Amazon’s announcement of second Prime Day prompts Walmart to act

Amazon Prime Day leaked deals Amazon tries to one-up Black Friday with ‘Prime Day’

Following a mixed reception from online customers last year, Amazon’s Prime Day sales extravaganza is about to return for another 24-hour shopping blitz.

Amazon Prime members interested in a bargain should hit the site on July 12 as the company is promising more than 100,000 deals across most of its departments.

Greg Greeley, VP of Amazon Prime, said the site has “dramatically increased the inventory” for the one-day sale, offering U.S.-based shoppers “nearly double the TV units compared to Black Friday and Cyber Monday combined.”

Mindful of members’ complaints last year that deals disappeared too quickly, Greeley added, “Even with this massive selection, we know many of the Prime Day offers will sell out, so members should download the Amazon shopping app to receive notifications on their favorite deals.”

The sale is open to Prime members in exactly the same countries as last year, namely the U.S., Canada, the U.K., Spain, Italy, Germany, France, Belgium, Austria, and Japan. Not a Prime member? Not a problem – you can also take advantage of the offers by signing up to Prime’s free 30-day trial.

Besides helping it to score a load more Prime members, last year’s inaugural Prime Day saw customers order a whopping 34.4 million items, equivalent to 398 items per second. Amazon’s big sellers included 47,000 TVs, 41,000 Bose headphones, and, rather curiously, 14,000 iRobot Roomba 595 “Pet Series” vacuum cleaning robots.

Amazon said the day generated more business than its “biggest Black Friday ever.” However, its upbeat assessment contrasted sharply with the opinions of a number of its users who described the event as a damp squib for its distinct lack of attractive goods.

One Twitter user said Prime Day had been like “receiving a treasure map and when you find the treasure, it’s filled with shoehorns and compression socks.”

Another compared the event to Christmas, but “without Santa, or turkey, or family, or family, or presents, or a tree, or anything.”

The hashtag #PrimeDayFail trended on the microblogging site in the hours after the sale closed, something the online shopping giant will be keen to avoid second time around.

Eager to compete, Walmart on Wednesday announced a 30-day free trial of its ShippingPass service for all U.S. customers, offering free two-day shipping for a $49 annual membership fee. Amazon Prime, which also offers free two-day shipping, costs $99 a year though also includes other benefits such as access to online movies, TV shows, and ebooks.

Walmart will also take on Prime Day starting July 1 with its own bundle of special online deals. Announcing the promotion in a blog post, Walmart CEO Fernando Madeira took a swipe at Amazon, noting that ShippingPass is “about half the price of similar programs out there,” while making clear that its sales usually last at least 90 days or until supplies last.

Sign-up for a free 30-day Prime trial