Make July 15 Your Survivalist Day

July 13, 2015

Pound away on social media starting today about your stores' own deals next week - and offer free delivery - to help blunt impact of Amazon Prime Day.

A vigorous attack on retailers, including supermarkets, is coming July 15 - and even Superman can't save you.

But you might be able to save yourself with a proactive stance that builds a collective effect to keep Amazon at bay. Here's what you'll battle:

Amazon, feeling flush with its 41 million Prime members and eyeing many more, is launching its own Black Friday/Christmas in July event on a global scale. Don't be distracted by the other countries on the list (United Kingdom, Spain, Japan, Italy, Germany, France, Canada and Austria). The customers they seek include yours, on American soil - the ones you want to see wheeling carts in your stores next week.

The online disruptor calls its massive promotional event Amazon Prime Day. It will, says Greg Greeley, vice president, Amazon Prime, "be filled with more deals than Black Friday, exclusively for Prime members around the globe" - starting at midnight next Wednesday, July 15, with "new deals starting as often as every 10 minutes." The company's announcement focuses on seasonal and hard goods items rather than food - but Facts, Figures & The Future (F3) expects food to be part of it, given Amazon's numerous ventures into food ordering and delivery, and their desire for more data to refine those efforts.

The day's flash sales might only be missing Monty Hall as emcee. Yet Amazon is wisely humanizing the effort with a photo contest around the theme of Prime saving people time, which enables some of their happy moments. For all the recognition of supermarkets being community hubs, this is Amazon's way to connect personally with shoppers.

Frankly, F3 thinks Amazon expects to enlist millions more Prime members at $99 per year and extend distance between its Prime program and Walmart's recently announced version of it. We wouldn't be surprised to see Bentonville cook up its own online event focused on food before long. That would be a sweet, specific approach for the nation's #1 grocer, which could twist some CPG arms to offer irresistible prices - so the chain could leverage its own event to push its growing network of Neighborhood Markets and online ordering/delivery capabilities.

For supermarkets to avoid becoming collateral damage in this battle of the titans - and generate their own online sales momentum - F3 suggests as a first step blunting the impact of Amazon Prime Day. Pound away on social media and your website starting today to promote your own specials. This time around, you're likely limited to what's on deal this coming week, but think of adding twists such as bonus loyalty points or a contest through your website to win airline or concert tickets.  Offer free delivery or pick up services with online orders on July 15 to see the interest you can generate and the momentum you can steal from Amazon.

Don't let supermarket abdications of the past be the rule today. Act now to fight for your shoppers. Learn a lesson from CPG brands you sell that would typically take quick action to blunt a competitor's budding promotion, once they learned of it. It's only your business and future at stake.