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Amazon’s Prime Day becomes its biggest shopping event

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

Amazon’s fourth annual Prime Day has become the online giant’s biggest shopping event yet — in terms of sales, as well as for signing up new Prime members.

During the 36-hour shopping extravaganza for Prime members, customers across 17 countries purchased more than 100 million products, according to Amazon. The number of orders was an estimated 200% of their average for the previous month, and revenue almost tripled (280%), according to Edison Trends.

Based on this momentum, sales surpassed those on Cyber Monday, Black Friday and the previous Prime Day, making this year’s Prime Day the biggest shopping event in Amazon history, according to the online giant.

While Amazon did not provide specific results, total sales for this year’s event could exceed last year’s total by 60% or more, according Feedvisor. (This is inline with results from Prime Day 2017, which grew sales by more than 60%, compared to the year prior.)

The sale also lured new Prime members in search of deals, a move that helped the company exceed its current count of 100 million members. While Amazon did not provide hard numbers, the online retailer reported that more new members signed up on July 16 than any single day in Amazon history.

Prime Day also sold the most Amazon devices to date. The Fire TV Stick with Alexa Voice Remote was Amazon’s best-selling Amazon device, and the retailer’s best-selling product overall. Other hot-selling Amazon gadgets included Echo smart speakers and Kindle e-readers, according to the company.

The online giant’s integration of Whole Foods Markets into its Prime Day marathon also spurred sales. In addition to running sales for a week leading up to the big event, the natural foods grocer also rewarded customers that spent $10 on groceries with $10 to spend during Prime Day.

Despite Amazon’s preparations, the shopping marathon got off to a rocky start. Just as the sale was about to kick-off on July 16, at 3 p.m. EST, Amazon’s website and mobile app both suffered an outage, causing digital deal seekers to receive a variety of error messages that featured the “dogs of Amazon.” Some users were initially unable to enter the site, while others were caught in a loop of pages urging them to “Shop all deals.”

During the time of this outage, Amazon could have lost between $1 million and $2 million per minute, according to sales data from Statistica.

Amazon was able to overcome the snafu, and continued to build momentum. Customers that did manage to shop successfully during Prime Day’s launch quickly set the tone for the sale, as they “ordered more items compared to the first hour [of Prime Day] last year,” according to a tweet from Amazon at 5 p.m. on July 16.

As the sale progressed, customers purchased more than five million items across toys, beauty products, PCs and computer accessories, apparel and kitchen products.

Among the sale’s best-sellers included the Instant Pot 6 quart pressure cooker; 23 and Me DNA Test, and LifeStraw Personal Water Filter. The site also sold out of the Toshiba 50-inch 4K Ultra HD Fire TV Edition, as well as the Ring Video Doorbell Pro. Amazon also sold over four times as many Ring systems compared to last year’s Prime Day sale, according to the company.

“Despite the technical glitches it experienced during the first hour of Prime Day, Amazon persevered and recorded its biggest sales event ever during the 36-hour period,” said Clarus Commerce’s CEO, Tom Caporaso. “Amazon listens to its customers, identifies pain points, and offers the benefits they desire; this is why it’s able to be continually successful.”

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Kroger names 2 new division heads

BY David Salazar

Kroger has named two new division presidents, one of whom is succeeding a longtime company veteran. Bruce Lucia, who has been with the company for 44 years will retire as president of Kroger’s Atlanta division, to be succeeded by Tim Brown, president of the Cincinnati/Dayton division, effective Sept. 1. Michigan division president Scotty Hays will take over Brown’s division, also effective Sept. 1.

Lucia joined Kroger in 1974 as a store clerk, then serving as a store manager, field specialist and district management in the Atlanta division. He held leadership is other divisions before being named Michigan division president in 1996, the heading the Columbus division in 1996. He has been in his current role in Atlanta since 2000.

“In his more than 40 years with Kroger, Bruce has earned the admiration and respect of his teammates by forging real, genuine connections with associates and customers,” said Rodney McMullen, Kroger’s chairman and CEO. “Bruce has been a tremendous mentor to countless associates throughout our business. He will leave a legacy of strong, hard-working teams who care about each other. We wish Bruce and his family all the best in retirement.”

Brown, who will take over for Lucia, has been with Kroger since he started as a bagger when he was 17. After joining the company’s management training program in 1981, he has served in leadership positions across nine of Kroger’s divisions. From 2010 to 2012 he served as vice president of operations for the Mid-Atlantic division. He came to lead the Cincinnati/Dayton division in 2015 after three years leading the Delta division.

“Tim is passionate about our customers, our associates and our community and dedicated to our purpose, To Feed the Human Spirit,” said Mr. McMullen. “His leadership in supporting Restock Kroger will continue to drive business results in our Atlanta Division and help us achieve our vision to serve America through food inspiration and uplift.”

Taking over Brown’s position at the head of the Cincinnati/Dayton division is Hays, who has been with Kroger since April 2017, when he joined as vice president of operations for its Fry’s division, quickly being promoted to his current role. His work experience includes time as part of the leadership of Albertsons’ San Antonio division. He also helped grow Albertsons’ Texas and Louisiana markets, and served as vice president of operations for Jewel Osco in the Chicago Market and president of Albertsons’ Dallas-Fort Worth market before joining Kroger.

“In just a short time with the company, Scott has already made a lasting impact,” said Mr. McMullen. “Scott’s passion for people and wealth of grocery and retail experience makes him an ideal leader for Kroger as we work to redefine the customer experience. We look forward to Scott’s leadership of Restock Kroger in our Cincinnati/Dayton division.”

Kroger said it would name Hays’ successor at a later date.

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Publix shakes up its leadership team

BY DSN STAFF

Publix’s leadership is undergoing several big changes.

The Lakeland, Fla.-based company, who recently acquired a lease from Winn-Dixie in Alabama, announced that Marcy Benton would be taking over the vice president of human resources role, and John Provenzano would now be the company’s vice president of Public Affairs.

Benton who began her career with the retail chain in 1992 as an accounting clerk, will now be responsible for all functions within the human resources space. She was most recently the director of retail associations and is a recipient of the company’s George W. Jenkins and President’s awards.

Provenzano began his career with the company in 2017, after joining as the vice president of government relations. He was previously the director for the National Association of State Treasurers, or NSAT, and worked in government affairs for Delta Airlines.

“Marcy and John have a passion for Publix and our associates,” Publix CEO & President Todd Jones, said. “I’m excited they will help us continue the growth and success of our company and assist in perpetuating our culture.”

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