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Editor's Comment: Will Amazon Prime Day come back to bite brands?

Now in its third year, Amazon’s Prime Day has quickly become a calendar highlight for brands and consumers alike.

This year’s discounting event starts at 6pm on Monday 10 June and will last for 30 hours, available exclusively for Amazon Prime members.

At its launch in July 2015, the deals appeared of dubious quality. As I wrote in my column at the time, the first Amazon Prime Day generated quite the Twitter reaction, as many customers voiced disappointment about the quality of offers on the site.

However, in 2016 Amazon upped the ante, bringing in better and bigger deals, and orders soared by 60%. More than 1 million pairs of shoes were sold across Amazon’s platforms globally during the event in 2016. Brands that got involved included Vans, offering 50% off selected footwear, and US retailer Forever 21, offering up to 70% off selected styles.

Amazon prime day

Amazon prime day

At the time of writing, we do not yet know what fashion brands will be offering as part of Prime Day this year.

Do brands really need another day selling product at a reduced margin, when they are constantly battling against discounting? Absolutely not.

On the other hand, with the beast that is Amazon, can they afford not to be part of the mix? A recent report from ecommerce solutions provider Salmon shows a phenomenal 38% of all UK online spend is made through Amazon. Of course, that includes books and electronics, but it shows the level of engagement that the etail giant already has with its customers and its potential power should it get its fashion offer right.

Prime Day could also be used as an opportunity for retailers to clear excess stock.

The Salmon report highlighted that the majority (72%) of US consumers said Amazon is “leading the way in digital retail”, and shoppers in the UK and Belgium ranked the etailer as the market leader in ecommerce (57%). This is something that has been echoed in our Drapers Digital Awards, where Amazon has picked up the Consumer Choice award for five years consecutively.

Amazon has made it clear that it is striving to become a dominant player in the fashion market. Initiatives such as the Prime Wardrobe “try before you buy” service, which allows shoppers to try clothing on at home before they pay for it, and the launch of its own label, Find, in May this year indicate just that.

As Amazon continues to dominate the digital space and makes aggressive strides into fashion, retailers and brands must carefully consider their strategy with the etail giant. The key is to ensure that they find the balance between using the platform to drive brand awareness and audience reach without hitting margins and damaging own brand image.

 

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