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BizReport : Ecommerce archives : July 09, 2019

Top 3 tips for retailers to capitalize on summer sales

Amazon's Prime Day is only a couple of days away, big retailers including Walmart have announced plans for their own summer sales events, and back-to-school shopping is already gearing up. Here's how retailers can ensure they are ready for summer sales.

by Kristina Knight

Kristina: What kind of consumer response are you expecting from Prime Day 2019?

Adrianna Nowell, Senior Director of Product Marketing, Bazaarvoice: Prime Day has continued to rise in prominence since its inception five years ago, and we can fully expect Amazon to see higher sales and consumer engagement this year. With that said, a bigger shift that we're seeing is a growing expectation amongst consumers for other retailers and brands to offer similar flash sales in July.
Brands and retailers are responding to, and meeting, this demand by creating an entirely new shopping 'holiday' that is more commonly being referred to as "Black Friday in July." Our recent data found that in addition to Prime Day, consumers' top Black Friday in July shopping destinations will include Walmart (44%), Target (40%), Best Buy (24%) and Macy's (18%) - all of which have jumped on the mid-summer sales bandwagon. In response, Amazon is trying to further distance itself from the competition by making Prime Day an even bigger event and launching a new Prime Day themed concert this year. Only time will tell if this pays off -- our research shows that consumers really care about getting a good deal and making informed purchase decisions. When it comes to deciding where to shop, 53% of shoppers we surveyed say price is the number one factor when making a purchase, and comparing ratings and reviews was the primary way they plan to evaluate purchases during Black Friday in July sales events.
Kristina: After last year's Prime Day stumble, how important is this year's performance?

Adrianna: The use of new tactics like their Prime Day concert shows that Amazon relies heavily on Prime Day performance and is willing to invest more to ensure its success. As more brands and retailers offer competing sales, Amazon will face more competition than years prior, and it will be more challenging to stand out to shoppers. Similarly, the number of shoppers will likely continue to increase year over year, which increases the risk for similar issues to last year's website crash. Amazon also needs to address their recent issues with fake product reviews -- 44% of Black Friday in July shoppers indicate that Amazon's recent issues with fake reviews will impact their participation in Prime Day shopping.
Kristina: What is driving other retailers - Walmart, Ebay, etc - to push summertime sales?

Adrianna: It's no hidden fact that Prime Day has seen immense success - it generated $4 billion in sales for Amazon last year. With that, retailers have realized an opportunity to reach shoppers that are already online by offering their own sales events. More broadly though, the summer months are typically slower for retailers, and the industry as a whole has essentially banded together to create this brand new shopping 'holiday' and opportunity to spike sales to break out of the summer slump. Mid-July is also a great time to entice back-to-school shopping and even holiday shopping for the early birds - in fact, 48% of consumers plan to take advantage of these sales for their holiday purchases. Black Friday in July sales are getting longer, deals are getting better, and consumers are spending more - it's a win/win for both shoppers and the retailers themselves.
Kristina: How can merchants ensure their platform is ready for an influx of shoppers for these Christmas-in-July sales?

Adrianna: There's a few ways they can do so:

• Collect fresh product reviews and visual UGC - The window for sales is still relatively small for these Black Friday in July sales, despite Prime Day and other retailers' "holidays" extending. But, according to our research, these shoppers are still taking what little time they have to read reviews: 41% plan to rely on them to inform their purchase decisions. Merchants should provide as much product detail upfront as possible and reviews so consumers can make informed, quick purchase decisions. This also includes visual user-generated content, such as consumers' photos and videos, that help bring products to life.

• Answer outstanding questions on product pages ahead of time - A Q&A feature on product pages allows customers to ask questions that can be answered by their fellow customers or your employees. Having any outstanding questions answered ahead of time can again help shoppers make faster decisions on Prime Day and other Black Friday in July sales events. It's also important to continue to respond to incoming questions and ensure you have the resources available to respond quickly knowing there will be a large influx of shoppers during these sales. 

• Leverage your in-store experience - According to our research, 31% of Black Friday in July shoppers indicate that they shop outside of Amazon because other retailers have physical stores nearby. Knowing this, competing merchants should use their brick-and-mortar presence to their advantage and make sure their in-store experience is efficient and easy to navigate. In marketing efforts leading up to Prime Day, they should highlight assets such as consumers' ability to try products, easy returns and exchanges and helpful store associates.

Tags: Amazon Prime Day, back to school shopping, Bazaarvoice, ecommerce, ecommerce sales, ecommerce tips, summer sales tips

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