Updated! To counter the hoopla surrounding tomorrow’s Amazon Prime Day sales extravaganza, retailers are running a few extreme promotions of their own.
Walmart for one, is offering free shipping with no minimum purchase today through July 15, which nicely bookends the July 12 Prime Day event.
Related: Amazon Passes Walmart As No. 2 In CE
In addition, the world’s largest retail chain is throwing in some extra sales lures to pick off Amazon minions, including:
* a 55-inch Samsung 4K Ultra HD TV for $598, down from $1,199
* a Lenovo Flex i5 laptop for $399, down from $699;
* a 16GB prepaid iPhone 5S for Straight Talk for $149, down from $450.
Similarly, Toys “R” Us will offer online customers 15 percent off regular-priced items, and sales on another 50,000 products, on both its Toysrus.com and Babiesrus.com sites tomorrow.
“Is this a response to Amazon’s Prime Day?” the retailer volunteered. “Our answer: We know that retail is a highly competitive environment and we want to make sure that everybody has the opportunity to save, no membership required.”
Meanwhile Best Buy, in a not-too-subtle reference to the Prime-only promo, is promising online shoppers “Deals for all. No membership needed,” and is backing that up with at least one sub-$600 Samsung 55-inch 4K UHD TV (model UN55KU6300FXZA for $550, a savings of $350).
Newegg too is getting in on the action, offering $220 off a $500 XYZ 3D printer; a 48-inch Samsung LED TV for $230, down from $400; and a $250 unlocked ZTE Axon smartphone for $170, from $250.
But analysts believe it’s all an uphill battle. “Brick-and-mortar retailers should be worried,” warned David Ciancio, senior customer strategist at Dunnhumby, a global market research firm. “Prime Day is bigger than Black Friday for Amazon, and an impact will be felt throughout many verticals if the deals are good enough.”
To Robin Copland, Americas retail VP for retail consultancy ThoughtWorks, it’s all about converting new members. “What Amazon is doing right is hooking customers on the value of being a ‘member,’ something that so many retailers have not been able to achieve,” he said. “We believe that retailers should replace their ‘old loyalty guard’ and instead focus on being serial innovators of personalized value.”
That said, he added, “Even the most cynical among us will be tuning into Prime Day to catch some great deals.”