Yesterday (Wednesday 15 July 2015) in celebration of its 20th anniversary, Amazon is promised its Prime customers "more deals than Black Friday." 

You can judge for yourself how successful this was for the retailer.

Despite the ‘quality’ of the bargains on offer, Prime Day is a reflection of just how important Prime has become to Amazon, and how the ecommerce giant is increasingly wielding it to win business away from other online retailers and brick-and-mortar competitors.

While it remains to be seen whether 15 July will mark the beginning of a long-lasting Black Friday in July, Amazon's initiative is already evoking a response from another major retailer. 

Brick-and-mortar retail giant Wal-Mart, which has invested heavily in ecommerce in recent years, decided to crash Prime Day and offered shoppers its own deals on Wednesday. In a blog post from 13 July, Walmart.com President and CEO Fernando Madeira took a shot at Amazon:

We’ve heard some retailers are charging $100 to get access to a sale. But the idea of asking customers to pay extra in order to save money just doesn’t add up for us.

According to Wal-Mart, "you shouldn't have to pay $100 to get great deals" and in an effort to prove that, the company will offer "thousands of great deals on Rollback beginning this week along with some special atomic deals." In addition, it's reducing its minimum order size for free shipping from $50 to $35.

Wal-Mart's reaction to Prime Day isn't entirely surprising. While Amazon still faces big challenges, the 800-pound gorilla of online retail poses a huge threat to Wal-Mart's entire business and Wal-Mart has good reason to want to counter any initiative that could help Amazon drive even greater adoption of Prime, especially among casual shoppers.

But online retailers of all shapes and sizes might also want to pay attention to Prime Day. With other retailers, like Best Buy, also attempting to drum up Black Friday-like excitement if not sales, it's seem likely that in the future the biggest battles for online retail dominance may not be limited to the holiday shopping season.

Patricio Robles

Published 16 July, 2015 by Patricio Robles

Patricio Robles is a tech reporter at Econsultancy. Follow him on Twitter.

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Tony Edey, . at RCL Cruises Ltd

Thinking about it from the psychology of a consumer point of view, hanging your own sales off the coat tails of a retail giant's well publicised sales window makes absolute sense. The Prime sale got a lot of publicity which put people in bargain-hunter mode for the day. This will means the consumers are more likely to buy something on offer from any site, and less likely to buy something with no offer. So if Amazon are having a sale and you're not, you're less likely to sell your product that day. But if there's a feeding frenzy for bargains then smaller retailers (or even other giants) can capitalise on the mind set of consumers primed (fnar) for bargains-only shopping. To use a marketing term, other retailers can capitalise on the halo effect.

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