Amazon’s 2023 Prime Day hit $12.7 billion in sales, an impressive new record for the giant online retail company. Those numbers might be eye-watering for us regular retail folk, but we see it as inspiration to up our game and reach for the stars. There’s lots you can learn from Amazon’s Prime Day success, and believe it or not, a lot of what they’re doing are things you can implement too.
Want to know Amazon’s secret recipe? It’s all about personalization. Before Prime Day 2022, Amazon announced that they increased personalized deal offerings by more than 400% from the previous year, resulting in customer engagement that was six times higher than non-personalized offers. That’s a giant, blinking neon sign telling you that it’s time to step up your personalization game. We’ll take you through our top 5 tips for optimizing your website the way Amazon does for Prime Day so that you’re ready to take on the looming holiday season.
Make your recommendations as specific as possible
This isn’t anything new: Retailers everywhere have been grappling with ways to personalize the online shopping experience since online shopping became a thing. So what makes Amazon’s approach stand out? The short answer: they do the most (since day one). For Prime Day 2023, Amazon offered 40 personalized deal features—a new record for them—that helped their 200+ million Prime members find the deals they wanted based on their shopping habits.
Don’t worry; we’re not suggesting that you come up with 40 different personalization features to appease your customers. In fact, that wouldn’t even be helpful for most websites, as implementing tons of new features all at once would just overwhelm site visitors. Instead, focus on one effective personalization feature at a time. We recommend starting with AI-powered recommendation lists, since it’s one of the fastest and most effective ways to help users find what they’re looking for based on their buying behavior.
The most obvious place to integrate personalized recommendations is on product pages, but if we’re taking our cue from Prime Day, let’s take a look at curated product lists on the homepage. The more you know about the user, the more personal your recommendations can get: lists of products similar to items they’ve looked at before, lists of products that complement past purchases, lists based on the categories they spend the most time browsing…the list(s) goes on. Adding these targeted suggestions right on the homepage gives users a fast entry point into their shopping journey. Test out which type of recommendation they engage with the most to make sure you’re giving them what they want.
Want some real proof that homepage recommendations really work? Check out our case study with Farmacia Morlán to read about how personalized recommendations on their mobile homepage won them a 14.67% conversion rate increase.
Let your customers show you what they want with wish lists
One of the most innovative new personalization features that Amazon implemented in time for Prime Day was an improved “Your Lists” section. The ability to create wish lists has been a customer favorite feature for years. In fact, Amazon users created over 150 million new lists in 2022 alone! For Prime Day, Amazon took full advantage of this crucial user information by automatically grouping saved items into relevant product categories. They highlighted all wish list items that went on sale for Prime Day too, making it even easier for customers to find the sales that fit their individual wants and needs. They also sent out push notifications whenever a favorite item was added to Prime Day deals, making sure users never missed out.
So we have to ask: Does your online shop have a wish list function? You should look into it! It starts with prompting site visitors to create an account, something we recommend in our handy Amazon white paper. Once you’ve integrated customer accounts, you can encourage them to create a wish list to save their favorite products or items that are currently out of stock. That way you can notify them when their wish list products are on sale or back in stock so that, just like Amazon, you’re making sure your customers never miss out on the best time to buy from you. Those notifications will come in handy especially around the coming holiday season, when shoppers will be on the hunt for a bargain.
Get personal with your promotions
Amazon knows how to make their customers feel special. They added a new program to Prime Day 2023 that gave Prime members exclusive early access to some of their most sought-after deals. These “Invite-only” deals created even more hype around some of their big-ticket items and rewarded customer loyalty. To take a page out of Amazon’s personalization playbook, let’s focus on ways you can give your customers exclusive access treatment.
Once your customers have accounts and start creating their own wish lists, you can gather more information on what their interests are, what product categories and price ranges they shop in, and much more. Based on this valuable information, you can create personalized deals that they’re most likely to engage with: Send out an exclusive link to customers who have active accounts in your shop that grants them early access to your holiday sale. Share a personalized discount code for running apparel to customers who bought running shoes from your shop in the past. Get creative! The more exclusive and personalized your promotions are, the more likely your customers will take advantage of them.
Sweat the small stuff
It might not seem glamorous, but a lot of Amazon’s Prime Day 2023 sales came from home goods and household essentials (28% and 26% respectively). In other words: the seemingly boring, everyday basics are just as important as your big-ticket items. That’s why Amazon tested a new “Buy Again” feature, which presented Prime users with a Deals roundup of products they’ve purchased before as well as similar items. Prime Day isn’t just about flatscreen TVs—lots of people are just looking for a bargain on lightbulbs.
If you have categories of products that your customers buy often (cleaning supplies, nails and screws, pet food, batteries), remind them to replenish their supply with recommendations directly in their shopping cart. Getnow boosted conversion rates by an impressive 30% when they integrated in-cart recommendations! Add a “buy again” product list to your personalized homepage to make frequent purchases easier and faster. When your customers place expensive items in their cart, offer them a 2-for-1 deal on small essentials that complement their shopping cart. There are plenty of big promotion opportunities for your featured products, but don’t forget the small stuff!
Make browsing fun and mobile
As social media has taken over the world, it’s had a huge impact on our shopping habits. Global social commerce sales are estimated to reach $1.298 billion in 2023, and about a quarter of social media users are online specifically to find products to buy. Amazon found a way to mimic platforms like Instagram to keep their customers inspired and engaged: Inspire and Shop by Interest. Inspire is an in-app mobile shopping feed full of content based on user interests, allowing them to tap on videos and photos to get more information about tagged products and add them to their shopping carts. Shop by Interest is a photo feed of products based on specific categories. Both features were used during Prime Day to present dedicated Deals feeds, giving Prime customers yet another way to browse through their favorite sale products.
Ok, we know that all sounded complicated. But here’s the takeaway for us regular retailers: Presenting your products in a pleasing, browse-friendly way keeps your customers engaged and more hungry to buy. That doesn’t mean you need to build your own version of Inspire. (In fact, you can do a lot of what it does with your brand’s Instagram and Pinterest accounts.) Instead, focus on optimizing your product and category pages to make them more shopable: Upgrade product photos, add a “quick view” feature, integrate shop-the-look bundling options, improve product descriptions, add a like button (for those wish lists!), and make sure your categories are easy to follow. Whatever you do, back up your optimization ideas with testing to make sure they’re engaging your customers.
Inspiring customers isn’t limited to classic product and category pages though. You can get even closer to Amazon’s strategy by creating engaging, Instagram-worthy content directly in your webshop. Why not build inspiration pages that present your products in a creatively curated photo series or video? You can integrate product page links so that visitors can simply click on the products they like. Speaking of product pages, this kind of creativity works on those too. You can use a bundling feature (like ours, hint hint) to suggest a list of products that complement the featured item, allowing users to automatically add them all to their shopping cart. It’s upselling dressed up as inspiration.
Experiment and keep learning
By now it should be clear: there is SO much you can do to optimize your shop and you can start right now. If you don’t remember anything else from this article, it all boils down to this: test, learn, try again. Implement something new on your website this holiday season that you’ve never done before and track your KPIs to see how it works out. Even if your new feature or promotion doesn’t perform well, your test results will give you valuable data that you can learn from and apply next time around. So get your creative ideas flowing, and let us know if you need some support—we’d love to help you push your holiday season sales to new heights!