Why this online retailer is opting out of Amazon Prime Day

Prime Day is an exciting opportunity for participating vendors to offer their wares to over 54 million Amazon Prime members. But men’s underwear company Mack Weldon doesn’t plan to participate in this sales festival anytime soon, mainly because it wants to have full control over customer experience.

In order to be eligible for Amazon Prime Day, most vendors choose to be enrolled in a program called Fulfillment by Amazon where the platform helps them store and ship their inventory. They can also become eligible via a program called Seller Fulfilled Prime, where they are required to meet some strict performance metrics, including they must have fulfilled at least 30 Premium Shipping orders over the last 30 days.

But Mack Weldon doesn’t want Amazon to manage its inventory and customer experience. The retailer just sells a limited selection of its products on Amazon for customers who may not want to create an account on Mack Weldon site for whatever reason. The company is in Amazon’s marketplace, but it opts out of the Fulfillment by Amazon and thus has effectively opted out of Prime Day.

“We don’t offer anything on Amazon that is fulfilled by the platform, because we value the customer relationship, which we wouldn’t have for orders fulfilled by Amazon,” explained Brian Fesen, head of marketing for Mack Weldon. “The reason we avoid going deep on Amazon in general is the fact that our entire business model rests on long-term, deepening customer relationships.”

If the consumer is not happy about Mack Weldon’s products or shipping service, Fesen added, he wants them to be able to contact the brand directly instead of going through Amazon’s customer service.

And yet while Prime Day’s sales numbers make every retailer jealous, Mack Weldon is unswayed by the online giant’s scale. Nor is offering deep discounts a tactic Mack Weldon typically employs, explained Fensen.

“We’re focused on selling the benefits of the product itself, not the price,” he said. “You just cannot compete with Amazon on price — you need to compete on something else like quality and authenticity.”

Mack Weldon has run campaigns on its birthday — 4th of July — since 2013, where it gives customers something small and simple in their orders, like beer koozies. Fesen explained that while the promotion varies from year to year, it’s never anything that would make consumers feel like they were missing out if they didn’t get Mack Weldon on 4th of July. Instead, site visitors are offered volume-based discounts all day, every day, where all orders over $100 get 10 percent off, over $150 get 15 percent and over $200 get 20 percent.

“[Our birthday celebration is] more of a conversation with customers, and in case anyone is on the fence about restocking their top drawer,” said Fesen, “it’s a nice added benefit.”

Still, Keith Anderson, vp of strategy and insights for e-commerce analytics company Profitero, believes that merchants that already have a successful presence on Amazon — either as direct suppliers or as sellers on Amazon’s marketplace – can benefit from Prime Day, once they are eligible.

“A well-planned and executed Prime Day promotion can drive significant short-term traffic and sales,” he said, “both of which can yield sustained improvements in organic search placement and, ultimately, sales.”


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