Black Friday deals in July: To buy or not to buy?

And how do other retailers keep up with Amazon Prime?

July 11th marks the third annual Amazon Prime Day, a day seen by some as ”Black Friday in July,“ as Prime customers have access to tons of discounts and deals on Amazon.com.

“Prime Day is a trend we’ve seen in the marketplace: American consumers love a deal. Brands use Facebook or emails to give out discounts. They’ve essentially trained consumers to think they don’t need to buy anything until they see a deal,” said Kim Saxton, clinical associate professor of marketing at the Kelley School of Business on the IUPUI campus.

For consumers, Saxton says, make sure you’re buying what you need, not just what is on sale or what you want. Don’t make an impulse buy—because these discount days aren’t going away anytime soon.

“Consumers should be asking themselves: Is there a lower price somewhere else? Do I really need this?” Saxton explained.

“This ‘Black Friday’ in July not only increases sales for Amazon, but it also makes people more comfortable with buying a wide variety of products online. Amazon is building future business by getting people comfortable with the online process,” said Kim Donahue, senior lecturer in marketing. “People will get online and discover they have to have a Prime membership for the deals, so that is guaranteed sales for Amazon. They’re also going to see other items on sale and realize there is a wide variety they can actually purchase online.”

“Amazon also is able to track these customers and start to gather data, so their online experiences are more customized. That’s a big reason for these Prime Days, because the company is able to get more data to use in their predictive models,” said Donahue.

So can other retailers keep up?

“Others can compete, but they need to have a different customer experience,” said Donahue. “They’re not going to beat Amazon at their own game.”

“I think you’re going to continue to see the increasing use of loyalty programs with incentives aimed to trigger purchases by consumers,” said Saxton. “Retail stores have always done this with coupons. (Take Kohl’s, for example). This Amazon Prime Day or other email discounts are just digital equivalents.”