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Shots Fired: Retailers Take Aim at Amazon Prime Day

By Published on .

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Amazon may have invented it, but other retailers are cashing in on Prime Day. In advance of the shopping discount period Amazon christened Prime Day two years ago -- falling on July 11 this year -- eBay is rolling out a series of ads urging consumers to give its site a second look for the best deals. In one, Amazon Prime is clearly called out: A male newscaster looks distraught as a voiceover says, "You thought you had a prime deal, but did you check eBay?"

Suzy Deering, chief marketing officer for North America at San Jose, Calif.-based eBay, said the new spots function as a more value-driven push following the ecommerce company's rebranding campaign, "Fill Your Cart With Color," which debuted last month. The effort from 72andSunny "fits relevantly into the time frame when consumers are looking for deals," she said, noting that Prime Day "stimulates the market across the board during this week."

EBay's website was also throwing shade on Monday. "Their Prime Deal Is Our Everyday Deal," read one banner.

Deering said the new spots, which are all 15 seconds in length, will run on TV, in movie theaters, in digital media and on social media. Each commercial showcases a clip that went viral, like Bethenny Frankel from "The Real Housewives of New York" tearing up, or a little boy crying, and repurposes it as a reaction of not checking eBay for a lower price.

It's a smart strategy by eBay, according to retail experts, who said Amazon has done the heavy lifting of creating a shopping holiday during a typically slow spending season before the back-to-school rush. Other competitors of Seattle-based Amazon, such as Best Buy and Walmart, are currently featuring deals on electronics and home appliances including the Google Home device. Amazon's Echo is selling for $89.99, or half its regular price, as a key offering.

"Amazon Prime to some extent is lifting all the boats -- it's putting people in the mood to shop and creating a retail event completely from scratch," said Jaysen Gillespie, VP of analytics and data science in the Los Angeles office of Paris-based Criteo, a performance marketing tech company.

Major ecommerce sites excluding Amazon saw a 15% increase in visits on Prime Day last year -- July 12 -- and the day after, compared with four weeks earlier, according to analysis from Criteo. The firm also found that the number of transactions at those sites increased 45% over the same period, Gillespie noted.

"While it is Prime Day, that Prime halo effect, in conjunction with the competitive response that retailers are taking, is driving a lot more sales," he said.

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