presents and decorations. Easter? Chocolate. Halloween? Costumes. November 5th? Fireworks and toffee apples.

July? In truth, there’s not much. Certainly nothing that could drive mass consumer behaviour.

But there is now. Amazon have created their own reason to drive sales, and it works really really well.

The lesson for all of us? The importance of thinking outside the box and not being ‘self limiting’ in terms of when we look to drive sales. A bit of really creative thinking and some very compelling offers will always bear fruit, whether or not we think it’s the right time for our market to buy or not.

A good example of this is Private Client and super nice guy Jon Ramm. Jon runs Vale Interiors and recently ran an email campaign celebrating the business’s birthday. He made his customers aware of the birthday and used it as an excuse to make an offer.

The result? £4,000 in sales that he never would have made if he hadn’t created an offer and a reason to send it.

(For more on excuses for making offers, we highly recommend Bill Glazer’s Outrageous Advertising – if you haven’t read it before, it’s a must)

It Brings People Into Their Ecosystem

To buy stuff from the sale, you have to be a Prime member, which costs £79 a year.

Prior to July 12th, Amazon marketed the fact that you could come in on a 30-day trial for free and benefit from the discounts on offer on Amazon Prime Day.

They won’t keep everyone who’s come in on the trial, but they’ll keep a fair few. Which means a couple of things:

1) They’ll make some more revenue from the £79 billed after the trial

2) They’ll tie those customers into them for a much longer period.

Prime membership offers you completely free delivery (plus a bunch of other stuff including music and videos), and if you buy a lot online, then you’ll understand that £79 for unlimited free delivery really is a steal. Which means that next time you order something online you’ll want to use Amazon to do it; firstly because you get free delivery, and secondly so you feel like you’re making the most of your membership.

In short, once you’re in as a Prime member, you’re part of the Amazon ecosystem and extricating yourself would cause you significant ‘pain of disconnect’. You’re their customer for life (or at least for the year that your Prime membership is initially valid for).

Asking ourselves what we can do to bring people into our own “ecosystem” and create “pain of disconnect” is a real smart thing for us all to do. What is it about what we offer that our customers really love and rely upon and how can we accentuate that? What is the pain of disconnect that our customers will experience if they stop using us or go elsewhere?

It Creates Free Publicity

A heavily marketed ‘deals day’ creates its own momentum – just look at how Black Friday has snowballed since its inception. It might have no legitimate reason to exist other than an excuse to drive sales, but it has legitimacy now because so many people participate.

I googled “Amazon Prime Day” on Tuesday and the search engine returned 36,100,000 results, 1,4800,000 of those being “news” items. In short, everyone in the media was talking about it, and that made it snowball, driving more consumers to visit Amazon.

And it’s not just the media. All of the existing Prime members were evangelising about it too; creating a picture of an exclusive club of people who were getting fantastic deals – a club that a whole bunch of other people wanted to join.

It Makes Sales That Would Never Have Happened

The thing that impresses me most about Amazon Prime Day is the fact that it drives a lot of consumer behaviour that would never have happened.

By that, I don’t mean that the consumers bought something that they were going to buy elsewhere and ended up getting it from Amazon.

Instead, I mean that consumers bought a whole load of stuff that they were NEVER planning to buy, stuff that they’d never even heard of, or stuff they had no real need of.

By marketing a “deals day” across all departments, Amazon introduced their huge customer base to new products and gave them enticing reasons to purchase those products.

They even had a “Prime Day Deals” tab, that enabled you to scroll through all of the deals, whether they were in product categories relevant to you or not. You can be sure they picked lots of sales from people who had previously had no intention of buying those specific products.

For the regular business owner, the important thing for us to learn here is that unless you show your potential customers what you have to sell, the chances are they’re not going to buy it. On numerous occasions I’ve seen business owners providing one service to a customer even though they have a number of other offerings that could benefit the client – they just haven’t made them aware of them.

It Captures (A Lot Of) Data

Looking beyond the revenue side of things, Prime Day will also have helped Amazon build their audience significantly.

Whether you bought something or not, if you visited the site on the 12th, you’ll have been pixeled, and Amazon will be able to show you ads on Facebook and the Google Display network relevant to the product(s) you viewed. By driving such a large volume of traffic to their store, Amazon will have picked up a whole load of data that’ll be worth millions in sales going forward.

The practical point for us here is simple:

Can’t get the sale? Get the email address.
Can’t get the email address? Get them pixeled.

At every stage of a prospect’s journey, we should be making certain we can contact them again, because if we don’t, we’re leaving money on the table.

So that’s that. Five lessons from Amazon Prime Day. Vanity Fair suggested that this year’s event was likely to make Jeff Bezos the third richest man in the world. Not bad for a man who started selling out of a garage in Washington…

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