‘Uh-oh,’ Amazon’s Prime Day runs into early snags


Associated Press

NEW YORK

Amazon’s website ran into some early snags Monday on its much-hyped Prime Day, an embarrassment for the tech company on the shopping holiday it created.

Shoppers clicking on many Prime Day links after the 3 p.m. launch in the U.S. got only images of dogs – some quite abashed-looking – with the words, “Uh-oh. Something went wrong on our end.” People took to social media to complain.

By about 4:30 p.m., many Prime Day links were working, and Amazon said later it was working to resolve the glitches.

In an email to The Associated Press, it said “many are shopping successfully” and in the first hour of Prime Day in the U.S., customers ordered more items than in the same time frame last year.

Still, the hiccups could mute sales and send shoppers elsewhere during one of Amazon’s busiest sales periods that’s also a key time for it to sign up new Prime members. Shoppers have lots of options, as many other chains have offered sales and promotions to try to capitalize on the Prime Day spending.

Analyst Sucharita Mulpuru-Kodali at Forrester Research called the glitch a “huge deal.”

“This is supposed to be one of their biggest days of the year,” she wrote in an email. “I am shocked this caught them off guard. But I guess the lesson is to not have a big unveil during the middle of the day when everyone comes to your site all at once.”

Amazon, which recently announced Prime membership would be getting more expensive, was hoping to lure in shoppers by focusing on new products and having Whole Foods be part of the process. It was also hoping parents would use the deals event to jump start back-to-school shopping.

Jason Goldberg, senior vice president of commerce at SapientRazorfish, noted that the problems could turn off shoppers for a while, particularly those who planned to sign up for Prime membership.

“If you were planning to find Prime deals to lower the cost of back-to-school (purchases), you’re almost certainly going back to your traditional venue of choice,” he said.

While Amazon doesn’t disclose sales figures for Prime Day, Deborah Weinswig, CEO of Coresight Research, had estimated that it will generate $3.4 billion in sales worldwide, up from an estimated $2.4 billion last year. Prime Day also lasts six hours longer than last year.

Meanwhile, other retailers like Macy’s, Nordstrom, Best Buy, Walmart and Target have rolled out their own promotions, said Charlie O’Shea, lead retail analyst at Moody’s.

Amazon created Prime Day in 2015 to mark its 20th anniversary, and its success has inspired other e-commerce companies to invent shopping holidays.

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