When I read e-commerce news and press releases each morning, I generally expect to see Amazon’s newest partnership initiatives and stock price changes. For the last few weeks, conversations in the e-commerce space have been overwhelmingly dominated by talk of Prime Day, Amazon’s annual sales event. What I didn’t expect to see was Ariana Grande and PUBG at the top of headlines.
In celebration of (or, to further promote) Prime Day, Amazon is hosting a range of international events, all of which will be livestreamed on Amazon and/or Twitch, which is owned by Amazon. The events feature performances that intend to capture a broad range of audiences.
“In advance of Prime Day,” an official Amazon blog post reads, “giant Smile boxes are making their way across land and sea to major cities around the world.” While these five boxes (New York, Los Angeles, Milan, Tokyo, and London) have been announced, it’s unclear if there are more to come. “Each box will open to reveal unforgettable events as a special thank you to Prime members, offering a nod to the unparalleled benefits that come with a Prime membership including music, video, gaming, and more.”
Amazon has long described itself as customer-obsessed. “We’re excited to celebrate with Prime members and bring them experiences we know they are passionate about, like celebrating the musicians they love, the games they play and the books and characters they admire,” says Cem Sibay, vice president of Amazon Prime. And while the campaign is, according to Amazon, “for Prime members,” Smile boxes appear to be a cross-platform hodgepodge of Amazon’s varying service offerings, acting as a marketing campaign for Prime Day, a PR move, and a justification for Prime’s price increase, all rolled into one.
No matter Amazon’s reasoning, the conclusion is the same: Prime Day is a big deal. Sales are expected to break $3.4 billion this year, and the cost of promotions has increased 50%. We’ve outlined our stance on how brands should be preparing for Amazon’s annual sales event in A Closer Look at Amazon Prime Day 2018.
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