Deal Days: Anticipating the Retail Rush

Big Prime Deal Days are around the corner, Target Circle Week is already in progress (ending 10/7), and the PR machine for big ticket items and sales is in full swing. The holiday canary in the coal mine is no longer just the candy aisle offering Halloween selections as early as August, it’s the ramp up to Q4 sales and the associated prep that comes with it.

After a successful summer of deals and events, big retailers are back in a big way to juice the shopping cycle. The latest monthly data on inflation rates saw a rise meaning that the cost of items continues to rise due to supply chain interruptions, various economic factors, and just general ability of consumers to spend. Employment numbers are stable, so people feel free to spend on larger ticket items such as travel, automobiles, and general merchandise, despite the price increases seen throughout retail categories. However, as we have seen with prior big sale timeframes, they are looking for deals.

In looking at our partner research on holiday shopping trends, we’ve seen that now through November is a discovery time period. Consumers are planning, researching, and viewing reviews and promotions as they prep for the perfect gift. Similarly, online, consumers are doing their research and prepping to purchase, but on their terms. They are looking for promotions, watching price movement and are ready to get good value for money.

Particularly on Amazon, gifting time periods in the run to Holiday are an average of 11 days of consideration, for past Prime Days it has been only one day. The combination of a Prime Deal Day within the Q4 holiday timeframe means we will be closely watching category sales, overall sales, pricing metrics as well as overall spread of sales between retailers in the next few weeks. In my opinion, it will serve as a gauge of the success of Cyber5 and brands may want to consider their messaging strategies based on availability of product or deal timing.

Brands should take note of some of the key learnings from this Prime Day as they carry momentum into the holiday shopping season, including:

  • Make Your Presence Known: When operating in a category facing private label competition, it's crucial to create Masterbrand-style campaigns that set your brand apart and effectively communicate the value you bring.

  • Leverage Buy Now Pay Later: With a growing number of consumers exploring affordability options during the discovery phase, it's essential to concentrate your efforts here and craft brand-centric messaging strategies.

  • Align Deals with Promotional Spend: On Prime Day, the average discount for 'good' deals was approximately 20%, and this drove enough volume to justify the promotional spend. When evaluating your thresholds, consider the success of 'sandwiching' couponing with Prime exclusive details – utilize the data and insights gained when planning relevant promotions.

  • Level Up the Shopping Experience: Amazon really elevated the shopping experience this Prime Day. Use those tools and manage your customer engagement to drive CRM and loyalty messaging and deal notifications. And don’t forget to reward your loyalists first in a deal-searching, yet spendy economy!

  • Lean into Key Categories: Consumers have shown us that they are willing to splurge on key categories such as food, travel and apparel. Look for partnerships or media integrations and targeting that align your messaging with luxury or splurge-worthy options for the right demographic.

Keep an eye on the following in the coming week: content optimization, promotional stacking, emerging CRM strategies, and search strategies for high-traffic holiday categories. I will be closely monitoring key Prime Day categories, including tools, electronics, and home essentials, as well as the more traditional holiday categories like toys, luxury beauty, electronics, and wireless products. I believe that Big Prime Deal Days will set the stage for a successful start to Q4.

This article was originally published in MediaPost.