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How D2C Retailers Can Compete and Win During Amazon Prime Days

It’s back! After two years of uncertainty and shifting run dates, multiple sources have confirmed that Amazon’s midsummer shopping holiday Amazon Prime Day has been announced for 2022, and it’s moving back to its pre-pandemic time slot of mid-July.

As is customary, Amazon has yet to confirm the precise dates of Prime Day, but typically Amazon avoids the already busy 4th of July shopping weekend and instead launches their 2-day event in mid-July. This year, it’s predicted that Prime Day will run on a Monday-Tuesday on or after July 11th.

If you’re a home furnishings, electronics, or fashion retailer hoping to capitalize on the momentum created by Amazon Prime day, you’ve probably been planning your own homegrown version of Prime Day for months. The planning of this year’s event has been even more difficult with rapidly rising pricing and transportation costs, lockdowns in Asia, and lengthy delays on anything coming from offshore.

If you weren’t able to secure all the inventory you wanted on your key promotional items, there’s not much you can do other than make sure your other marketing and promotional levers are being pulled.

Here are a few tips to help you maximize your sales and profitability during Amazon Prime Day/Prime Week.

Strive to Differentiate:

Amazon will of course win the day on hype, traffic, price, and ancillary Prime benefits like streaming content. So what to do? Differentiate. Lean into what you’ve got in addition to having compelling deal pricing. Smart retailers will leverage the unexpected to help stand out from their competitors during Prime Week.

Consider Accidental Damage Protection Plans for example. Amazon offers them on numerous product categories, and has for more than a decade. If you’ve been considering offering product protection plans on your site, but haven’t pulled the trigger yet, it’s actually not too late to implement them in time for Prime Week, and thereby in time to leverage the 60%-70% of the year that lies ahead.

The legacy providers (Asurion, SquareTrade, Allstate, Guardian, etc.) can’t help you in time - they move too slowly to help you integrate quickly. You need a partner who can get you live on site within 2-4 weeks of contract signing, with a presentation that is optimized for success from day one.

The newer players in the accidental damage protection field like Mulberry have built themselves from the ground up to rapidly serve all sizes of retailers via platform plugins (think: Shopify, Magento, Salesforce Commerce Cloud), and they’ve organized their software, partner success and CX teams to support custom integrations.

Other creative ways to differentiate with “stacked discounts” that will lift conversion rates during Prime Week. For example:

  • Discount your shortest-duration accidental damage protection plans to a nominal fee (e.g. $.99, $4.99) on the Monday and Tuesday of Prime Day. A $3,000 sofa with a 2-year accidental damage protection plan for $.99? It’s a no-brainer, and Amazon won’t do that.
  • Offer your shipping insurance (e.g. Route Package Protection) for free or deeply discounted during Prime Week. Your customers will jump all over it to protect that deal they waited so long for from a porch pirate.
  • Give away or deeply discount your white glove inside delivery and/or assembly services during Prime Week. Anyone buying a large/heavy item or an “assembly required” item will think you’re a hero.

Price Deals Smartly:

Keep your cool. Always be as sharp as you can on your spotlight deals, but your margins might suffer deeply if you have a case of “last-year-itis.” Keep in mind that the consumer has already been sensitized to expect different prices than in the past, so you have to do what’s right for your business. Example: Even an Amazon Prime Membership is up to $140 per year in 2022, up +17%. The savings spread between your deal price and the everyday price is arguably more important than whether you’re forced to be at $119.99 instead of 2021’s $99.99 price on that key deal. What minor conversion points you’ll lose with the price increase will most likely be made up in margin dollars.

Focus your Promotional Efforts:

Stick to what matters. If it’s a year-round best seller with hundreds or thousands of positive reviews, it’ll soar during Prime Week if you have the inventory to support it. Resist the temptation to feature B-tier items on site, in marketing vehicles, or in stores just because you’re long on inventory with them. It doesn’t work. Better to mark them down and use non-Prime Week clearance events to move them.

Promote at the Right Time: 

Pull out your big guns at the same time that Amazon does. As in prior years, the actual Prime Day will most likely be on a Monday-Tuesday cadence, with retailers all around taking license to extend it through the end of the week. Be careful however - Prime Day is one of those rare shopping holidays where it’s very difficult to pull volume forward with lengthy sale previews - no one’s spending until it starts. And expect your volume to plummet overnight starting the Wednesday after Prime Day, with few exceptions. Even though July and August Back-to-School shopping trends tend to lift all boats across numerous categories, Prime Day is not the kickoff to a month-long industry-wide shopping spree like Black Friday/Cyber Monday.

Remember the End Game:

Sure, your repeat customers are going to be the most aware of the types of deals your store offers during Prime Week, and leveraging your promotional efforts to retain them and strengthen their LTV is critical. But in sheer volume, you’re likely also going to acquire the largest number of new customers in a single week that you have so far in 2022. Your marketing team’s plans to convert them from one-time buyers into repeat customers should be fully baked and ready to launch by mid-July. These newly acquired customers can help you achieve your Labor Day, Black Friday, Cyber Monday and December goals. 

Amazon Prime Days are some of the biggest shopping days of the year — for all retailers, not just Amazon. If you plan well, you can draft on Amazon’s efforts, and successfully draw customers away from your other D2C competitors. Being smart about what to promote and when, and how to price your inventory can make this a blowout sales event for you too. And be sure to consider how you’ll differentiate with promotions beyond the products themselves — add-ons like accident protection can be a great tool to drive sales without sacrificing margins. It’s not too late to stand up a strong plan of action for Prime Day, but you don’t want to wait any longer!

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Jonathan Fox

About the author

Jonathan is the Ecommerce Manager at Mulberry. He has 30+ years of experience in brick & mortar and online retail merchandising, and was most recently a Sr. Director at eBags.com, one of Mulberry's earliest Product Protection partners.

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