Retail is definitely a me-too industry. Need proof? Just check out all of the one-day, online-only sales that happened on Tuesday, Amazon’s Prime Day.
The discount holiday was christened in 2015 to commemorate the company’s 20th anniversary. This year, deals started as soon as this year’s date was announced. Discounts were offered on a variety of products with a special emphasis on the company’s Alexa suite of connected gadgets.
The catch is that all of these enviable options are only available to Amazon Prime members. So it’s a sale disguised as a membership drive because Amazon knows that members spend $1,300 a year on the site vs. $700 for non-members.
Dubbed a “midsummer surprise sale” Saks Fifth Avenue is offering an additional 15 percent off of some sale items. At Bloomingdale’s it’s deals and steals, with some items marked down by 25 percent and others offered at other, lower prices. J.C. Penney has gone “cyber in July” for 24 hours with some items marked down by 60 percent and others offered at an extra 30 percent off. It’s Black Friday at Macy’s, which is offering an extra 25 percent off through Monday.
The slate of promotions comes at a time when most retailers are looking for ways to wean customers off of their rock bottom price demands and general dependence on deals.
Some retailers, though, seem to be passing on copycat price breaks, opting to stick with their regularly planned sale calendars. For instance, rather than jumping on the bandwagon, Nordstrom will host its regular anniversary sale starting Wednesday. Meanwhile, Neiman Marcus has markdowns mentioned on its site but they appear to be of the regular mid-summer variety.
But neither offering a rival sale nor ignoring the day altogether may be the best way to handle things. Some companies are opting for a third option: package a promotion around Prime Day itself.
Though not a retailer, the Mealpal app, which offers discounts on lunches from New York City area restaurants, is capitalizing on the day by offering anyone who signs up for the service a $100 Amazon gift card.