On Tuesday, Amazon.com (NASDAQ:AMZN) announced the dates for its upcoming Prime Day sale, an annual event that offers a host of exclusive deals for subscribers to its Prime loyalty program. This year's sale promises to be bigger and better than ever, beginning at 12 a.m. PDT on Monday, July 15, and running for 48 hours (up from 36 hours in 2018).
Amazon said members around the world would enjoy the chance to take advantage of more than 1 million deals, including some of its "best ever" deals on Alexa-enabled devices.
Rivals were quick to announce sales of their own, while taking the opportunity to get in a few well-placed shots at Amazon's expense.
eBay trolls Amazon
In one of the more amusing responses to Amazon's Prime Day announcement, rival eBay (NASDAQ:EBAY) announced it would hold a "Crash Sale" on July 15. The e-commerce pioneer is offering a variety of deals beginning July 1, including sales on various electronics, home items, apparel, sporting goods, and more. eBay also said it will offer doorbuster deals on July 15 from major consumer electronics brands, including Apple, LG, Garmin, and Samsung.
eBay couldn't resist throwing a little shade at Amazon's event with its "Crash Sale" reference, explaining "If history repeats itself and Amazon crashes that day, eBay's wave of can't-miss deals on some of the season's top items will excite customers around the world." The e-commerce retailer also promised "a fresh batch of too-good-to-be-true deals that will drop if Amazon crashes."
Investors may recall that, in 2018, Prime Day got off to a difficult start as Amazon suffered uncharacteristic temporary site outages due to the massive influx of customers looking for deals. At the time, customers were met with pictures of dogs and a caption that read, "UH-OH. Something went wrong on our end. Please try again." Amazon later had a little fun at its own expense, saying, "It wasn't all a walk in the (dog) park, we had a 'ruff' start -- we know some customers were temporarily unable to make purchases."
Target has a bullseye on Amazon
Target (NYSE:TGT) announced its first-ever "Deal Days" in a bid to go head-to-head with the Prime event. Target said its sale will take place on July 15 and 16, and stressed that there is "no membership required" to take advantage of its deals -- an obvious reference to the $119 annual subscription fee for Prime members. Target said in a press release that it would offer a number of "rarely on-sale, exclusive home, apparel, and toy brands, [with] discounts on hundreds of thousands of items and new deals each day."
In a further attempt to differentiate its offerings, the company said, "For guests who want to bring home their items without the wait for shipping, Target has them covered," pointing to its same-day delivery and pickup services.
The company had a sale in 2018 that coincided with Prime Day, and chief merchandising officer Mark Tritton said, "Last year's Target.com One-Day Sale was one of our biggest days of the year for online sales."
More than just a sale
If history is any indication, Prime Day will be another massive success. Amazon said last year it was "the biggest global shopping event in Amazon history."
That said, this is about more than boosting revenue numbers in July. A significant portion of shoppers during the event will start a 30-day free Prime trial to take advantage of Amazon's deals. A host of customers will come away with Alexa-enabled Echo devices, and many will ultimately decide to continue their new Prime memberships. Research has shown that both Echo owners and Prime members tend to be among the most lucrative for Amazon, spending more than double that of the average customer.
When it comes to Prime Day, there are plenty of ways for Amazon to win -- even with the competition getting in on the act.