Everyone was talking about it. There were ads on TV. The buzz on social media was building. Amazon Prime Day was coming, and it was going to be bigger than Black Friday—the sale to end all sales. Consumers excitedly waited for July 15 to arrive, filling up their virtual shopping carts with all the items they expected to go on sale at midnight. And then …
The deals never came. Shoppers searched through Amazon’s website looking for the sales they had anticipated. But as they were looking for tablets, phones and fashion accessories, what they found was much different. Instead, they came across “exclusive” deals for duct tape, a VHS rewinder, a shoehorn and a bunion regulator. (Seriously? I don’t even know what a bunion regulator is.)
And as you can imagine, the social media world exploded. People likened Prime Day to a giant, mediocre yard sale, and then, the #PrimeDayFail hashtag was born. The ensuing tweets were as snarky as you might expect:
I was laughing so hard reading the #PrimeDayFail tweets that people probably thought I was crying. But through my laughter, Prime Day also made me pause and think about the value of honest communication. Regardless of the tactic you’re implementing—whether it’s a social media campaign or a massive sale—effective marketing requires upfront and honest communication.
This doesn’t mean that Amazon intentionally tried to dupe people, but as a whole, that’s what consumers perceived. They felt frustrated, as if Amazon had lured them in to sign up for its $99 per year Prime service, only to turn around and try to sell them dishwasher detergent for 20 percent off. It felt dishonest for a company that is known for its excellent customer service and loyal customer base.
But for Amazon’s part, they were extremely pleased with their “subpar yard sale,” saying Prime Day was a success with sales surpassing Black Friday 2014. But if Amazon is evaluating success from multiple angles (as it should be), it might want to take into account the sentiments of its shoppers.
Amazon Prime Day may be coming back, but I have to wonder, will its customers come back too?