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5 Business Lessons from Amazon Prime Day

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Amazon’s annual Prime Day took the world by storm on July 16th, and as always it offered a mix of excitement, frustration, and seven figures in sales. But one thing is certain: there is a lot we can learn from Amazon’s Prime Day success. We may even be able to apply some of what we learn in our business endeavors. Let’s dive in and take a look at five key takeaways from this year’s event and what we can learn from Amazon’s big annual sales extravaganza.

Make sure your servers can keep up

Prime Day started at 3:00 pm Eastern, Noon Pacific this year. Within moments, Amazon’s servers buckled under a load of millions of people shopping at the same time. While some technical difficulties can be expected, Amazon’s error pages became a joking point on Twitter as users mused that they got more dogs from Amazon (dogs are featured on the error pages) than products.

Lightning deals are the biggest frustration point, as those are limited time deals for a limited sales quantity. Lightning Deals happen all the time, but when your servers are down on Prime Day, one of your biggest shopping days of the year, you might need to fire your IT department. It is surprising the issues were so widespread, as Amazon’s AWS is perhaps the most prominent online infrastructure provider in the world.

Building hype works

I read an article early on Prime Day that explained how Jeff Bezos keeps checking items off of his bucket list, the latest being creation of an annual holiday. Prime Day got coverage on virtually all major media outlets, and people were paying attention. The server problems stemmed from a massive Prime Day success. Millions of customers beating down your virtual doors to get in is a good problem to have.

While the sales take place during a one day period, the process of promoting Prime Day happens year round. We can all be certain that on Prime Day, Amazon leaders were in a war room meeting making sure it all ran smoothly. But ahead of the big day, they spent countless hours preparing ahead of time. If you prepare right, market right, and build up customer demand, you will have a much bigger success on your big launch day.

Upsells work best on your most loyal customers

Turning a good customer into a great customer is a time-tested strategy. While you can’t turn every existing customer into a repeat customer, when you can bring customers back, again and again, you have more significant opportunities to sell a broader range of products and services. With Amazon Prime, Amazon knows just who to target.

You may be able to build similar membership, frequent customer, or repeat customer rewards into your business model. While we are not all large retail stores, we can often apply some of the same strategies in other sales experiences.

Cross promote

Upselling and cross-promotion go hand in hand, and Amazon is expert at both. Every time you open a Prime Day deal, you’re greeted with similar products, alternate products, sponsored products, and products based on your browsing history. Amazon puts virtually every square inch of real estate to good use selling other services shoppers may want.

And when you check out more exciting products based on your recent purchase history, or related products you may want after this purchase. If you have ever shopped at Amazon, you get the point.

Offer something people really get excited about

Prime Day only works because Amazon offers products people want in an exciting way. Discount Instant Pots, low priced AmazonBasics kitchen wear, and home automation tools were just a small selection of Prime Day’s biggest sales. But if you do a quick Google search, you may find that people love products in those categories. By selling what people love at a low price, Amazon can build year-round brand loyalty.

You might see this in your grocery store every time you buy milk or bread. Some products sell on a very low margin, or even a small loss, to bring you in to buy other products. When you offer something people get excited about and upsell and cross promote well, you have a formula for big-time success.

Find your inner Bezos

Jeff Bezos turned a little garage-based business into one that propelled him to the wealthiest person on earth. If you can capture just a sliver of his success, you too can build a business that earns big sales. You might not make as many billions as Bezos, but if you can even get 1% of his success, you won’t have anything to complain about.

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