Amazon Prime Day off to a 'ruff' start

By Dawn Jorgenson - Graham Media Group, AP Author

Prime Day is not starting off very well as many shoppers on social media are complaining of deals not displaying.

The meme of the day is a photo of a dog saying, "Sorry we couldn't find that page."

Amazon tweeted Monday afternoon, "Some customers are having difficulty shopping, and we're working to resolve this issue quickly. Many are shopping successfully -- in the first hour of Prime Day in the U.S., customers have ordered more items compared to the first hour last year. There are hundreds of thousands of deals to come and more than 34 hours to shop Prime Day."

The hiccups could mute sales and send shoppers elsewhere on one of Amazon's busiest sales days. Analyst Sucharita Mulpuru-Kodali at Forrester Research called it a "huge deal."

"This is supposed to be one of their biggest days of the year," she wrote in an email. "I am shocked this caught them off guard. But I guess the lesson is to not have a big unveil during the middle of the day when everyone comes to your site all at once."

She believes that Amazon will prolong the deals to keep customers happy. Shoppers have lots of options, as many other chains have offered sales and promotions to try to capitalize on the Prime Day spending.

Amazon, which recently announced that Prime membership would be getting more expensive, was hoping to lure in shoppers by focusing on new products and having Whole Foods be part of the process.

While Amazon doesn't disclose sales figures for Prime Day, Deborah Weinswig, CEO of Coresight Research, had estimated that it will generate $3.4 billion in sales worldwide, up from an estimated $2.4 billion last year. Prime Day also lasts six hours longer than last year.

Meanwhile, other retailers like Macy's, Nordstrom, Best Buy, Walmart and Target have rolled out their own promotions, said Charlie O'Shea, lead retail analyst at Moody's.

"Brick-and-mortar retailers know that they have little choice but to continue offering their own deep discounts, which is evident in the proliferation of 'Black Friday in July' deals that are being launched earlier each year, as well as various 'price match' offers," he said in a note Monday.

Amazon created Prime Day in 2015 to mark its 20th anniversary, and its success has inspired other e-commerce companies to invent shopping holidays. Online furniture seller Wayfair introduced Way Day in April, becoming its biggest revenue day ever.

Prime Day also usually helps boost the number of Prime memberships. Amazon disclosed for the first time this year that it had more than 100 million paid Prime members worldwide. It's hoping to keep Prime attractive for current and would-be subscribers after raising the U.S. annual membership fee by 20 percent to $119 and to $12.99 for the month-to-month option.

How to conquer Prime Day like a boss

Hey Amazon Primers, guess what day is upon us: Prime Day 2018! 

The deals began Monday afternoon and will last a day and a half, so set your alarms.

OK, now let’s get down to business (because this is serious stuff).

Get a peek at what’s going to be on sale ahead of time in your app.

  • Make sure you have the Amazon app downloaded.
  • Tap the left menu icon to open up the app menu, then hit “Settings."
  • Under Settings, you’ll want to make sure you head into “Notifications.”
  • Within “Your Recommendations,” enable the “Personalized Notifications.”
  • On Monday, you can also go to the page and search “Sneak Peek” inside the app.

Now you can “watch” the deals you’re interested in.

I’m going to level with you here — I think this could potentially be the best perk yet.

Find all the items you’re hoping to catch a deal on and set yourself up to make sure you’re notified when the deal goes live.

  • In the app, go under “Settings” again and hit “Notifications.”
  • Within “Your Watched and Wait-Listed Deals,” click the toggle to enable it and find out when you’re up for a great deal on your item.

Let Amazon Assistant help you (on your desktop).

  • Stay up-to-date on your deliveries and deals.
  • See product comparisons to save yourself time and money.
  • Assistant gives you shortcuts to popular Amazon destinations in your browser.
  • Receive notifications when deals you’re watching go live.

When the clock strikes Prime Day time, you'll know which items have deals by the blue "Prime Day Deal" badge.

All of this is a moot point, however, if you're not already a Prime member. Now is the perfect time to invest in the membership to grab some unbelievable deals on Prime Day, but there are so many other perks, as well:

  • Quick, free delivery on more than 100 million Amazon.com items.
  • Have access to a growing selection of ad-free and on-demand music.
  • Download or stream hit movies and TV exclusives.
  • Have access to more than 1,000 top Kindle books, magazines, short works, audio books, comics, children’s books and more.
  • Two-hour delivery at Whole Foods stores in select cities.

Click here for more information on Prime Day and Prime membership.

Copyright 2018 by KPRC Click2Houston. The Associated Press contributed to this report. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.