For Business

A new way to holiday for ecommerce businesses

Buy with Prime can change how you sell online during the busiest shopping season.

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The holidays are coming in fast. And merchants, shoppers—all of us—have a lot of think about. There’s shopping, gifting, traveling, cooking, hosting, and somehow finding time to take a breath despite the frenzy. Many are seeking a return to holidays-as-usual, but the truth is, we’re emerging from a dizzying three years. We’ve all had to stare down sky-high inflation, supply chain disruptions, and general turmoil. But commerce, ecommerce especially, is resilient. Brands and shoppers are finding ways to connect, whether in-person or online, and forge relationships that have meaning.

We’re finally in a post-pandemic era and some shoppers might venture into physical stores for their stocking-stuffers this holiday, but the new ecommerce norms of fast, free delivery and easy returns are here to stay. That’s evident in the data from the 2023 Future Shopper report, which found that 48% of consumers say the number-one thing they would change about online shopping would be “faster delivery.” And the average number of days shoppers are willing to wait to receive their package continues to trend downward—from 2.36 days in 2022 to 2.15 in 2023. These fulfillment expectations are even more crucial during the holidays.

The evolution of the ecommerce landscape is largely driven by shopper expectations. And those expectations only become heightened during peak moments like the holidays. Whether they are super planners, last-minute scramblers, deal hunters, or self-gifters, all shoppers want presents to arrive quickly without hassle. More than ever, shoppers want an experience built on speed, ease, and security. The challenge for online brands today is keeping up with these shifts in shopper expectations.

Deliver during the holidays

Shoppers need and expect fast delivery during this peak holiday shopping period. That’s where Buy with Prime can help. It allows any merchant with an ecommerce site to offer the shopping benefits that Prime members have come to know and love from Amazon.com, including fast, free delivery and free returns on eligible items.

It also saves merchants from the headache of fulfillment because Amazon stores, picks, packs, and ships Buy with Prime orders. It gives merchants big and small a way to streamline costs on ecommerce logistics by tapping Amazon Multi-Channel Fulfillment (MCF) to fulfill orders when their customers check out using Buy with Prime. And if merchants already use MCF to fulfill their ecommerce site orders, they can use that same pool of inventory to fulfill Buy with Prime orders.

Beyond fast, streamlined fulfillment, Buy with Prime gives merchants access to order and customer information, including email addresses, to connect directly with customers and nurture relationships. (Roughly 48% of shoppers rank email as their preferred form of brand communication.) All of this means more customer expectations are met and the resulting relationships are stronger.

And I believe we’ll see the impact of that relationship-building play out this holiday season.

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Cut through the noise

The holidays are filled with noise. Countless brands are vying for consumers’ attention in the same spaces. Shoppers are inundated with messaging on their televisions, computers, and phones, so it’s easy for them to become desensitized to that messaging. Brands are attempting to raise awareness and make an impact during a time when shoppers are sifting through an endless scroll.

Ultimately, shoppers are looking for value, trust, and convenience. Buy with Prime can help solve for all three, and our team’s marketing efforts play an important role in narrowing the gap between shoppers and ecommerce brands.

Our seasonal events provide shoppers with value by connecting them to deals on products that they can fall in love with. We got an early start to the holiday shopping season in October with Prime Big Deal Days, where Buy with Prime merchants offered Black Friday-caliber discounts to Prime members on their own sites. Formerly called Prime Early Access Sale, last year’s event saw more than 100 million items ordered from Amazon, many of them from small or midsize businesses. This year, Prime Big Deal Days and exclusive Buy with Prime discounts from brands such as Wyze, MoonJuice, and Targus contributed to more than $1 billion in savings across Prime members.

Black Friday/Cyber Monday barely needs an introduction as Amazon’s biggest shopping event with customers around the world purchasing hundreds of millions of products between Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday. Last year’s event generated more than $1 billion in sales for small businesses. And according to the National Retail Federation, a record 196.7 million Americans shopped in stores and online during the five-day holiday shopping period last year, the highest figure recorded in the past five years.

What these campaigns do is help ecommerce brands meet shoppers where they are. The holidays look different for everyone, so these curated campaigns have something for everyone, whether they’re gifting, traveling, hosting or just relaxing this season. A powerful combination of paid and organic traffic initiatives, ad placements on Amazon.com, influencer collaborations, and branding support puts brands offering Buy with Prime in front of Prime members who are eager for great deals on gifts that are shipped quickly.

We don’t turn off when the deals end either. Outside of the two campaign periods, we keep up the volume with awareness campaigns that boost the visibility of brands offering Buy with Prime and educate shoppers about Buy with Prime benefits.

These high-visibility events are an opportunity for merchants using Buy with Prime to connect with Prime members and help them discover great deals and unique products beyond Amazon.com.

Engage shoppers in a new way

Buy with Prime officially became available to all US merchants earlier this year, and the success merchants have seen from it is encouraging. Conversion uplift is a key signal we’re tracking, and Buy with Prime has been shown to increase shopper conversion by 25% on average*. Epic Water Filters even saw a 40% conversion uplift after adding Buy with Prime to its site. Customer acquisition is another key measure of success. Since adding Buy with Prime, Sherpani found that 87% of Buy with Prime orders were new customers, while HydraLyte reported that 90% of its Buy with Prime orders were new-to-brand customers. On average, merchants saw that three out of every four Buy with Prime orders were from new shoppers.**

Then, of course, there was Prime Day, which was a major stress test for Buy with Prime. It gave merchants telling insights about the value of Buy with Prime. Merchants who participated in Prime Day activities, in aggregate, experienced a 10x increase in daily Buy with Prime orders and saw an 8x increase in daily revenue from those orders during the Prime Day event period versus the month before Prime Day was announced. The multichannel co-marketing strategies that we created with brands helped to promote merchants’ deals on Amazon.com, throughout social media, email, and the web. The end result was greater brand awareness and increased traffic to popular brands across categories. One merchant participating in the Prime Day campaign referred to Buy with Prime as “rocket fuel for conversion.”

In many ways, Prime Day has given us increased confidence going into the holiday period. We’re really just at the beginning of seeing what Buy with Prime can do for ecommerce, and this holiday period will be another exciting time for both merchants and Buy with Prime.

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Keep up with shopper expectations

The exclusive deals available to shoppers who choose Buy with Prime will spread the excitement of holiday sales events beyond Amazon.com, engaging shoppers and encouraging first-time purchases. That, combined with the promise of free 1–2 day shipping, clears the way for merchants to lean into shoppers’ expectations, especially those of last-minute shoppers who are in an eleventh-hour scramble to find the perfect gift.

And when it comes to the logistics, ecommerce merchants can give themselves the gift of time back by letting Amazon take care of picking, packing, and shipping through MCF. That means more energy and resources can go into building new relationships with customers during a busy holiday season.

Again, it all comes back to expectations. As ecommerce merchants adopt Buy with Prime and Prime members become acclimated to using their Prime shopping benefits beyond Amazon, expectations will continue to change. The advent of Prime in 2005 helped popularize free two-day shipping for millions of items on Amazon.com. Fast forward to today: Shoppers now expect this as standard from merchants beyond Amazon.

A future with Buy with Prime can help make fast, free delivery and easy returns the norm for brands across the web. By giving merchants a new way to provide fast, free delivery and the trust of Prime on their own sites, we get closer to making life easier for customers. And that is a victory for everyone who shops and sells online, this holiday and beyond.

Learn how Buy with Prime can fuel your ecommerce growth.

*This data point measures the average increase in shoppers who placed an order when Buy with Prime was an available purchase option versus when it was not, during the same time period

**Data is from a sample of 14 merchants with average monthly website traffic between 10K to 1.5M. “New shoppers” means shoppers who had not made a purchase on the merchant’s site since January 1, 2021, and completed a purchase using Buy with Prime.

Sirisha Tadepalli