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Widespread Glitches May Thwart Amazon's Prime Day Sales Goal of $3.4B

Widespread Glitches May Thwart Amazon's Prime Day Sales Goal of $3.4B
(Lucian Milasan/Dreamstime)

Tuesday, 17 July 2018 10:49 AM

Amazon.com Inc. has found its footing after a difficult start to its annual Prime Day sales promotion.

Spending jumped 89 percent in the first 12 hours of the event on the e-commerce giant’s website and app compared with the same period last year, according to estimates by Feedvisor. Amazon extended Prime Day to 36 hours from 30 hours last year and added four countries, including Australia, all of which point to greater revenue if the site is functioning.

The Feedvisor data and an announcement from Amazon indicate the Seattle-based company was able to shake off shopper disappointment from sweeping technical glitches as the promotion began Monday. Customers vented their frustrations on social media with the hashtag #PrimeDayFail. Many complained about being unable to checkout or search for products, instead getting an error page with images of dogs. Discount site Lovethesales.com estimates the web problems cost Amazon more than $99 million in sales.

Amazon doesn’t disclose Prime Day revenue and hasn’t explained the cause of the technical problems. The company said sales in the first 10 hours of Prime Day grew at a faster pace than in 2017. Amazon said it sold millions of devices that work on the Alexa voice-activated platform, with the most popular items including the Fire TV Stick streaming device with an Alexa Voice remote and the Echo Dot speaker.

Amazon’s annual shopathon, an important marketing tool as well as a boost to business, had been expected to drum up $3.4 billion of spending -- up more than 40 percent from last year -- according to a July 10 estimate from Coresight Research.

“It wasn’t all a walk in the (dog) park, we had a ruff start,” Amazon said in a statement early Tuesday, without providing details on what caused the technical difficulties.

Feedvisor, which helps brands and merchants set prices for online products, made its Prime Day estimates based on results from the firm’s clients that sell on Amazon. The data indicate the glitches limited sales only in the early hours of the promotion, before quickly recovering. Amazon’s stock gained 1.2 percent to $1,843.98 at 12:45 p.m. in New York. It increased 56 percent this year through Monday’s close.

The technical issues weren’t limited to shopping. Thousands of people reported losing connections with their Alexa digital assistants via Echo speakers and having trouble streaming Prime Video, according to Downdetector.com, which monitors web trouble. Amazon Web Services, the company’s cloud-computing division, reported global problems with its AWS Management Console, one of its tools, which Amazon said was unrelated to problems on the shopping site. Thousands of big companies rely on AWS to run their websites.

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Amazon.com Inc. sales rose sharply during the first three hours of its Prime Day sales event, dispelling fears that the technical glitches that incensed shoppers would significantly hurt business.
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Tuesday, 17 July 2018 10:49 AM
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