By: Michelle Hillenbrand, Principal, Strategic Consulting, Advisors Plus Consulting, PSCU
While the outlook for a robust holiday shopping season is looking bleak, especially for in-store purchases, Amazon is doing its best to capitalize on early holiday spending by launching its Prime Day shopping deals on October 13-14. This annual event has traditionally been held in July, so the change to October is certainly a new twist. If your credit union has not prepared for the great discount opportunities that Prime Day offers your cardholders, there is still time.
During COVID-19, online shopping has become the norm for everything, from groceries to car tires. In August, Google reported that 25% of shoppers went online to buy something they would normally purchase in a store. Online shopping is no longer just a trend – it has become a necessity. Capturing the elusive Amazon card-on-file position during Prime Day could be as easy as helping your cardholders navigate the fast-and-furious 48-hour online shopping blitz.
Credit unions can play a valuable role in Prime Day by arming their cardholders with the knowledge they need to maximize savings and win big during this promotion period. Simply sharing these quick nuggets with your members via your communications channels can provide an added boost for your credit or debit cardholder spending.
Prime Day Tips for Your Cardholders
- Prime Day is exclusive to Amazon Prime customers. If your cardholders are not already Prime members, they can take advantage of Amazon’s free 30-day Prime trial offer to shop the sales. Amazon allows trial members to cancel before the trial period ends to avoid the membership fee, as well as the option to cancel their Prime membership online in the “Manage Prime Membership” section found in the account settings. If your cardholders want to avoid the higher-priced $119 annual Amazon membership, Walmart offers a cheaper alternative for $98 per year. Walmart Plus deals begin on October 11 and run through October 15.
- There is a difference between Amazon “Lightning Deals” and “Spotlight Deals.” Lightning Deals only last for a few hours or even a few minutes. If you miss a Lightning Deal, then you can join the wait list. If a Lightning Deal sits in an Amazon Prime member’s shopping cart for more than 15 minutes, then Amazon will delete it and your cardholder can still take advantage of the offer. For Spotlight Deals, cardholders should go to “Today’s Deals.” These daily deals are a great opportunity for money-saving holiday purchases on everything from electronics to fashion. Spotlight deals usually last longer and have more inventory available.
- If cardholders are looking for specific items or want to shop by price, they can set deal reminders on their mobile device. They also have the ability to get a sneak peek at Prime Day deals and then set reminders to shop for those deals.
- Amazon Alexa is going to play a big role in Prime Day this year. The voice-controlled virtual assistant is offering some deals that will not be available online. Cardholders can ask, “Alexa, what are your deals?” and it will provide a verbal review of each product on an Amazon Echo device. If cardholders have an Amazon Echo Show smart display, they can scroll through the offers and add them to their cart.
- Amazon is currently running a “Spend $10, Get $10” pre-Prime Day promotion that runs through October 12. If you are an Amazon Prime member and spend $10 on items sold at selected small businesses, you will receive a $10 credit in your Amazon store account. Amazon applies the $10 credit to the account for shopping during Amazon Prime Days. To find the participating small businesses, simply search “support small.”
- For cardholders who are at a loss on what to buy this holiday season and want to avoid the whole buy-and-return cycle, they could check out Amazon Live for helpful gift ideas and product information. Similar to QVC or the Home Shopping Network, the live streaming service features shows about products available for sale on Amazon. One of the additional benefits is that cardholders can see full video previews and catch the full product commentary.
- Credit unions could also recommend cardholders try camelcamelcamel.com, a free price tracker tool that provides price-drop alerts and price history charts for items they are interested in, helping cardholders compare and save when shopping on Amazon.
Most importantly, credit unions should not forget to remind cardholders that they have a set of core benefits that come with their card. If they have a low rate, or can receive rewards points or cash back, remind them that those benefits add up. Cardholder awareness of their benefits will help maintain card usage all year long and reduce your credit union’s reliance on one-time or seasonal promotions.
Michelle Hillenbrand-Whale is a principal consultant with the credit card practice at Advisors Plus. Michelle advises credit unions on card marketing best practices, portfolio growth strategies, profitability, and remaining competitive in today’s market. With Michelle’s decades of experience in credit card marketing, comes a solid reputation for creating targeted promotions that produce positive measurable results.