Amazon Prime Day is in full swing and with it comes all the fun of bargain hunting, weird and wonderful deals and, of course, disgruntled shoppers throwing shade on social media.
Last year the mighty Amazon turned 20. And to celebrate this it manufactured Amazon Prime Day, a 24-hour shopping event designed to rival Black Friday and reserved for dues-paying Amazon Prime members.
Prime Day offers substantial discounts and more than 100,000 deals for Prime members. It also makes a lot of money for the online giant. This year Amazon is also offering a free 30-day trial Prime membership to try to entice even more sign-ups.
Last year’s inaugural event generated massive sales for Amazon and its third-party sellers. Amazon sold more units during last year’s event than it did on Black Friday 2014, which at the time was its biggest Black Friday ever. Prime sign-ups also peaked on the day before the event.
Despite Amazon having a happy birthday, many of its customers were none-too happy. The event was roundly criticised by shoppers, with complaints including products selling out too quickly, difficulty checking out and deals being offered on weird and obscure products rather than the hot-selling items shoppers wanted.
But what 2015’s Prime Day lacked in range and value, it made up for in entertainment. Disgruntled shoppers took to social media, with hashtags like #PrimeDayFail and #unhappyPrimeDay trending and customers likening the event to a garage sale and venting their disappointment.
While Amazon has been spruiking its deals this year, it appears to have learned from last year’s debacle and is actively pushing its “Weird and Wonderful” deals to try turn last year’s negative social media chatter into a positive.
And it appears to be working. While hashtags like #PrimeDayFail are trending, they are only gaining a fraction of the traction they did last year, according to CNBC.
With Prime Day still in progress, software company ChannelAdvisor has stated that by early afternoon, Prime Day revenues were roughly in line with what they were last year. However, ChannelAdvisor’s data only covers the 3,000-odd merchants it helps sell over Amazon.
It has not been all smooth sailing for Amazon. Early in the day there were reports of customers being unable to add items to their cart. The problems were resolved by late morning.
Other shoppers reported finding Prime Day deals that were actually more expensive than Amazon’s other listings for the same product.
By later afternoon, an Amazon spokesperson said that Prime members were shopping at “record levels”.
Unlike last year, sales have been spread across a range of high-end and in-demand products including smartphones, wearables, smart-home devices like the Amazon Echo, audio equipment, kitchenware and more.
But the weird and wonderful is still in full effect.
In the week leading up to Prime Day, other retailers have taken the opportunity to try to snatch some of Amazon’s sales. Earlier this week Wal-Mart began offering free shipping with no minimum order value, as well as cutting prices on a range of in-demand products.
“We heard some customers might be waiting all the way until next Tuesday to save online. At Wal-Mart, customers don’t have to wait to save money,” a Wal-Mart spokesman said.
Wal-Mart is also running banners on its website advertising products and deals “at or lower than Amazon’s prices.”
Other retailers are getting in on the action, with brands like J.C. Penney, Kohl’s and Newegg all running sales or events to coincide with Prime Day.