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What does Amazon Prime Day 2020 mean for your small business?

Editorial Team

6 min read
Stack of wrapped gifts

Amazon Prime Day is one of the largest shopping days of the year. Over the past five years, the retail giant has seen massive growth in sales for the annual event. In the inaugural Prime Day in 2015, sales totaled $0.9 billion. In 2019, Prime Day sales reached an estimated $7.16 billion. Since the sale event’s inception, Prime Day has increased by almost 800%. Because of the scope of the event, Prime Day doesn’t mean big business just for Amazon. Small business retailers can profit from it, too. Let’s take a look at everything small businesses need to know about Amazon Prime Day 2020, from when it is to how it works and what small businesses can do to get the most out of it.

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When is Prime Day 2020?

Amazon has announced that Prime Day will take place on October 13-14, 2020. 

What is Amazon Prime Day and how does it work?

Amazon Prime Day is an annual two-day sale event exclusively for Amazon Prime members. It’s essentially an ever-evolving, private label Black Friday for the internet’s largest retailer. Each year, Amazon adjusts how Prime Day works. They make it longer, tweak the offerings, and of course, highlight different Amazon products. 

How Prime Day works for customers

Over the course of the two-day event, Prime members can score a variety of deals in electronics, fashion, kitchen, home, and more. Shoppers don’t have to wait until October 13th to start saving, though. Amazon has released early deals on items like the Amazon Echo, Toshiba Fire TV, and the Amazon Fire Recast for Prime members to shop early. Once Prime Day starts, Amazon staggers deals over the 2-day period. Once they’re gone, they’re gone, so shoppers are encouraged to “watch the deals.”

How Prime Day works for small businesses

This year, Amazon has included a push to support small businesses in its Prime Day strategy. If shoppers spend $10 with small businesses on the Amazon platform between September 28, 2020, and October 12, 2020, they can earn $10 to spend on Prime Day. 

To help Prime members easily find small businesses, Amazon has created a directory allowing shoppers to search for small businesses based on categories of goods sold and region. Amazon has also included a “Meet the Business Owners” hub that allows shoppers to peruse shops that are women-owned, Black-owned, military-family-owned, and family-owned, along with “innovators” and “makers.” 

How Amazon Prime Day 2020 will differ from years past

The most obvious way that Prime Day will be different in 2020 is that it will take place in the midst of a global pandemic. In previous years, Prime Day occurred in July. This allowed retailers ample time to restock before the holiday rush of Q4. In 2020, Prime Day will take place in mid-October, acting as the year’s unofficial start to the retail holiday season. Will shoppers, wary of shipping delays, hedge their bets and shop the Prime Day deals the way they would have rallied around Black Friday in the past? Only time will tell, but some shoppers will likely be motivated by the October date and ability to score savings while maintaining the social distanced benefits of online shopping. 

Tellingly, it’s because of supply chain delays that Amazon pushed the annual sale event from July until October. 

How can Prime Day benefit small businesses?

The most obvious benefit of Prime Day to small business sellers is the fact that increased purchasing on Amazon can galvanize their sales. Amazon’s push to support small businesses prior to Prime Day increases the likelihood that small businesses will directly benefit from the event. As previously mentioned, small retailers have to be Amazon sellers in order to be featured, and selling on Amazon isn’t for everyone. There are pros and cons. 

Being a small business seller on Amazon: the pros

  • Access to a wider customer base
  • Boost sales and revenue
  • Increase brand awareness through the platform
  • Opportunity to be featured on Amazon’s Small Business page

Being a small business seller on Amazon: the cons

How Small Businesses can do big business on Prime Day

Small businesses can use Prime Day to boost sales whether or not they sell on the Amazon platform. While it’s true that sellers on the platform stand to benefit from the spend $10, get $10 for Prime Day promotion, any small retailer can benefit from Prime Day indirectly. 

Ways small businesses can leverage Prime Day to boost sales outside of Amazon:

  • Offer your own sales and promotions: Prime Day will have deals-on-the-brain for Prime members. Amazon’s membership encompasses an estimated 82% of U.S. households, so it’s likely that many of your customers are also Amazon customers. They’ll likely have received Prime Day emails. You can offer your own online sales event to capitalize on this momentum, drive traffic to your website, and boost sales
  • Create a members’ only event for your loyalty program: Prime Day is only open to Amazon Prime members. While you may not have the 112 million members Amazon does, your business’s loyalty program is an integral part of your repeat business. Offer your own version of Amazon Prime Day with sales, gifts with purchase, or exclusive products just for loyalty program members. This can also be used as a tactic to increase enrollment in your loyalty program. 
  • Actively choose not to participate: This sounds counterintuitive, but smaller retailers can create an alternate option for their customers by choosing not to sell on the platform, or offering their own discounts. Small businesses don’t have the same profit margins or working capital to burn that a behemoth like Amazon does. It may not be profitable for you to offer those discounts. Communicate that with your customers and encourage them to shop your full-priced selection as an alternative on Prime Day. 
  • Whatever you choose, share it with your customers: Whether you choose to offer your own sales, promote loyalty program sales (or sign-ups), you will be most successful if you communicate your plans with your customer base. Post on social media, send email blasts, put up signage in your brick and mortar store. 

Participating in Prime Day is an individual choice for every small business

Whether or not your business participates in Prime Day directly, the sale generates a massive amount of energy across the internet. If you choose to participate, you can benefit by being featured in Amazon’s network of small businesses, boosting sales, and launching new products. It will be interesting to see how this year’s push for shoppers to spend money with small businesses pre-Prime Day benefits smaller sellers, but it’s sure to be a boon for many who participate in the program. Even if selling on Amazon isn’t for you (and it’s not for everybody), you can still leverage Prime Day by offering your own sales, promoting loyalty programs, or making an active choice to sit it out. 

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