Amazon Prime Day 2021: What Your Brand Needs to Know to Maximize Success

Ryan Faist

Ryan Faist, Channel Key

May 27, 2021

The countdown is on to the most anticipated online shopping event of the year: Amazon Prime Day. While no official dates have been announced, Amazon has confirmed that Prime Day 2021 will take place “late in Q2”, which means the retail giant is likely to reveal a June timeline any day now. In the meantime, here’s everything your brand needs to know about what to expect and how to prepare for this year’s mega sale.

Prime Day 2021 Growth Potential

If the past six years are any indication, Prime Day 2021 will generate billions in sales over the course of 48 hours. The question is: exactly how much? Each year, the two-day shopping extravaganza has outperformed prior events. In 2020, customers purchased $10.4 billion worth of goods on Prime Day, up 45.2% from $7.16 billion in 2019. Third-party sellers (most of which are small and medium-sized businesses) enjoyed a 60% YoY increase in sales. It’s important to note that last year’s event took place in October instead of the usual July timeframe, which leveraged the purchasing power of early holiday shoppers. Still, despite much of the country on lockdown, Prime Day 2020 performed higher than analysts had expected. As for Prime Day 2021, nobody knows for sure just how much customers will spend. That said, as we will explain in the next section, there’s reason to be optimistic.

Consumer Spending Is on the Rise

While $10.4 billion is certainly a high benchmark – especially for a non-holiday shopping season event – a few key factors will likely support strong sales during Prime Day 2021. First, the elephant in the room. Although many people are exhausted from talking about COVID-19, the pandemic is still impacting daily life. In fact, it may even help sales during Prime Day. Both Bloomberg and S&P Global have recently reported the vaccination rollout has ignited consumer spending, with U.S. retail sales growing 51.2% year-over-year in April. Bloomberg Economics calls this revenge spending, defined as the intentional splurging on retail goods and services that customers likely went without for most of 2020. If this trend continues, the timing of this year’s Prime Day will coincide with a motivated nation of customers who are eager to buy. That’s good news for all brands on Amazon.

Prime Membership Continues to Grow (So Does Amazon)

Another factor that impacts Prime Day performance is the current number of Prime members, which continues to grow. In its First Quarter Results Report released in April, Amazon announced there are now more than 200 million paid Prime members worldwide. Obviously, the higher this number climbs, the greater the sales potential for member-only events like Prime Day.

It’s also important to consider the overall growth of Amazon itself. While many businesses struggled during the pandemic, 2020 was quite a year for Amazon due to the surge in online shopping. According to consulting firm McKinsey & Company, e-commerce experienced 10 years of growth in just 90 days during 2020. As the largest and most powerful online marketplace, Amazon benefited the most from this shift. To no surprise, the company capitalized on the growing popularity of e-commerce by adding new benefits and services for both sellers and customers, including the following:

  • Amazon continued to invest in fast, free, and convenient delivery for customers. In the U.S., Same-Day Delivery is free on orders over $35 on over three million items in select cities. This is in addition to Free Same-Day Delivery on millions of items in thousands of cities and towns across 47 major U.S. metro areas, plus over ten million items available for Free One-Day Delivery coast to coast.
  • Amazon introduced a Prime prescription savings benefit that offers discounts at more than 60,000 participating pharmacies in the U.S., including Amazon Pharmacy.
  • Prime Wardrobe, Amazon’s “try before you buy” offering, expanded its selection and launched new innovations for customers, including the ability to chat live with Amazon Stylists for personalized recommendations and trial items recommended by their favorite fashion influencers and websites.
  • Amazon announced that millions of Prime members now have access to Key In-Garage Grocery Delivery in more than 5,000 cities and towns in the U.S., enabling them to enjoy free, contactless, and secure in-garage delivery of grocery orders from Whole Foods Market and Amazon Fresh.

Ensuring Your Brand’s Success on Prime Day 2021

While all signs point to a great Prime Day 2021 in terms of customer shopping, brands need to work hard to ensure their own individual success. With more than 2.5 million active sellers, the competition on Amazon is fierce – especially during Prime Day. With this in mind, the first step to a successful event is to determine if a Prime Day promotion is right for your brand.

Remember, this is the biggest shopping event on the largest e-commerce marketplace in the U.S. It takes time and resources to stand out from other sellers. Even then, there’s no guarantee you will hit a home run. It’s prudent to examine previous Prime Days to understand what items sold well and what items didn’t. The most sought-after products typically fall under three main categories: 1) high-search items like electronics and devices, 2) mass-volume products that consumers need regularly, and 3) hot-ticket items.

Unfortunately, the latter is difficult to predict. In 2020, iRobot Roomba Robot Vacuums, LifeStraw Personal Water Filters, and Lego Star Wars Stormtrooper Helmets were a few of the top sellers. The point is: not all promotions on Prime Day are successful. If your product portfolio does not include items similar to those that have performed well in past Prime Day events, it might be wiser to save your resources for the holiday season.

The Essential 3-Phase Prime Day Advertising Strategy

Once you know what products you want to promote, it’s time to execute the three-step advertising strategy that is designed to maximize traffic and conversions during each phase of Prime Day:

  • Phase One: Promote Your Deals & Brand to Customers Researching Products
    The lead-up to Prime Day is the time to showcase the value of your promoted products and brand to customers who are actively researching products. This will help make your promoted products and deals even more discoverable and increase conversions on the day of the event. You can also use this time to optimize your campaign inputs, such as audiences and keyword strategies, so that your campaigns are running at maximum performance on Prime Day.
  •  Phase Two: Convert Brand-Aware Shoppers Who Are Ready to Purchase
    Customers are ready to purchase on Prime Day because they know the event does not last long. This is the time to utilize additional marketing levers (which we will discuss in the next chapter) to help maximize conversions among audiences that have already been exposed to your ads. For example, you can remarket to audiences that visited your product detail pages before Prime Day to stay top of mind on the day of the event.
  • Phase Three: Re-Engage Your Audiences at Scale to Maximize Sales
    Brands often enjoy a “halo effect” after Prime Day ends. According to Adobe Digital Insights, retailers experienced up to a 50% increase in sales in the days following previous Prime Day events. To maximize sales during this time, promote complementary products to your existing audiences or reach new audiences who didn’t purchase your products during Prime Day.

Prime Day Marketing Levers that Generate the Most Sales

Distinguishing your brand on Amazon during Prime Day requires an aggressive marketing and advertising strategy. Fortunately, Amazon provides a robust suite of tools to drive customers to your listings, maximize conversions, and increase sales. Below are three of the most powerful Amazon promotions that can elevate sales during Prime Day (note: there are many more):

  • Amazon Lightning Deals
    A Lightning Deal is a promotion in which a limited number of discounts are offered on an item for a short period of time. Lightning Deals display a countdown ticker, which establishes a sense of urgency. Sellers can apply for these promotions via their Seller Central dashboard. While the competition is high on Prime Day, Lightning Deals typically provide a significant sales boost for popular and top-selling items.
  • Amazon Deal of the Day
    A Deal of the Day is an item that is discounted for one day only. These are displayed on the Deals page, which is one of the most popular pages on Prime Day. To be eligible, you must be a Professional Seller with at least five Seller Feedback Ratings per month and an overall rating of at least 3.5 stars. While there is no guarantee that your deal will run, applying for this promotion on several of your top-selling products can lead to a boost in orders should your deal be selected by Amazon.
  • Amazon Coupons
    Similar to the coupons you likely receive in the mail, Amazon coupons provide a discount on select items. Since shoppers want the best deals on Prime Day, using Coupons can be an effective way to distinguish your products by offering additional savings. For example, Channel Key ran a 20% Off Coupon for a client in the Toys & Games category during Prime Day 2020, which improved conversions by 22%. Coupons are a great way to boost sales on both slow-moving and top-selling items.

Channel Key Takeaway:

As the most important e-commerce event of the year, Amazon Prime Day is also the most competitive. As mentioned earlier, shoppers spent more than $10 billion on Prime Day in 2020. Even if this year’s event doesn’t set a new sales record, it will certainly be a lucrative 48 hours for brands that compete effectively. One of the easiest ways to ensure your brand’s performance during Prime Day is to partner with a recognized Amazon agency. With a roster of over 40 clients, Channel Key routinely helps our brand partners break sales records before, during, and after Prime Day by implementing proven strategies and tactics. To learn more about how Channel Key can help increase sales for your business on Amazon, contact us today for a free consultation.


Channel Key is a full-service channel management marketplace consulting agency that has helped generate nearly $500M in Amazon sales for brands around the world. Complete 360-degree services include marketplace strategies, content development, marketing and advertising, catalog management, marketplace and fulfillment setup, ongoing consulting, and much mo

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