At the stroke of noon (Portland-time) on July 16, Amazon officially launched Prime Day, their annual attempt to digitize the stampede-inducing sales of Black Friday. Their efforts proved all too successful, with hordes of bargain-hunters trampling Amazon’s servers and promptly flattening the site.
For approximately fifteen minutes, three of their biggest sales channels were down: the Amazon website, mobile shopping app, and digital voice assistant. Most domestic visitors to the website were served an error page giving them a chance to “Meet the dogs of Amazon”; all international traffic was cut off.
It’s remarkable that a company as seemingly invincible as Amazon — their own AWS is built to help heavily-trafficked sites avoid just these kind of problems — could suffer technological glitches.
But more remarkable is this: the tech fail didn’t matter. At all.
In the initial 12 buggy hours of Prime Day, customer spending surged 89% over the same period last year, according to data from Feedvisor. Final sales tallies surpassed both Black Friday and Cyber Monday of last year, with analysts estimating the company brought in $3.5 billion over the 36-hour capitalist orgy.
Amazon has made itself an indispensable part of peoples’ lives, and a few 404 pages aren’t going to change that.
Most significantly the event also resulted in a slew of new signups to Amazon Prime. “Amazon said that more people had joined the program on Monday, the first day of the sale, than any previous day in its history,” The Financial Times reported.
And therein lies the key to Amazon’s resilience — the company has made itself an indispensable part of peoples’ lives, and a few 404 pages aren’t going to change that. Through Prime memberships, Echo devices, and Subscribe & Save programs, Amazon keeps its consumer base coming back again and again.
“Amazon has solid relationships with its subscriber base,” Tien Tzuo, CEO of Zuora, told FT. “This week’s Amazon Prime Day website snafu will not detract new customers from subscribing …they’re already locked in.”
There’s that word again: relationships. As you’ve no doubt noticed if you’re a regular reader, we here at OG are pretty all-in on the idea that relationships are at the heart of the modern consumer experience. And the brands that understand that are the ones that will continue to grow and win market share — even if there’s a technical hiccup or two along the way.