Amazon is celebrating its 20th anniversary with “Prime Day”, July 15th. According to the company’s VP of Amazon Prime, “Prime Day is a one-day only event filled with more deals than Black Friday, exclusively for Prime members around the globe.”
Sounds a bit like Alibaba’s annual Singles Day doesn’t it? According to Alibaba, 2014 Singles Day was a record breaking one. Check out some of the stats:
- Generated over $9.0 billion in sales
- 278 orders placed
- About 200 million packages
- Transactions occurred in more than 200 countries with Hong Kong, Russia and the US leading this group
While it’s unlikely the upcoming Prime Day will reach these kinds of stats, it is creating a buzz and its ramifications could be huge. Prime Members in the US, UK, Spain, Japan, Italy, Germany, France, Canada and Austria will be able to take advantage of savings on Amazon’s website beginning midnight, July 15th. Not a member? no worries, Amazon is offering interested folks to sign up for free, 30-day trial membership and gain access to all of the deals, then cancel before the trial is up.
So, besides celebrating an important milestone, why is Amazon doing this? One of the main reasons is that Amazon’s competition is growing and catching up with it. A few months ago, Walmart announced its $50-a-year Shipping Pass, similar to Amazon Prime. When it is officially launched, it will include three-day shipping of more than a million products. However, it will come with none of the extra bells and whistles Amazon Prime offers.
Ebay introduced its eBay+ in Germany for about $17 to $22 a year, it offers fast delivery and free returns. Selected vendors are participating in the program, and it’s aimed at the site’s heaviest German users.
But it’s Alibaba that Amazon needs to be wary of if it wants to succeed globally. Alibaba has been vocal of late that it plans to emphasize its global push. It recently consolidated its Asian dominance by investing further in Singapore Post for logistics/delivery purposes. Amazon is investing heavily in India with fulfillment centers and has also just recently expanded further into Mexico. However, both companies have had trouble successfully expanding globally which may lead one to question if the future of e-commerce will remain regional-focused.
As Amazon battles on, the couriers, I would imagine, are preparing for quite a delivery bonanza. Among the huge benefits for Prime members is free 2-day delivery and in some locations, free same day delivery.
Couriers throughout the US, Canada and Europe will benefit with volume gains. Here in the US, the US Post Office could be the biggest winner but UPS, FedEx and the Regionals will also likely see some benefit. In the UK, while the Royal Mail and such couriers as Hermes and Yodel will see volume increases, it will be Amazon’s own delivery service that will likely be at the forefront of attention. In 2014, Amazon expanded its UK network and introduced its same-day delivery service called Pass my Parcel which is free for Amazon Prime members. This service could see volume gains as a result of Prime Day.
But what to be particular mindful of is the volume increase. If this indeed proves to rival “Black Friday” will couriers be able to manage not only this extra volume but also be able to deliver within 2 day, or for some, same day?
So, stay tune and let’s see how Prime Day 2015 plays out. Will buyers flock to the website to take advantage of great deals? will couriers be ready? Watch this space later this week to read what happens.