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EDITORIAL Assessing the Amazon Prime Day effect

Amazon's PXT division comes up with workplace solutions. Image courtesy of Amazon

In today’s InternetRetailing newsletter we’re reporting as Amazon Prime Day gets underway. As always, there have been plenty of predictions for what this event will mean. Forecasts include that the members-only discount event will encourage other retailers to compete by cutting prices  while also kickstarting Christmas shopping. Is that what’s happening? We’ve taken a look at what the RXUK Top500 Elite and Leading retailers are doing and have found that Amazon is the only Elite retailer to be running a big event. Some Leading retailers are doing so, while Currys PC World and Debenhams, both Top50 retailers, are the only ones that we’ve spotted running full-scale two-day discounting events. Others, including perhaps most markedly, Boots, are running discounts but not to the same extent. It seems that other retailers are competing to an extent, but very few have gone full Prime Day in their approach. 

The second question is: does Amazon Prime kickstart Christmas shopping? Figures out today from the British Retail Consortium suggest that Christmas shopping got underway in September – albeit with 40% taking place online. Online certainly seems likely to be the channel of choice for many this peak trading season. But while a greater proportion of sales will no doubt take place online, the question remaining is whether sales will be as high as they were last year – or whether uncertainty around Covid-19, local lockdowns and Brexit will take their toll. 

Today we report on warnings that store-based retail staff are likely to suffer anxiety around the new approach to local lockdowns, as Aldi expands its Deliveroo trial, and as French Connection reports on the effect Covid-19 has had on its business. That may be an early reflections of research findings that today suggest shoppers plan to buy fewer luxury, fashion and beauty products in the future.

In today’s guest comment, Mark Pinnes of Flagship PR outlines some communications best practices for retailers who want to reconnect with their staff during an ongoing crisis

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