Meta: The Post Prime-Day Post-Mortem Post

This is a meta post, not an actual deal. It is the promised Post Prime-Day Post-Mortem Post, finally posted here 🙂 Please feel free to share your thoughts on Prime Day in the Comments!

Mapping the MAPs
With most of the major manufacturers going the way of MAP pricing, this presented a big opportunity for Rokinon/Samyang to offer a variety of different lenses for different mounts. With most of the bigger names sitting out, they got most of the Lensaholic attention, and getting people’s attention is half the battle for a not-as-well-known lens company.

Of what I spotted, there was the Sigma 70-200mm f2.8 lens, the Sony a6000 two-lens kit late in the day, and a Nikon D3300 bundle that wasn’t sold by Amazon itself, but a Ritz Camera bundle. Among the fixed lens cameras, there was Ricoh Theta, a GoPro early morning bundle that got sold out before I woke up, and an action camera from the Kodak name holders.

The MAP thing, favored by most consumer electronics companies these days, also helped Amazon’s own products get more of the spotlight since more famous products from other manufacturers were not participating.

The Era of the Modest Doorbuster
Amazon has gotten way too big to offer really hot doorbusters. There are simply too many shoppers paying attention. Even on Prime Day, with a smaller percentage of shoppers participating, they still numbered in the many millions. Amazon increased the lifecycle of most lightning deals on Prime Day from the usual 4-hours to 6-hours.

Many of the offers were more of the pragmatic and utilitarian slow-burn kind. Sure, there were still offers that sold out quickly, offers that spent a lot of their lifecycle in Waiting List status, and there were some technical issues for some people earlier on. It was telling that coconut oil sold out faster than a lot of consumer electronics 🙂

Amazon had a bit of a twist this time. In addition to the customary Lightning Deals, they also offered a lot of “Add to Cart” offers where you got the discount by adding to cart, but there were no countdowns and no waiting lists, and the items did not get featured as prominently. Most people are trained to look for the Gold Box and Prime Day deals.

Their presentation and organization of things is getting better visually, it’s no longer just a long list of products. They’ve been struggling with this for many years. Some were a bit on the bloated size (unnecessarily giant images on bigger desktop monitors), but overall an improvement over previous years.

The Watching feature is finally getting more useful and featured more prominently, with reliable syncing between the various Amazon platforms, desktop web, mobile web, and apps.

The Problems
For whatever reason, Amazon decided to remove the ability to sort Lightning Deals by time (it used to be the default way) in the main Gold Box. This was great for power users. They instead replaced it by an algorithm hotness/trending type of a sorting mechanism. This is great for people who check in once a day, but why not keep the Date sorting as an option in the menu? They have options to sort by price, which is rather ridiculous when you are looking at thousands of deals of products of every possible kind.

With too many items featured, there was a bigger discoverability problem. You basically had to go through each department kicking the bushes looking for deals. For example, the 20% off book coupon was not mentioned anywhere except for the physical books pages.

With so many different spin-off services, some items become a pain to buy on Amazon. If you are looking for consumable type of items, there are as many as FIVE different separate ways to buy them. Yes, FIVE! The regular Amazon, Subscribe and Save, Prime Pantry, AmazonFresh, and PrimeNOW. Different services, with different prices and quantities at each one.

While they offered a no-strings-attached free 30-day trial for non-members, whenever you have an event where some people are not allowed to participate, it can consciously and/or subconsciously negatively influence the opinions of non-participants towards the service.

Meta Meta
Even though I was as productive as I could be covering Prime Day (absent cloning and/or army of minions), I still missed posting a number of good tech offers early in the day. A number of which got posted in the night wave when the camera and photo schedule madness finally slowed down.

There were fewer blog errors and typos and confusions than I would have expected for such a chaotic event. Or I didn’t notice them 🙂 The biggest goof was perhaps me accidentally starting a Kindle Unlimited subscription while trying to copy the url 🙂

The high-speed scrolling feature of the mouse proved to be the most useful technological thing in covering this. It was the best way to traverse the giant Situation Room post.

Speaking of which, according to WordPress, I revised that post 203 times 🙂



  1. S. W. Anderson says

    First, let me compliment you on doing a terrific job of reporting on Prime Day deals. It had to be a lot of tedious work, but it was very helpful in trying to find some wheat among the chaff.

    I’ve noticed several examples in recent years of Amazon opting for the less logical and convenient (for shoppers) in various ways. I think I know why. The example you mentioned, of not being able to date/time-sort deals, is analogous to the department store tactic of arranging aisles, displays, etc., in ways that make it difficult or impossible to walk a comparatively short, straight line from point A to point B. Why? Because they want you to be exposed to as many of their displays and as much of their merchandise as possible. If you’re only hurrying to meet someone else who went there to look or shop, or if you’re trying to use the store for a shortcut to an exit or other store, that’s your tough luck.

    Amazon’s algorithm compulsion is probably necessary and inevitable. The problem I see with it is that the coders and/or merchandising strategists behind the algorithms need to get out of the office and talk — and more importantly, listen — to potential customers more often. There’s an ever present danger of them getting carried away with the brilliance of their own notions, no doubt based on analyzing statistics, and their keen (as they see it) ability to spot and exploit trends early. For example, for shoppers’ convenience and freedom from annoyance, it would make great sense to keep home security cameras and gear, and telescopes, binoculars and microscopes the hell away from photographic gear. But hey, it’s that desire to expose more of their wares, to maybe lure a shopper toward what the strategists see as a trendy new line of goods — the earlier in the trend, the more lucrative for sellers, generally — the better to increase sales. I would like to impress on them how that kind of thing, along with the game-of-chance element in lightning deals, turns me off and can send me elsewhere.

    I, too, am getting very tired of doing a search on an item only to find a blizzard of sources, prices, terms and, sometimes, gotchas, that have to be waded through and sorted out in an effort to find the best deal.

    Lastly, I get it that being a high-volume vendor of entertainment media, along with devices designed from the ground up to get consumers to consume those fleeting pleasures constantly and in great quantity, is Jeff Bezos’ idea of retailing nirvana. Max profits, minimal cost and hassles. The reality is that this country is drowning in entertainment media and all the hype that goes with it. We’ve got so many celebrities, there’s little distinction left in being one. Movies and made-for-whatever series are dime a dozen, so to speak. I look anywhere books are sold and marvel at the glut of fiction. Are there really enough people with enough time to read even 30 percent of all those fiction titles? That question is especially pertinent when one considers how the Web, the TV, the Xbox, the smartphone, the net-fed music all vie for time and attention.

    Against that backdrop, Bezos wants to raise the price of Prime, justifying increases with the ready and relatively cheap flood of included entertainment media. How about a free e-book a month to read on my Kindle? Four or five titles to choose from, but only fiction. I care very much about excellent and useful nonfiction but almost nothing about fiction. Sames goes for most of what’s on TV. I see one item after another where the Prime deal costs $2 to $6 more than a marketplace seller’s deal in which you have to pay $3 to $4 for shipping. The Prime advantage then can be two-day shipping. BUT, more and more lately, I’m finding two-day shipping in reality ends up being three- or even four-day shipping for one reason or another. One reason seems to involve trying to use USPS for the final delivery. Amazon asks me if the item arrives on time. I see the seller did his part and got it out the door fast enough, so I find it hard to mark the seller down for it being late. But I also grow less and less impressed with the two-day, allegedly free, shipping that is the No.s 1, 2, and 3 reasons I pay for Prime.

    I apologize for the long ramble. I hope it’s of at least some interest. For the sake of balance, I do credit Amazon with revolutionizing retailing, for having nearly anything you might want, for getting many things right and for virtually always doing what it says it will do.

    • yeah, there is a danger in over-relying on algorithms/data for shopping, because humans are not computers, and we are not as logical as computers. Irritating and irritated customers are a lot harder to measure algorithmically.

      The lithium battery rules may be impacting some of the shipping times if they only have an item at one warehouse and it has to ship thousands of miles away?

      But in general, the way shipping works, if you don’t need something to arrive quickly, it gets here the next day, but if it’s something you need ASAP, it has the most wonderful shipping adventures 🙂