While Amazon's Prime Day wasn't a bust financially, it certainly was a failure in the popular imagination. The company's made-up holiday was designed to goose sales during a typically flagging time of year and try to get people signed up for Amazon Prime accounts.
It seems to have been a success in a business sense, with merchants reporting a boost in sales (the company isn't releasing exact numbers), but it received a pretty harsh drubbing on social media, as the complaints and issues around the event coalesced around the hashtag #PrimeDayFail.
The problems were multiple. There were technical issues, as some weren't even aware of the sale, or had trouble accessing the Prime Day deals:
But much more prevalent were two complaints: First, that the deals provided were so minimal as to be useless
Or, second, that the deals were on items that no one would actually want.
Indeed, the random assortment of items that were discounted suggested something less like a major sale from a huge retailer and more like your grandparents trying to get rid of the junk in their basement.
Which might have been exactly what it was. After all, there's gotta be a lot of useless junk in those Amazon warehouses that nobody wants, right?
Nicole Leinbach-Reyhle of Forbes observed that the campaign was a relative success on social media from a branding perspective, with the #PrimeDay hashtag being mentioned over 100,000 times, with high levels of engagement. But this is probably one of those cases where levels of engagement belie the fact Prime Day was being roundly mocked and complained about in those many, many mentions.
This is Amazon's first attempt at, well, creating a shopping holiday out of absolutely nothing, so it wasn't realistic to expect everything to go perfectly. However, it seems some planning and common sense about what should be put on sale, especially to its most loyal customers with Prime accounts, would have helped prevent such a amusingly memorable #PrimeDayFail.