Happy woman inside her home opening a package and pulling out a sweater.
Small businesses that sell on Amazon increasingly have been using Prime Day promotions as their most important sales opportunity of the year. — Getty Images/ljubaphoto

How small businesses can tap into the buzz of Amazon Prime Day to drive sales:

  • Promote summer deals as an opportunity to stock up on back-to-school purchases and holiday gifts, as consumers are already in buying mode for those two shopping events.
  • Small businesses should play up their local, independent edge and promotional offers on social media, with consumers more eager than ever to support them.
  • As surveys show that shoppers are planning to make their biggest purchases of the year on Amazon Prime Day, consider offering compelling deals on big-ticket goods.

Prime Day, Amazon’s top sales promotion of the year, has increasingly become a big, two-day event for small retailers.

This year’s dates are July 12 and 13.

Last year, Prime Day sales by third-party sellers on Amazon, most of which are small- to medium-size businesses, grew by more than Amazon’s own retail sales.

On Prime Day 2020, small- to medium-size businesses rang up $3.5 billion in sales.

Small businesses that sell on Amazon increasingly have been using the Prime Day promotions as their most important sales opportunity of the year, and Amazon increasingly has been emphasizing how the event impacts small businesses.

This year it has added a tag on Prime Day deals that identifies small business sellers, and is offering contests and prizes for shoppers who buy from participating small businesses.

The first Prime Day was held on July 15, 2015, in honor of the 20th birthday of Amazon. It has since expanded into a two-day event.

Prime Day online sales now rival those of Black Friday and Cyber Monday, and Amazon’s retail rivals, including Walmart and Target, have launched competing summer sales promotions, making July a month when consumers typically search for deals.

Consumer surveys reveal five key trends that businesses, even those who don’t sell on Amazon, can leverage during Prime Day and beyond to boost sales:

Consumers are hunting for deals to save money

A survey by Adobe Commerce in June found that while many consumers expressed concern about inflation and the economy, the majority said they were looking forward to Prime Day and other summer sales as a way to save money.

Younger shoppers were the most likely to hunt for bargains, with 85% of Gen Z consumers saying they were looking forward to online deals, followed by 79% of millennials, and 64% of Gen X, according to Adobe Commerce.

Close to half of the consumers surveyed by retail discounts and coupons site RetailMeNot said they are waiting for Prime Day to make their biggest purchases of the year.

[Read: Move Over, DTC: Direct-to-Marketplace Strategies Are the Next Big Opportunity for Small Businesses]

Shoppers want to buy for back-to-school and the holidays

Retailers should promote summer deals as ways to stock up on back-to-school purchases and holiday gifts, according to survey findings.

RetailMeNot found that 88% of consumers are planning to shop for back-to-school items during Prime Day, while 32% of consumers surveyed by Adobe Commerce said they want to use the sales to get ahead of their holiday shopping.

A survey by Coresight Research found that clothing and footwear, electronics, and books, movies, music, and video games are the top categories consumers will be shopping for this Prime Day.

Since the pandemic began, consumers, in survey after survey, have said they want to support small businesses and local businesses.

Consumers want to support small businesses

Since the pandemic began, consumers, in survey after survey, have said they want to support small businesses and local businesses.

Amazon, seeing the strength of that sentiment, has turned small into a selling point, and this year is tagging products created and sold by small companies with a “Small Business Badge” during Prime Day. It also is encouraging those businesses to promote their Prime Day deals on social media with the #SupportSmallWithAmazon hashtag.

Small stores and online sellers, even if they aren’t participating in Prime Day, can follow Amazon’s lead and promote their Small Business deals on social media.

Shoppers want personalized deals

The Adobe commerce survey found that 67% of consumers like to receive personalized deals and promotions based on their spending habits, and 61% said receiving those kinds of offers will make them more likely to make a purchase. Personalized offers led to 72% of consumers buying more items than they originally planned.

Personalized deals offered by email were favored by most consumers (61%), followed by real-time offers during the shopping experience (53%), and offers via text message (34%).

[Read: 5 Consumer Trends Businesses Should Know in 2022]

All the deals don’t have to be online

Coresight Research noted in its Prime Day Preview report that Amazon again is using Prime Day to promote its brick-and-mortar grocery stores, as well as online sales. Since 2019 Amazon has offered Prime Day credits as rewards for purchases made at Whole Foods stores and this year began offering year-round 20% off discounts at Amazon Fresh stores to Prime members.

Brick-and-mortar stores traditionally have offered their own summer sales, long before Amazon ever existed, and this year they should use themes like stock-up-and-save, shop small and save, or holiday-shopping-in-July, according to the survey results.

But one thing they shouldn’t mention in connection with their brick-and-mortar sales is Prime Day, retail consultant Bob Phibbs told CO—.

Offering a Prime Day-themed promotion in a local store “would make most people think ‘Oh, Prime Day – wonder if I can get it cheaper on Amazon?’ They would open their phones and look,” said Phibbs, who is known as the “Retail Doctor.” He frequently speaks to small business groups about how to create unique sales and events.

A smarter Prime Day strategy for small, local stores, in Phibbs’ view, would be to respond to the same consumer trends Amazon is tapping into, without mentioning Amazon.

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