How Amazon #PrimeDay Failed

Amazon has long been referred to and modeled as an innovative and disruptive organization that pushes the norm. They’ve paved the way for other e-commerce organizations with their personalized algorithms that always seemed to suggest just the right item you didn’t realize you needed.

However, there was that one time when they DID NOT get it right.

Wednesday, July 15th was dubbed Prime Day by Amazon with much hype and buzz. (The inner nerd in me wants to point out 15 isn’t a prime number and therefore was a poorly selected date, so we’ll refer to that as Issue #1). Amazon boasted it would feature more deals than Black Friday, so people set alarms to be online at 12:01 AM, itching to Add to Cart or activate their 1-Click order option. It triggered companies like Walmart and Newegg to follow suit with their own mid-year holiday deals.

I would not have predicted what happened next: not much.

So what went wrong? How did a behemoth like Amazon manage to disappoint enough consumers that #unhappyPrimeDay,
#AmazonFail, #gobacktosleep, and #PrimeDayFail became the most popular hashtags on Prime Day?

It’s simple: Amazon didn’t deliver to consumers’ expectations, bringing us to Issue #2. They put so much effort into building excitement on a future promise that they forgot a basic principle of their success. They did not deliver on expectations. Sound familiar?

So often we hear from organizations struggling with CRM adoption with disgruntled sales teams who feel like they aren’t receiving the value they were promised and anticipated. The excitement doesn’t mean much after the roll-out; it must deliver the promised value. What’s the use of inputting all that data, doing all that work, when all you get in return is totally unrelated – like Prime Day’s suggestions of a nice discount on a VHS Rewinder or included Flintstone vitamins under Electronics. In much the same way, CRM is a great repository for data, and when used correctly (to your advantage), in this day and age — it’s indispensable. But when it gets it wrong, failing to make your data actionable, that’s when the system is…well….a #CRMfail.