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ASB MAGAZINE: Prime Day was first launched in the US in 2015  to celebrate 20 years since Amazon was founded. In 2018, Amazon Prime Day amassed AUD$1 billion in sales and just like Black Friday, it’s no longer a one-day bash. Prime Day has grown from a 24-hour selling and buying frenzy to a 48-hour shopping binge backed by the substantial marketing firepower of Amazon. It kicks off on July 15th and similar to Black Friday and Cyber Monday events, it has the very real potential to impact sales for surf retailers if you are not adequately prepared.

 

Amazon Prime Day debuted in Australia in 2018 and lasted for 36 hours to match the shopping spree in more established markets. It was the longest Prime Day ever, anywhere. However, Amazon is taking the celebrations one step further this year to keep the sale going for 48 hours.

 

Amazon Prime Day 2019 will kick off on Monday, July 15th and go on for 48 hours, ending on July 16. With a huge number of deals on offer from Amazon US  including free express international delivery  (for goods over $49) – this mean’s online shoppers will be able to shop until the deals close on the other side of the Pacific, giving them a grand total of 65 hours to keep shopping.

 

According to Carly Newton, Head of Marketplace Management at Merchant Spring a firm specialising in helping brand owners and retailers capture incremental sales on marketplaces like Amazon, eBay, Catch and The Iconic, E-commerce in Australia has risen 25% in the last year, primarily driven by Black Friday and Cyber Monday type events.

 

Coming into July, Merchant Spring say all retailers should be preparing now for Amazon’s biggest sale event of the year. Unlike Black Friday which starts on November 29th and has the potential to pull sales away from the traditional Christmas sales period, Amazon Prime Day occurs in the middle of July and it’s Amazon’s own day, meaning Amazon are throwing everything (including the kitchen sink) at it. According to Carly Newton, this presents opportunities to gain incremental sales through Amazon Prime Day (in a quieter trading period) rather than simply pulling Christmas sales forward by participating in a Black Friday type promotion.

 

According to ASB’s Mark Eymes, these types of promotional sales aren’t going away, and you can choose to participate in them or expect to lose sales without an adequate strategy. Read our Professional Edition article about the surf industry’s reaction to Black Friday sales here. https://asbmag.com/lets-talk-about-black-friday/

 

Carly Newton told ASB that currently on Amazon.com.au you can’t buy surfboards; however, you can get surfboard accessories.

 

Carly suggests a few quick tips in order to be prepared for Amazon Prime Day and if you decide to participate, then make sure you are categorised under the correct product node, which is under Sports, Fitness & Outdoors> Boating & Watersports >Surfing.

 

There are 4 sub-categories that you can select under surfing; Accessories, Board Bags, Booties or Fins. If you’re looking at surf clothing, it’s best to put each product under the relevant subcategory (e.g. Pants, Tops, Jackets) as there are not yet attributes for occasion (e.g. Casual, Beach, Formal/Evening).

 

Newton says that surf retailers wanting to participate in Amazon Prime Day need to have;

  1. Adequate inventory
  2. Great content, best images and key words optimised on your SEO
  3. Market leading pricing during this event
  4. Act early, now is the time to sign up and take advantage of Amazon promotions such as Lightening Deals etc.

*We also advise you consult with your suppliers about what they are doing this Amazon Prime Day and where you stand in relation to your Terms of Trading.

 

Amazon raised the price of its Prime subscriptions in the US by 18% last year, leaving Australia with one of the cheapest fees globally. Benefits include free express shipping, early access to Lightning Deals, and free subscriptions to Prime Video and Prime Music. An Amazon Prime membership, in Australia, will set you back $6.99 a month or $59 a year. Members also get free access to Prime Reading and Prime Photos for all their eBook and storage needs.

 

Most importantly, a Prime membership gets you free shipping on domestic purchases, no matter the price of the product, and free delivery for international goods costing over $49 bought from the global section of Amazon Australia’s storefront.

 

Amazon has promised one-day delivery for most markets although that may be impeded by the logistics of having just two fulfilment centers on the East Coast catering to the entire country.

 

According to statistics from Hitwise, Amazon got over over 3.2 million visits (on both the US and Australian sites) on Prime Day 2018, with Aussies preferring the US storefront despite a ban on shopping from overseas sites after new GST laws were passed. That ban, however, has been lifted, which could be good news for Australian shoppers this year and bad news if you’re a traditional brick and mortar retailer caught in the cross fire and unprepared.

 

Data from Hitwise shows that the high volume of visits resulted in a nice number of sales for the e-commerce giant with a conversion rate of 7.77%, the highest rate that any top Australian retailer has reached.

 

We couldn’t unearth any hard data on surf products sold on Amazon Prime Day. A lot of the products that went on sale came from gaming consoles, Fire TV and products that aren’t available on the Australian storefront. According to Finder.com.au, Amazon Australia only had about a tenth of the deals offered to US customers and significantly fewer than those available to Canadian and UK members. Where the US typically offered 2,800 deals at any given time, the Australian version only had 340 but had more generous discounts.

 

What’s clear is Amazon is expanding its footprint here in Australia. Amazon has been expanding its catalogue ever since it arrived in Australia, and while its some relief shoppers are mainly looking for tech gadgets, it’s only a matter of time as categories expand into more surfing related products, like wetsuits and surfboards. What are the future implications for July wetsuit sales? How will your suppliers react as this sale day grows? Only time will tell.

 

There are some crucial differences between Prime Day and Black Friday. The first is that Prime Day is Amazon’s own day. The second and more important difference is that Black Friday doesn’t create new spending. It just moves it slightly. As we’ve identified in this article already, the money people spend over the Black Friday period is money they were probably going to spend anyway: all Black Friday really does is concentrates pre-Christmas shopping in the last week of November.

 

Lastly (importantly) Prime Day spending is all about buying mainly for the individual and unlike Christmas gifts for others.

 

With so many tech gadgets bought and sold through Amazon Prime Day and each of those devices connected to Amazon Prime, July is emerging as a major sale period for Australian shoppers and it also means that for Amazon, Christmas now comes twice a year.

 

Are you ready?

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LINKS https://www.amazon.com.au/

 

*We also advise you consult with your suppliers about what they are doing this Amazon Prime Day and where you stand in relation to your Terms of Trading.