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Keeping Up With Amazon: Prime Day 2020 Will Start Oct. 13

Mike Farrell

Amazon Prime Day 2020 will take place on Oct. 13 and 14, according to a press release from Amazon. The retail giant delayed its annual mega sale due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Prime day typically occurs in July each year.

In this installment of Keeping Up With Amazon, we explore what the new Prime Day dates mean for retailers in 2020, and how they can best plan for a jam-packed holiday season.

Event Date:

Amazon officially announced dates for Prime Day 2020 on Monday, Sept. 28. Prime Day 2020 will begin at midnight PT on Tuesday, Oct. 13 and run through Wednesday, Oct. 14.

What It Is:

Prime Day is Amazon’s annual sale across its website that is exclusive to Prime members. It has run annually since 2015, which marked the 20th anniversary of the Amazon website. Prime Day transitioned to a two-day sale starting in July 2019. It will again run over 48 hours in 2020.

Prime members have access to savings on thousands of items across Amazon Prime, a paid subscription program that includes free two-day shipping and programs like Prime Video and Prime Music, during the 48-hour sale. Consumers new to Amazon Prime can sign up for a 30-day free trial, become a monthly member, or subscribe to an annual membership for $119 per year.

Which Channels:

Amazon Prime Day will run across Amazon’s website between Oct. 13 and 14. Only Prime members will have access to the thousands of deals across Amazon during the 48-hour period.

What It Means for Your Business:

Prime Day will kick off just over six weeks before Black Fridayand, in effect, has the makings to form the new start of the 2020 holiday season. The timing could not be better for Amazon as industry dialogue continues to grow around earlier holiday shopping behavior due to risk of late deliveries and inventory disruptions, which have been primary challenges for retailers since the pandemic started. 

An interesting dynamic to Prime Day is that Amazon has historically billed it as an invite-only, short-term, high-urgency sale—not aligned to gift giving. This year it stands to serve dual purposes, creating opportunities for shoppers to buy gifts for themselves as well as others.

While the possibility of Prime Day kicking off Holiday is new, it’s not unfounded. Amazon’s impact on broader shopping behavior has been proven, and Sidecar has measured traffic spikes across other platforms, including Google, as consumers price shop. We encourage ramping up your cross-channel marketing efforts to catch these shoppers across multiple platforms during the Prime Day rush.

In addition, we’ve seen considerable gains for retailers who run promotions during Prime Day. In 2019, retailers who ran promotions on Prime Day saw ad revenue grow 65% week-over-week. Revenue growth was flat for retailers who did not run promotions.

Retailers who advertise on Amazon should consider a few tactics this year:

  • Price aggressively during the Prime Day event to ensure Buy Box eligibility.
  • Utilize coupons where possible to enhance your offering and stand out amongst competitors.
  • Expand to other ad formats you might not be using, like sponsored display ads, which might have lower returns than sponsored product or sponsored brand ads. Sponsored display can help capture more attention in the two-day window.
  • Create a holiday collection page on your storefront to highlight deals.

For a refresher on any of the Amazon Advertising basics, check out our guide.

While Prime Day will be a key revenue event for many retailers, it’s also just the beginning of Q4. There are many more important days to be ready for in your overall holiday strategy. With that in mind, approach Prime Day as an important learning moment, in addition to driving revenue and performance on those two days. Evaluate trends in shopping behavior and advertising resonance, given the context of this year’s disruption from the pandemic. Determine what you can bake into your plans for the rest of holiday to hit your performance goals.