Amazon Prime Day Fail: Huge Sales, Grumpy Customers - InformationWeek

InformationWeek is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

IoT
IoT
IT Life
Commentary
7/17/2015
09:06 AM
Thomas Claburn
Thomas Claburn
Commentary
Connect Directly
Google+
LinkedIn
Twitter
RSS
100%
0%

Amazon Prime Day Fail: Huge Sales, Grumpy Customers

Moving merchandise may qualify as success, but not everyone was sold on sales figures as the salient metric.

10 Wildest Google Street View Adventures
10 Wildest Google Street View Adventures
(Click image for larger view and slideshow.)

Amazon declared its July 15 Prime Day sale a success before the day was through, an assertion that ran contrary to the sentiment evident on social media channels.

At 3:25 pm ET on Wednesday, Amazon Prime VP Greg Greeley said in a statement that Prime Day peak order rates had surpassed those of Black Friday last year. Amazon Prime members, he said, "have already bought tens of thousands of Fire TV Sticks, 35,000 Lord of the Rings Blu-Ray sets, 28,000 Rubbermaid sets, and 4,000 Echo devices in 15 minutes."

That counts for something.

Online commerce consultancy ChannelAdvisor echoed Amazon's assertions. In a blog post, Scot Wingo, executive chairman of ChannelAdvisor, said Amazon's sales for the day were up 93% in the US and 53% in Europe compared to last year. ChannelAdvisor's data comes from third-party merchants selling through Amazon.

Wingo said Prime Day fell short of Black Friday sales by 3% and reached only 60% of Cyber Monday sales. "By all measures, Amazon seems to have had a great first Prime Day," he said. "In the US they were able to have a day that was 4X the baseline growth and come very close to Black Friday volumes for third-party sellers. In the EU, there was also strong growth, but not quite as large as the US."

(Image: Twitter)

(Image: Twitter)

Moving merchandise may qualify as success, but not everyone was sold on sales figures as the salient metric. In Amazon's forums, posts expressing disappointment in Prime Day abound. On Twitter, the hashtag #primedayfail surged, accompanied by the sarcasm that powers the Web. Buzzfeed, ever attuned to the pulse of social media, assembled the obligatory list story: "25 Of The Best Responses To Amazon Prime Day."

Twitter user Roy Buckingham's tweet captures the principal complaint of Amazon Prime customers: bizarre, obscure, or ridiculous featured merchandise, like a family pack of brass knuckles, an XXL Diane Keaton t-shirt, and a plate of ham.

For disgruntled Amazon Prime members, and perhaps others, quality mattered more than quantity.

That's what happens when you're in an industry that deals with "content" at scale, rather than individual items and personal service. Algorithms can process and sell undifferentiated stuff efficiently but, so far, haven't shown that they can replace people when it comes to commerce.

[Read Google Tests Buy Button In Mobile Search Ads]

As Twitter user Doug Davis observed, "@Amazon's algorithms are so advanced, I've been offered over 10,000 #PrimeDay deals and am not interested any of them."

Amazon used to refer to itself as the world's largest bookstore, but if you've ever visited a bookstore run by someone with a passion for books, you know it's a different experience. Prime Day turned out to be the world's biggest yard sale, without the personal touch. That counts for something, but it could have been so much better.

Thomas Claburn has been writing about business and technology since 1996, for publications such as New Architect, PC Computing, InformationWeek, Salon, Wired, and Ziff Davis Smart Business. Before that, he worked in film and television, having earned a not particularly useful ... View Full Bio
We welcome your comments on this topic on our social media channels, or [contact us directly] with questions about the site.
Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
Azathoth
50%
50%
Azathoth,
User Rank: Strategist
7/18/2015 | 10:14:20 AM
Re: I bought a new FitBit- at Walmart!
I picked up the Blu-ray extended edition of The Lord of the Rings for about $28.  So it was a win for me.
progman2000
100%
0%
progman2000,
User Rank: Ninja
7/17/2015 | 12:16:47 PM
Love Amazon Prime but
totally took a pass on Prime Day. It's amazing how much buzz Amazon had around this day though, I do consider them the ultimate retailer. The buzzfeed article was hysterical though.
roberto tambien
100%
0%
roberto tambien,
User Rank: Apprentice
7/17/2015 | 11:09:11 AM
I bought a new FitBit- at Walmart!
I am a prime member, but WalMart matched price on a Fitbit Charge HR, and I had same day pickup. Amazon gets credit for driving the price down, but WalMart gets the revenue. Go figure.
Slideshows
What Digital Transformation Is (And Isn't)
Cynthia Harvey, Freelance Journalist, InformationWeek,  12/4/2019
Commentary
Watch Out for New Barriers to Faster Software Development
Lisa Morgan, Freelance Writer,  12/3/2019
Commentary
If DevOps Is So Awesome, Why Is Your Initiative Failing?
Guest Commentary, Guest Commentary,  12/2/2019
White Papers
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
State of the Cloud
State of the Cloud
Cloud has drastically changed how IT organizations consume and deploy services in the digital age. This research report will delve into public, private and hybrid cloud adoption trends, with a special focus on infrastructure as a service and its role in the enterprise. Find out the challenges organizations are experiencing, and the technologies and strategies they are using to manage and mitigate those challenges today.
Video
Current Issue
Getting Started With Emerging Technologies
Looking to help your enterprise IT team ease the stress of putting new/emerging technologies such as AI, machine learning and IoT to work for their organizations? There are a few ways to get off on the right foot. In this report we share some expert advice on how to approach some of these seemingly daunting tech challenges.
Slideshows
Flash Poll