Yes, today Amazon Prime Day kicked off, giving shoppers 36 hours of unbelievable deals on too many products to count. No, Amazon won't pay you to take whatever inventory of the Fire Phone
it has left, but as we pointed out earlier, it will sell you the Essential Phone for the ridiculously low price of $250
. Also on sale are Amazon Echo smart speakers
. As great as all of the countless discounts are, the bad news is that Amazon had some glitches when the prices started dropping at 3pm EDT (12pm PDT).
Right off the bat, consumers were having difficulties navigating both the mobile app and the desktop website. Some users received an error page when they tried to access the Amazon website. Others found themselves in a never-ending loop showing a promotional page telling them to "Shop all deals." The most frustrating error happened to those who filled out their shopping carts and couldn't complete their purchases. Instead of a notification confirming that the items selected were paid for, affected Amazon Prime shoppers received an error message instead.
Analysts covering the e-commerce industry expected Amazon to ring up close to a record $3.4 billion in sales over the 36 hour promotion, although the glitches could reduce that figure. The deals are available to Amazon Prime members only. Members pay $119 a year or $12.99 per month, and there is a free 30 day trial. Subscribers get Prime Video, free Two-Day shipping, unlimited music streaming, unlimited photo storage, unlimited reading and free Same-Day Delivery.
"The outage is especially problematic as many of Amazon's Prime deals are promoted for a set window of time — something that could cause a great deal of frustration for potential customers."-Neil Saunders, Retail Managing Director, GlobalData
According to research firm eMarketer, Amazon is expected to own half of the e-commerce market in the U.S. by the end of this year, up from a 44% market share last year. The researcher also completed a survey that estimated sales of $258.2 billion this year for the company.