Amazon’s not waiting to get into the holiday spirit.
This story first appeared in the October 31, 2014 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
In what amounted to the first shot in a promotional war, the $74 billion e-commerce giant said it would start its holiday price cuts on Saturday with a countdown to Black Friday featuring “even more deals, all day, every day.”
“This year, we will have more than 15,000 hand-selected, limited-time promotions on hot products, including new early-access deals for Prime members on many Lightning Deals from Amazon.com and daily sales events on MyHabit,” said Steve Shure, vice president of worldwide marketing at Amazon.
The Web site will offer two deals of the day through Dec. 22.
Amazon is known to be ultraaggressive in every way, with founder Jeff Bezos repeatedly shrugging off steep losses to drive market share. But the company isn’t necessarily sharpest on price.
A Kantar Retail pricing study looking at a basket of 53 branded goods during the back-to-school season found Amazon was 12 percent more expensive than Wal-Mart’s Supercenters and 17 percent more expensive than walmart.com.
Wal-Mart is looking to protect its reputation as price leader.
“Amazon, in contrast, has built its mission around the customer, seeking to be competitive on price yet win through its vast assortment and focus on convenience,” said Anne Zybowski, vice president with Kantar Retail. “As shoppers increasingly incorporate digital and e-commerce into their purchase decisions, retailers are adopting more-nuanced approaches that go beyond low price.”
Product is also a big part of the equation. Although there doesn’t seem to be an “It” item for the holiday so far, Amazon did point to some broad categories it expects to be hot:
• Fashion looks with sparkle and shine, including beaded, metallic and embellished dresses, sweaters and skirts.
• Items tied to “Frozen,” “Star Wars” and “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.”
• Retro everything, from classic toys such as Lincoln Logs to throwback men’s sneakers.
• Wearable tech for kids and adults, including the LeapFrog LeapBand and Samsung Galaxy Gear.
Amazon also noted that mobile is growing in importance and that, last year, more than half its customers shopped on the go.
The company, which is set to open a store on 34th Street in Manhattan, is trying to get its products to shoppers quicker through same-day delivery in 12 metro areas, including Dallas, Los Angeles, New York City, Philadelphia, San Francisco and Washington, D.C.