Amazon’s first Prime Day is underway, with the retailer offering free Kindle books and deep discounts off popular book box sets for Prime members only today (15th July).
The e-commerce giant begun “lightning deals” and deep discounts on thousands of products from midnight for what it is calling its first Prime Day, to mark the company’s 20th anniversary.
The promotional period is similar to Black Friday but offering even more deals, according to Amazon. However, the sales opportunities are only open to those customers who are signed up to its £79-a-year Prime membership, and in this context the whole day can be seen as the company’s latest push to convince customers to sign up to Prime.
Among the Prime Day deals are one free e-book for customers. The deals change frequently throughout the day, but at the time of writing, the free Kindle books on offer were all published by Pan Macmillan and included Only Time Will Tell by Jeffrey Archer, Margaret Dickinson’s The Clippie Girls, Richard Wiseman’s 59 Seconds, Ann Cleeves' Raven Black and Meg Cabot’s The Princess Diaries.
A Game of Thrones box set was also selling for £25 at 62% off, while the Kindle e-reader was also selling for £20 off at £39.99. A David Walliams six book box set was upcoming on a deal at the time of writing this piece. In the US, Amazon was offering 50% off Harry Potter books and 70% off the Divergent series complete box set, for example.
Retail analyst Nick Bubb said told The Bookseller that Prime Day was “clearly a customer acquisition tool ahead of Black Friday”, but also noted rival electrical sellers Currys and PC World also had flash days today, without requiring customers to sign up for membership.
He added: “How to get customers to pay for online delivery is a very hot topic in retailing and it will be interesting to see how well Amazon do with the free film access lure.”
Douglas McCabe meanwhile, an analyst at Enders, told The Bookseller that Prime day was also about the company securing marketshare. “Amazon's model privileges market share and so it is always deploying marketing techniques designed to grow its share of the total retail marketplace as profitably as possible,” he said. “Prime is critical for Amazon because it locks customers in through convenience and also pricing, encouraging them to spend more of their money with Amazon and less with other retailers. I suspect Prime day is about stimulating use of the service in the summer weeks, and also nudging its customers into a broader range of product categories.”
McCabe added: “You also have to understand the initiative in the context of the High Street, and not just online. Retailers are offering deep discounts at the moment, and Amazon does not want to lose share during the summer sales.”
Among the other benefits Amazon has offered Prime members recently include one-hour delivery service in London, next day 'free' delivery on thousands of items and access to Amazon Instant Video.
Christopher North, Amazon UK's managing director, said customers could “expect us to add further benefits and features to this great (Prime) service over time.”
On Black Friday last year, Amazon said it sold 5.5m items in the UK, or 64 products per second.