July 15 marks “Prime Day” for Amazon.com Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN), a day on which the e-commerce and cloud company will offer what it says are a number of deals that will exceed Black Friday. However, customers will have to subscribe to Amazon’s Prime service to get them.
Amazon management writes:
Prime Day is a one-day shopping event on July 15, 2015, with more deals than Black Friday. Prime members can shop exclusive deals from electronics, toys, video games, movies, clothing, patio, lawn and garden, sports and outdoor items and more.
Try Prime and get immediate access to deals on July 15.
Analysts have long wondered whether Prime makes money. The service allows members to stream video from a library of tens of thousands of premium TV shows and movies. The service also allows members to get free two-day shipping and unlimited photo storage. A Prime membership costs $99 a year. It may be that Amazon has created Prime to bring customers to Amazon.com in the hope they will buy goods that are not part of the Prime core service.
One of the puzzles about Prime Day is whether it is meant solely to gain new members. Amazon management wrote:
Prime members can find deals on products across categories including electronics, toys, video games, movies, clothing, patio, lawn and garden, sports and outdoor items and more. Members will enjoy deals on items perfect for summer adventures, their to-do list, family road trips, back to school supplies, and everyday essentials. Prime members can shop on any device, including smartphones and tablets and enjoy deals anytime, and anywhere.
The event may also be a means to get more Amazon customers to use smartphones, which is part of Amazon’s effort to move shoppers off the desktop and onto devices that have become equally or more popular than PCs.
More deals than Black Friday for Prime members, or a means to add customers to Amazon’s critical effort to offer consumers a means to use Amazon more frequently.