Amazon Prime Day, the new made-up holiday by the marketplace giant that promised great deals for their Amazon Prime subscribers, sucks. I mean, it really sucks. The trumpeted, high-profile deals on Amazon products like the Amazon Echo went blazingly fast, leaving the rest of the slow plebes or late-comers to basically junk.
I believe Amazon can do better, and I want to believe that Amazon wants to do better. Here are some super simple ways to make Prime Day 2016 better. If there is a Prime Day 2016.
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Employ the Wish List & Order History
Amazon users who are also Prime subscribers clearly see value in paying $99 annually to take advantage of two-day shipping — it’s likely that they also keep track of what they want and what they’ve bought from Amazon, too.
I’m a Prime subscriber, and although I go on and order spontaneously, I keep a running Wish List of things I’d like to purchase on the site. These items are often “nice-to-have” and are worth buying only as presents to myself on special occasions, or to hint to loved ones during holidays.
What if, say, 24 hours before sale, you could get a special note that one of your Wish List items was about to get a deep discount? Or if the Wish List also included a little icon next to products already announced for Prime Day? Amazon should at least let its Prime subscribers know that something they’ve been watching for a long time is about to be available for a good price.
Ditto for your Order History. I make some regular purchases on Amazon, and would be thrilled to know I could stock up on Prime Day — even if it was for something silly like discounted electric toothbrush replacement heads.
Do day-of alerts
This is another no-brainer. Even if Amazon is hesitant to play its hand too early and wants to keep the items involved on Prime Day a mystery, you should at least have the option to flag a particular product and get an alert when it goes on sale during Prime Day.
This technique has really been perfected during game platform Steam’s semi-annual sales: If you see a game you like that’s already discounted but you suspect it could be found at a deeper discount later, you can just add it to your current wishlist and Steam will notify you if it goes on as Daily Deal, Midweek Madness or Weekend Deal.
This would be especially useful as new flash deals get unveiled throughout the day, and no one wants to spend their time refreshing the homepage to see if anything looks good.
Space deals out better
Look, it’s Prime Day, not the iPhone. Amazon made a big mistake in front-loading all of its great deals at midnight PST. When I woke up at 7am, deals for Amazon’s Kindle, Echo and Fire TV Stick (arguably the most enticing hardware Amazon has to offer) were either fully claimed or already over. Same for two of its major TV deals.
But as of this writing, I can still get both ‘Kingsmen’ on DVD and a leaf blower for decent discounts!
It doesn’t make any sense to debut all of the big guns at midnight, especially when the sale is just for Prime subscribers and lasts all day. Doing so leads to extreme disappointment for users who were either not in the know or felt on the fence about buying a product.
Space the deals out and give more people a chance to pick up something actually worthwhile.
Make the interface not garbage
This is maybe the most aggravating aspect of Prime Day as it stands right now: the interface.
Literally how am I supposed to navigate this?
I am restricted to seeing five random on-sale items at a time, and this is the first page of 262 pages! If I click into a specific department while logged in, I can narrow it down to items sold within it. But it’s still practically unusable in places like Electronics, where there are 96 pages of sale items.
If you try searching for a product to see whether its included in today’s deals, you’ll be extra confused. See that $139 Anova immersion circulator? I tried to search for it on Amazon directly.
The results showed it priced at $179, which I thought was weird because it’s the same exact product and I’m logged into Prime. But when I clicked into the item’s page:
This is stupid.
See, the above wouldn’t be so bad if Amazon used the tools it already had at its disposal — namely, my order and browsing history — to know exactly what kind of items I might actually purchase. Amazon already recommends items I might like, or ones based on previous items I’ve viewed, so why not show a similar algorithm on Prime Day?
You shouldn’t have to wade through granny panties, beard trimmers, and vitamins to get to the things you want.
The reason that Amazon Prime subscribers stay subscribers is because they like being treated well by Amazon. I had the mistaken belief that Amazon would actually treat its Prime customers well on Prime Day. But at face value, it looks like a combination of a rapid offloading of random warehouse stock and a cash grab at potential new Prime members who sign up today and forget to cancel after the trial.
Prime Day wants to be “Bigger than Black Friday” — the malignant American shopping holiday after Thanksgiving where Americans line up to trample over each other for discounted vacuums at Wal-Mart. But in the middle of July, we have no impetus for going on a mad purchasing spree. We’re not going to gobble up everything in sight. I think Prime Day should have more than just a handful of decent deals.
Or it should just change its name to Amazon Garage Sale.