Is it too early for the C word? That’s Christmas. While we might be experiencing some of the hottest temperatures in history, July is still a key time in the retail industry as plans for the Christmas ahead are unveiled. ‘Christmas in July’ is a common phrase in the market and refers to the festive season’s press events, when major brands and their PR teams showcase products from their festive collection to the media. So, the ice creams are being replaced with Christmas puds!
One online retailer that has nailed this period is Amazon, with its Prime Day or the ‘Black Friday’ of the summer. For retailers with a presence on Amazon, Prime Day could be the busiest shopping day of the season as some consumers, believe it or not, look to bag a bargain, five months ahead of Christmas.
Launched in 2015, to celebrate Amazon’s 20th anniversary, the first Prime Day was a one-day-only retail holiday that aimed to overtake Black Friday as the sales event of the year. Originally met with criticism from shoppers over the quality and quantity of the deals on offer, Amazon stepped up its game. Prime Day 2017 was the biggest shopping day in the history of the company, until it was surpassed by Cyber Monday 2017 in November. So key is this event that Amazon has this year moved the date to 16 July to avoid a clash with the World Cup and extended the sale to 36 hours.
Although ‘Christmas in July’ is not a new concept for retailers, Amazon has shown with Prime Day that it is possible to invent your own holiday and it’s a great example of an annual PR and marketing – and sales – success. Amazon turned what is traditionally a slow news season for the media to the headline story, delivering mass media attention and record-breaking sales. McKinsey & Company describes it perfectly: “In keeping with Amazon’s “disrupter” reputation, it pulled off what other retailers have long tried to do: created a catalytic event”.
As shoppers continue to spend more online, retailers can benefit from technology to make stronger connections with consumers and build or cement their brand reputation faster. And Amazon competitors are waking up, as we’ve seen with retailer eBay announcing deals up to 80% off in the same week as Prime Day – although it has not garnered the same extensive media coverage as Prime Day.
With the World Cup delivering an overall boost to consumer spending and with the final and Prime Day taking place on the same weekend, I hope you have your credit card at the ready!