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Amazon’s very different Prime Day could make Black Friday an afterthought


In Amazon’s Prime Day ad this year, the cartoon dog sitter is also wearing a mask.


This story is part of Amazon Prime Day, CNET̵

7;s guide to everything you need to know and how to make sure you get the best deal.

Last year’s Amazon Prime Day televised ad featured geometric cartoon citizens – building their own trucks, parade floats, and houses with Amazon delivery boxes – at a rowdy parade, with a livery band showing everyone. big deals on fashion, homeware and electronics. In 2020, the backdrop is a suburban neighborhood where the same fictional characters are at home, socially spaced out watching a movie from a backyard projector or celebrating a new pajama shipment. Those on the street wear masks.

That’s right, Amazonville also appears to have been hit by the COVID-19 blockade, highlighting what has completely changed Prime Day will be in 2020.

“Over the past few years, Amazon has promoted Prime Day as a celebration. It was more of an uplifting tone,” said Sara Skirboll, shopping and trend expert for retail site RetailMeNot. “This year will be different, it will be more practical: more things people need and fewer things they want.”

There is no regulation on how to organize a giant sales event invented by the company during a pandemic, but Amazon is trying, with Prime Day arrival Tuesday and Wednesday. It will have to set the tone for the United States plagued by pain, social unrest, a harsh economy and a world in the hands of the novel coronavirus. Consumers will take an early leap into holiday shopping and hopefully have the ability to save on things they need like home work equipment, home entertainment, and maybe even toilet paper.

It will be an important opportunity for Amazon to show how it can help customers save money during an economic downturn and support small businesses on its platform as it faces a series of antitrust investigations into the power it wields over those very small businesses.

According to researcher eMarketer, Prime Day is also expected to be a huge money maker for the e-commerce giant, bringing in $ 9.9 billion worldwide in just 48 hours. This is a 43% increase over last year and will mark the biggest Prime Day ever (even if that record is broken every year).

But some of the biggest beneficiaries may end up being physical merchants, who are pushing their sales to coincide with Prime Day in hopes of getting a financial boost during a tough year full of retail bankruptcies.

Times that change

The biggest change to Prime Day this year is the timing. The sale is typically held in the summer to support an otherwise sleepy retail season. This year it was postponed to October so that Amazon could respond to an increase in online orders during the pandemic and adapt its warehouses with new security protocols to protect its workers.

“This will result in a different goal: reducing the emphasis on products for summer and back to school and making the event an early start to the holiday season,” said eMarketer retail analyst Andrew Lipsman.

Many retailers are expected to offer some of their lowest prices on Prime Day, RetailMeNot said, so they can get a boost in holiday sales and try to steal customers from Amazon. Walmart, Target and Best buy have already announced similar Black Friday discounts at the same time as Prime Day, making the sale the unofficial start of holiday shopping.

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Retail experts advise customers to shop early to avoid out of stock items, which is especially likely this year due to supply chain disruptions during the pandemic and delivery delays due to many more online shipments.

As a nod to 2020’s plight, Amazon is emphasizing its social awareness so it can present Prime Day as a platform to help others and not just sell piles of Roombas and giant tubs of petroleum jelly. If you spend $ 10 on a small business on the Amazon site before Prime Day, the e-retailer will give you a $ 10 credit to spend at the sales event. Amazon also promotes Amazon Smile, its charity feature.

“It’s not the purpose of Prime Day,” Lipsman said of these efforts to give back. “I think the context is very different these days and they need to be aware of that.”

Chris McCabe, founder of Amazon seller consultancy ecommerceChris and former Amazon employee, said Amazon will definitely benefit from Prime Day, but said the online seller has already seen an increase in sales throughout the year. . Considering that, he said, Amazon doesn’t really need to make a big sale.

“In October, people are already shopping for Christmas, so there’s no need to increase sales,” he said. “Everything has been high all year, all week, all month.”

Stimulus potential

Prime Day approaching the holidays this way may take some oomph from Black Friday and Cyber ​​Monday, as more customers make their Christmas shopping early. But expect the holiday season sales to still be huge and offer plenty of discounts.

One of the reasons customers might want to wait to shop for the holidays is that it’s huge federal stimulus plan it is still under negotiation and could be approved by the end of the year. The previous stimulus checks sent to Americans in April provided a big boost to retailers and the economy, as consumers bought clothing, appliances, electronics, and more.

Another stimulus, although uncertain due to tough elections and an unpredictable president, it could have a big impact on Black Friday, which falls on November 27, if it arrives in time.

After all sales have closed and the delivery boxes have been opened, hopefully on Prime Day 2021, Amazonville residents can safely step out for another sweeping, confetti-filled parade along Bezos Boulevard. But for now, enjoy the pajamas.

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