Do you know what July 15th is? It’s Prime Day—yes, as in Amazon Prime. The online giant will be holding its first “Amazon Prime Day” in celebration of its 20th birthday. Offering more deals than Black Friday, on top of multiple ways to win gift cards, like by sharing a photo of yourself on social media or listening to Prime Music.
Prime Day is a pretty brilliant way for Amazon to get new people to sign up for Prime accounts since in order to partake in the deals, you must be a member. Luckily for non-members, you can sign up for a trial account day-of the event (and subsequently cancel after you’ve scored your incredibly discounted television).
The hype around Prime Day has also caused Wal-Mart to join the fun, offering seasonal discounts and a drop in minimum total for free shipping.
So what does this mean aside from great deals for consumers?
While consumers are readying their bank accounts (unsure if I should be happy or sad that July 15th just happens to be the same day that we get our paychecks), the technical teams at Amazon, Wal-Mart, and any other online retailer hopping on the Prime Day bandwagon are no doubt ensuring that their infrastructure is ready for a huge boost in traffic — at least, we hope.
While Prime Day may not pull in the same crowds as its winter counterparts thanks to the winter holiday season, traffic is sure to increase. Not only must Amazon’s internal infrastructure be up to par, but any external provider they are using must be able to withstand the hyped spike. Just last year, Amazon had a CDN outage right before Thanksgiving, making it a close call for its Black Friday shoppers and proving that anything is possible right around huge sales days.
Speaking of spikes, just recently, Southwest Airlines offered massive discounts on airfare for a limited number of days. The sale had a huge response and their website suffered from its influx of customers. Bringing almost all of its operations to a slow crawl or even a halt in some cases. Personally, it took me three days to be able to finally purchase tickets from Manchester to Chicago — three days! Luckily for travelers, Southwest was able to get everything sorted out by the end of the sale and even tacked on another day so that anyone who couldn’t make a purchase during the 72-hour timeframe could still book a discounted flight.
If Southwest’s failure (or success, depending on how you want to look at their huge spike in traffic) has any indication for Amazon, it shows the power of a good promotion in driving visitors to your site. Also, since Prime Day is being compared to Black Friday, which has historically been one of Amazon’s busiest shopping days with over 5.5 million items sold on the day in 2014 alone, the importance of making sure the website infrastructure is up the challenge is as apparent as ever to ensure that a similar event does not occur.
The Future for July 15th
Time will tell how prosperous Amazon Prime Day will be. If it’s a great success, maybe we’ll see Amazon (and Wal-Mart) continue the sale next year. This could also mean a growing sales day for even more online retailers — and just one more opportunity to prove the importance of Internet performance for any site selling goods or services.