Amazon’s Big Style Sale Is Coming to Fill the Summertime Promotional Void

The ecommerce giant's biggest shopping event, Prime Day, remains unclear

illustration of amazon shoppers in stylish clothes
The Big Summer Sale is an invitation-only event for sellers, who must offer discounts of at least 30%. Amazon
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Key Insight:

Just days after reports that Amazon plans to delay the summertime deal extravaganza known as Prime Day, the ecommerce platform confirmed it is hosting a Big Style Sale later this month.

An Amazon spokesperson said the June 2020 event will “include seasonally relevant deals from both established and smaller fashion brands.”

Citing a document sent to sellers, CNBC reported the event will start June 22 and between 7 and 10 days. Amazon did not comment on timing.

In addition, CNBC said the event is intended to boost sellers hurt by the coronavirus pandemic and the delay of Prime Day. However, its report also said sellers will participate on an invitation-only basis—and Amazon has asked these sellers to submit items with discounts “of at least 30%” by Wednesday.

“We are delighted to help brands connect with our vast global customer base for this event,” the spokesperson said in a statement.

Meanwhile, Amazon itself has struggled to meet customer demand for products during the pandemic, as well as its own lofty goals for one-day shipping.

And while Amazon has not commented on a Prime Day delay, it’s certainly logical that the Big Style Sale could serve as an amuse bouche for customers awaiting additional deals down the road.

After all, even though the deals have historically been somewhat lackluster, Amazon’s Prime Day has evolved into an annual opportunity to showcase the benefits of Prime membership and lure new sign-ups. (In 2019, Amazon said it added more new members on Prime Day than any other day, which helped it hit the 150 million member mark later that year.)

But, as Adweek reported last month, this modern-day spin on Christmas in July is effective because it takes place in a relatively slow retail period between holiday seasons. And so the Big Style Sale could very well be an attempt by Amazon to sustain interest even if Prime Day lands closer to back-to-school and holiday shopping this year.

It’s also not surprising to see Amazon focus on clothes this summer. The ecommerce platform has long sought to become a destination for fashion. In 2018, for example, it launched the Prime Wardrobe service, allowing all U.S. Prime members to order clothing, shoes and accessories to try on at home. In 2019, it added a styling service.

The controversial Echo Look also became available to all U.S. customers in 2018. Amazon pitched the Echo Look as a device that allowed users to ask Alexa to take photos or videos, as well as get advice on outfits and recommendations on items that pair well with clothes they own. Echo Look drew some criticism, however, as a connected device that lived in consumers’ closets and took full-body images. Amazon has since revealed it plans to discontinue the device on July 24.

In a 2018 interview with Adweek, Larry Pluimer, who was then CEO of Amazon agency Indigitous (and is now vice president of managed services company Flywheel Digital), explained Amazon has historically struggled in fashion because its algorithm was designed for books, where signals of popularity lie in longevity and popularity instead of freshness.

Now, with the forthcoming Big Style Sale, Amazon has a chance to show how far (or not) it has come.

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@lisalacy Lisa Lacy is a senior writer at Adweek, where she focuses on retail and the growing reach of Amazon.
Publish date: June 3, 2020 © 2020 Adweek, LLC. - All Rights Reserved and NOT FOR REPRINT