How SMS messaging can help you create your own ‘Prime Day’

Are your sales slumping? Want to boost your numbers before the end of a quarter? Create your own holiday! Sound crazy? It's not. Here's why.

On July 15, Amazon conducted a "Prime Day," a day of special offers to celebrate both the company's 20th anniversary and the 10th year of it's premium service, Amazon Prime. The results were huge. 

No hard numbers were released by the retailer, but they confirmed that day's sales beat their numbers from this past Black Friday, a significant achievement, especially in the middle of the traditionally slumping summer. ChannelAdvisor, an independent firm which monitors third-party sales on Amazon, said that the sales figures for the day were "far higher" than those on the Monday after Thanksgiving, a traditional online sales day called Cyber Monday. They continued, saying that sales in the U.S. were 93 percent higher than on the same day in 2014 and 53 percent more in Europe.

"[Sales numbers] are impressive, considering it didn't even exist last year," Sarah O'Dea of ChannelAdvisor told The New York Times.

What's perhaps is even more significant are the amount of new Amazon Prime members that signed up as a result of the sale. Amazon Prime VP Greg Greeley told The Times that "hundreds of thousands" of new subscribers were enrolled during the sale at $99 a year each.

As it implies, Prime Day was an exclusive holiday for Amazon Prime subscribers. Launched in 2005, the $99 a year service provides customers with unlimited second day shipping of items coming from Amazon or a partner warehouse. The service originally launched at $79 per year, but was expanded as more offerings were added, such as streaming music, television and movies at no additional charge.

By providing their most loyal customers with this special sales day, not only were they able to drastically increase their overall sales, but they were able to attract new customers to the service.

"I think it's a great play. These peak events are a way to generate excitement," marketing expert Sunil Gupta told Forbes. "It's a means of creating news and buzz by coming up with your very own Black Friday out of nowhere."

How you can benefit

Not every company needs to be the giant that Amazon is in order to take advantage of this strategy. Using SMS can help companies generate buzz and create their own holiday.

The key to this whole experiment was exclusivity. Not only were these sales on a single day, but that the sales were only offered to Prime members, Amazon's most loyal and valuable customers. 

"Studies show that Prime members spend almost double the money of other customers," Gupta said. "And the conversion from search to purchase for those customers is something like four to five times higher. There is no question that Prime members are extremely important for Amazon, and it gives them huge motivation to try something like this."

As we wrote about earlier in the month, exclusive offers help improve your sales and expand your customer base. Amazon did exactly this, just on a large scale. 

Use your SMS subscriber base to your advantage. Create a sales day or weekend — but no longer than that — with discounts slightly higher than you normally would offer, and make them exclusive to your text subscribers. This will not only grow your sales, but it will improve your reach by helping you increase your opt-in numbers.

Make sure the sales matter

The one misstep that Amazon took in the sale were the items they offered in the sales, which generated a lot of negative social media buzz. While its uncertain if this will translate to a decrease if the company elects to continue the holiday next year, your business shouldn't take that chance. Make sure the sales are on items customers want.

To get your company's SMS marketing campaign started, Swift SMS Gateway offers the SMS API and gateway needed to easily leverage the speed and convenience of text messaging.