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Amazon reached a significant milestone at the start of the year – over 100 million US Prime members. It’s no wonder that its annual Prime Day event has become one of the biggest US shopping holidays, generating an estimated $4.2B for Amazon last year

Yet, the drive in e-commerce activity around this date is not a win for Amazon alone. In many ways, Prime Day has become a victim of its own success by creating a major opportunity for other digital retailers to piggyback on Amazon’s event. 

The so-called “Prime Day effect” has seen savvy competitors capitalizing on mid-summer sales with their own special discounts. According to Adobe research, Prime Day 2018 boosted other large retailers’ sales by 54 percent, and a study by global consulting firm AlixPartners found that 39 percent of shoppers look for bargains at retailers other than Amazon. 

Looking at Ogury’s consented first-party mobile user journey data, we discovered that the opportunity for other brands to cash in on Prime Day began long before last year, with activity on Walmart’s app increasing 54 percent on Prime Day 2017. 

What’s more, in 2018, Ogury mobile journey data shows that Target app users were 17 percent more active on July 17, 2018, compared to the previous day. And research from Mckinsey & Company reveals that Target saw a 129 percent lift in conversions on this date when compared to the previous week, topping Amazon’s 121% Prime Day conversion lift. 

It’s clear that Prime Day holds huge potential for retailers above and beyond Amazon. And with research by InfoScout uncovering 67 percent of all 2018 Prime Day sales were made on mobile, a mobile-first approach is essential to success. 

But what first-party data and third-party trends can retailers leverage to effectively engage consumers on mobile at the exact time they are ‘primed’ to purchase? 

Understand the mobile user journey 

To truly make a mark on Prime Day, it’s imperative retailers understand what the Prime Day shopping journey looks like for individual customers. Too often retailers opt for a broad approach to their marketing strategies. Typically this is due to knowledge gaps in mobile journey data, which limit brand marketers’ understanding of user behavior outside their own app or website. 

Yet, sending a significant pool of your audience potentially irrelevant brand messaging could not only damage your brand’s reputation, but also increase consumer unease around how you are collecting and using their data. In a recent study by Mobile Ecosystem Forum, over one-third (36 percent) of smartphone users surveyed felt they didn’t have a choice in how apps use their data.

There is an alternative that negates reliance on incomplete and unreliable third-party data though. Instead, retailers can use Mobile Journey Marketing (MJM) to gain a holistic view of their consumers’ mobile journeys. MJM relies on quality consented first-party data that gives users full transparency over how their data is used. Understanding the mobile journey allows brands to build a complete picture of the human behind the screen and personalize Prime Day messaging to their precise preferences. 

Identify how Amazon customers behave

To draw customers away from the Amazon app and on to your own app requires a level of insight into customers’ mobile behavior. Ogury Active Insights examined the mobile journey of Amazon app users to identify other apps that its customers engage with. This includes QSR apps like Domino’s and Papa John’s, and online marketplace apps LetGo and Groupon. Engagement with the latter suggests users prioritize discounts and deals – perfect for Prime Day! 

Seeing where users go outside of your app or website and understanding their mobile routine will allow you to make intelligent decisions about which users may be attracted to your brand. Having deep knowledge of the mobile journey means you can effectively engage new and existing customers and capture share of voice over seasonal retail holidays like Prime Day, to ultimately drive business results. 

See the seasonal sentiments 

In addition to first-party insights, third-party trends enable brands to make educated predictions that can inform mobile strategies and ensure successful activation. When considering Prime Day, time of year is crucial as it dictates the types of purchases consumers will be looking to make in this period, which doesn’t apply all year round. Prime Day sits at the start of the summer vacation, so holiday essentials and back-to-school buys are top of mind. Ahead of Prime Day 2018, RetailMeNot ran a survey of US parents of school-aged children, and a whopping 91 percent said they plan to make a back-to-school purchase on Prime Day

Perhaps more surprising is that 40 percent of US consumers buy Christmas gifts on Prime Day according to Valassis, and among 18 – 34-year-olds, nearly one in five completed a quarter (25 percent) of their holiday shopping on Prime Day – so Christmas in July really does exist! 

Don’t focus all your efforts on the US

When Prime Day started back in 2015, US sales accounted for 77 percent of all purchases, but international sales have steadily increased year-on-year, hitting 37 percent in 2018, with 2019 set to see an even bigger increment in international spend. Global retailers should therefore include key international markets in their mobile strategy. In fact, Ogury data reveals similar trends at competitor retail stores in international markets on Prime Day. This includes a 28% increase in daily active users on the Asda app and a 73% increase in the number of sessions per users on the John Lewis app last Prime Day compared to the day before Amazon’s Prime Day started.

Follow the leader 

There’s a reason why Prime Day has been so successful, and other retailers would be wise to look closely at Amazon’s tactics and follow suit. According to RetailMeNot, the brands that fared best on Prime Day were those that – like Amazon – offered short-lived availability, aggressive discounts, sitewide codes, and free shipping, as well as those using the word ‘prime’ in marketing content. 

Considering points of differentiation could also help your brand reign supreme against the competition. For many retailers, this may be the fact that users don’t require a membership to buy from your app or website, but smaller retailers might also want to consider promoting stock that is unique to them or hard-to-come-by, such as handcrafted products.  

In five years, Amazon Prime Day has evolved to become a major global shopping holiday. Once an Amazon-only revenue generator, challenger brands have succeeded in creating a buzz of users browsing far and wide for the best discount deals.

Taking a slice of Amazon’s sales pie is no longer an impossible task, but it does require a data-driven mobile-first strategy, incorporating third-party trends and first party insights, if retailers want to reap the highest returns from digital investments and mobile inventory. 

If you’re interested in gaining a holistic view of your consumer, leverage quality consented first-party mobile journey data and activate business results this Prime Day. Reach out to learn more:

Kevin Fitzgerald, Head of Insights, US

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