Amazon (NASDAQ:AMZN) wants to create a new shopping holiday.
It's a move pulled from the book of the people who attempted to make Administrative Assistant's Day and Grandparents' Appreciation Day real events which require gift giving. But, instead of guilting people into buying gifts for their work subordinates or various relatives, the online retailer simply wants you to buy.
Amazon, under the guise of celebrating its 20th anniversary as a company, hopes to establish a new holiday blatantly linked to what is traditionally the biggest shopping day of the year.
What is Amazon doing?
The company plans to celebrate "Prime Day" on July 15 across much of the world. It will be a day of deals, discounts, and unabashed shopping. Yet, the day won't have any of that pesky giving to others associated with Black Friday, a day the company is essentially basing it on, according to a press release.
More than 90 years ago, holiday shopping found its official start the Friday after Thanksgiving, eventually becoming Black Friday, the biggest shopping day of the year. Over the years, Amazon has helped make Black Friday even more of a global online shopping phenomenon. Next week, Amazon turns 20 and on the eve of its birthday, the company introduces Prime Day, a global shopping event, offering more deals than Black Friday, exclusively for Prime members in the U.S., U.K., Spain, Japan, Italy, Germany, France, Canada and Austria.
There's no reason to shop on July 15, but Amazon will be offering "deals starting at midnight, with new deals starting as often as every ten minutes." It's a "holiday" only for Amazon Prime members, but the company is offering 30-day free trials of the service to anyone willing to sign up.
"Prime Day is a one-day only event filled with more deals than Black Friday, exclusively for Prime members around the globe. Members tell us every day how much they love Prime and we will keep making it better," said Greg Greeley, Vice President Amazon Prime.
This is fairly smart
While the winter has Christmas and Valentine's Day followed by Easter, which has become even more of a gift-giving holiday in recent years, the dead of summer is bereft of excuses to shop. Once Father's and Mother's Day have passed, people have fewer reasons to get out their wallets to buy goods.
That left Amazon without an event from mid-June through back-to-school shopping in August. By creating Prime Day, the company gives people a reason to shop -- deals too good to pass up -- at a time when they might otherwise avoid the online retailer.
This is a tactic that's pulled straight from the physical retail world where stores attempt to create events to lure people to shop. The only difference is that Amazon has a big enough reach to actually make Prime Day a Black Friday-like event.
Amazon can make this work
Consumers have no reason to shop in mid-July. Amazon can create a reason for them to do so and make it an annual event. Like a semi-annual clearance sale at a department store, the company can create a reverse Christmas in the middle of the summer.
It won't be Black Friday magnitude because there's no tradition of July gift giving and mass consumption, but people will buy stuff under the name of getting value. Amazon, of course, will be able to deliver that value offering deals that seem too good to pass up.
Prime Day may not be Christmas in July, but it will be big and it will be an Amazon exclusive. That's a potential sales and public relations bonanza, which should start well and could become even more significant in years to come.