With the fifth annual Prime Day scheduled to kick off on Monday, July 15, here's a bit of my experience. I'll be the first to admit that I was disappointed by the first and second Amazon Prime Day. The Internet exploded with much-justified outrage after each one, and I was part of the mob. Amazon's first Prime Day was basically a garage sale, with too many items to choose from and not enough inventory. It was clunky, confusing, difficult to navigate, and frustrating.
The few deals I did want to buy sold out within seconds. I was disappointed, partially because I hadn't secured a slew of packages, but mostly because I expected more from the supersized retailer. The second year was slightly better, but more of the same. I didn't make a single purchase on Prime Day 2015 or 2016.
In 2017, Amazon learned from its mistakes. I was fully prepared and bracing myself for more discounted refurbished 20th-century tech and overpriced dog food bowl mats, but I was pleasantly surprised. The interface was streamlined, and the deals were better. Price cuts spanned more categories, and the ability to "watch" a deal via Amazon's app made me feel like I wasn't missing out. Amazon also offered better Alexa exclusives, more enticing countdown deals, and even hosted giveaways during the whole shebang. Amazon devices were heavily discounted, too – the Echo Dot was actually the best-selling item across the whole website. Last year on Prime Day, I spent $58 on $120 worth of stuff. Going from not shopping at all to placing 6 separate orders throughout the day, you could say I had warmed up.
It wasn't just me that was impressed, either. Prime Day 2017 was the most successful day in Amazon's history, even outselling every Black Friday and Cyber Monday. About 53 million Americans purchased something from Amazon last Prime Day.
So what changed? Personally, last year there were more items that I wanted but didn't necessarily need. A ring I'd been eyeing, some cute summer clothes, an upgraded cat carrier... none of these items are something I'd wait in line for on Black Friday, but thanks to Prime Day, I was able to treat myself without spending my entire paycheck. Sure, you can score great deals on tech during the event, from consoles to phones to TVs, but Amazon Prime Day is also the perfect opportunity to gift yourself something small at a price that's even smaller. There's a hodgepodge of thousands of items, which means there's something for everyone.
In 2018, Amazon Prime Day had a rough start. Customers everywhere became familiar with the Dogs of Amazon, AKA the puppers that show up when a page on the site is broken. For the first few hours of the sale, one could do nothing but helplessly refresh and hope that the next link would load. Thankfully, after a bit, Amazon recovered smoothly and offered deal upon deal that made the wait worthwhile. As an added bonus, the fiasco from 2018 likely means that Amazon will try extra hard to make Prime Day 2019 a fantastic experience. Mistakes happen, but in this case, it's likely that as a result, this year's sale will be the biggest and best yet.
If the past few years are any indicator, Amazon Prime Day is just going to keep getting bigger and better. Will there be products you could not possibly care less about? Yep, you betcha. Isn't that the case for any sale, though? That's the thrill of the hunt.
In the statistically unlikely event that not a single one of Amazon's hundreds of thousands of Prime Day deals catches your eye, guess what? You're still in luck. Basically, every major retailer is going to have a massive sale in order to compete. Target, Best Buy, Walmart, Buydig, eBay and more have all made moves to stay relevant during Amazon's Prime Day sales in the past. Since Prime Day gets better and better, competing retailers have been forced to up the ante as well.
If you want to turn up your nose at Prime Day's deals, go ahead. That means more discounts for the rest of us.
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