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Bloomberg has a story about how Amazon's first Prime Day promotional event to be held since the beginning of the pandemic will require some changes in both attitude and procedure.  Scheduled for India later this week, the promotion will be one way for Amazon to learn what works and what doesn't during the pandemic, though it has not been formally set up that way.

The US version of Prime Day originally was slated for July, but has been put off until later this year on a still-to-be-announced date.

According to the story, "Prime Day will have the customary deep discounts, hundreds of exclusive products, new launches and cashback offers. But in a profound departure from the past, the global retailer will have a virtual operations room instead of a real one, with thousands of employees coordinating the sale from their homes, and stringent hygiene protocols for its armies of packers, sorters and deliverymen … The online retailer said it has made over a hundred such process changes in its buildings, stipulating new rules on face coverings and daily temperature checks. Hand cleaning is mandated no less than eight times during a shift. Even the slightest sign of elevated temperature requires a worker to remain at home for three days. When a delivery person arrives at a customer’s door, he is required to ring the door bell and then step several feet back."

The story goes on:  "This year’s Amazon event will be devoid of the usual Bollywood dancing and the endless supply of Indian street foods, foot massages and costume parties. Instead, hundreds of employees will plan and coordinate the sale from home, their only respite virtual mood-boosters like standup comedy and selfie competitions."

Amazon's Prime Day in India happens as the company is facing an intense competitive landscape:  "That Amazon is holding its 48-hour sale despite the pandemic underscores the intense competition in the country’s online retail sector. The Seattle-based retailer is fighting giant rival Walmart Inc.-owned Flipkart as well as the powerful Indian conglomerate Reliance Industries Ltd., whose Jio Platforms launched its grocery delivery service in 200 cities and is fast expanding into categories like electronics and apparel.  Flipkart has announced its own Big Savings Day, clashing with its rival’s dates. The sales events have overlapped for years, vying for the attention of both shoppers and sellers listing on their platforms."

KC's View:

It will be very interesting to see how Prime Day plays out in the US this year, especially because it seems almost certain to dovetail with the end-of-year holiday shopping season … and will take place during a pandemic and a recession.  Lots of outside influences that could impact the degree to which people are willing to spend money, though I have little doubt that Amazon will figure out how to capitalize on the moment.