Amazon Prime is now ten years old in the UK, with a recent report from eMarketer suggesting that 8 million of us are members.
Kicking off today at 6pm UK time, Amazon Prime Day, the one-off sales event is the shiny key driver of Prime penetration.
What I find intriguing is that as Amazon embeds itself deeper and deeper into our lives with its unique ecosystem – to understand how we engage with content – how will this year’s Prime Day persuade us to make the right shopping choices?
A personal dive in
Twenty-four hours before Prime Day, I scanned my Amazon home page, looking for offers. Amazon’s strategy was clear; to own as much of my life and home as possible.
A large banner promoting Prime Day sits in the ‘Designed for Entertainment’ page – featuring Amazon’s hero products: Echoes, Dots, Fire TV Sticks. Not bad insight into how my family shop.
After a few recommendations, "inspired by my shopping trends", came a plethora of Amazon’s services such as Prime Now, Kindle Unlimited, Music Unlimited and Prime Video Unlimited. Followed by the top selling Dash buttons.
Amazon is intent in putting itself at the heart of how I engage with content; and it’s cleverly using Prime Day to push me deeper into its ecosystem. The more Amazon can get me to listen to books, stream music and films and chat to Alexa, the more valuable a customer I’m likely to become.
It’s show-time for Alexa
Amazon will control 70% of the voice-controlled speaker market this year, taking another huge step towards owning our entire homes and lives.
With Alexa streaming our music, turning down the heating, helping my kids with their homework, making shopping easier, providing weather and traffic updates, acting as a kitchen assistant and sometimes just being a voice in an empty room that listens, Amazon is learning more about my family than any other brand. And possibly more than me.
This year, Alexa – and voice in general – is one of Amazon’s big bets for Prime Day, as the company uses Alexa to lure us into its world. If Esquire is to be believed there are exclusive deals available only on Alexa. Voice shoppers will also have early access to some Prime Day deals two hours before general-public beginning July 10th. Alex is likely to shine brightly.
But as with all new tech – there are a few wrinkles.
Sunday afternoon saw me chatting to Alexa about Prime Day. Or trying to. Frustratingly she hadn’t been updated – ‘I’m sorry I can’t help you with that’. Evidence that not everything in the Amazon ecosystem is fully joined up yet: the online customer experience was far superior to the voice one.
What does this mean for all us in the business of brands?
Amazon is placing a lot of bets on different ways to connect with people, and it’s only a matter of time before all these strands weave together more tightly and seamlessly. And then Amazon will be even more formidable than ever.
Our take is that smart businesses strategy will consider the whole ecosystem. Burger King’s Cannes Grand Prix winner "Google Home of the Whopper" with its 15-second ad, where a Burger King server calls on Google Home to explain the Whopper via its Wikipedia entry, gets into our homes, tying tech and humour together.
My take is that the deeper tech penetrates our lives, the more channels and services link up, the stronger its global footprint, the greater the opportunity for brands to be even more relevant and add utility to consumers lives.
Back to Prime Day: this year my big tip would be: let tech do all the hard work for you:
Track deals with Alexa;
Online deals are already promoting the chance to win 100 free Echo devices if you download the audible app and listen to a book for 15 minutes;
For big-ticket items? The Amazon app tracks upcoming deals and notifies you when they’re about to begin. It also has fantastic tools such as voice-powered search and shipment tracking.
Michelle Whelan is chief executive at Geometry Global UK