Amazon.com’s effort to woo shoppers with exclusive deals on “Prime Day” left many frustrated as they struggled to add items to their online shopping carts.
The company confirmed the problem before 9 a.m. EDT Tuesday, six hours after its 3 a.m. kickoff. “Some customers are reporting difficulty with checkout,” Amazon said in a Tweet. “We’re working to resolve this issue quickly.” A few hours later, company spokeswoman Ana Rigby said in an e-mail that the issue involving Lightning Deals had been resolved.
Amazon began Prime Day last year as a promotion to lure shoppers to Amazon Prime memberships, which cost $99 a year and include free two-day shipping on many items. That first effort was initially panned on social media, with users citing low inventories and deals on obscure products that only appealed to scavengers. This time, shoppers vented their frustration on social media using the hashtag, #PrimeDayFail, with many saying they couldn’t add items to their digital baskets.
Even with last year’s backlash, analysts said the event helped Prime membership and built the foundation for a strong holiday shopping season in 2015. James Cakmak, an analyst at Monness, Crespi, Hardt & Co., estimated, based on last year’s success, that technical difficulties wouldn’t hamper sales for too long this time.
“It will serve as a tail wind for the third quarter,” Cakmak said in an interview. “You have a perfect storm heading into the day, and while technical difficulties may get in the way in the short term, it shouldn’t affect revenue.”
Mike Pachter, an analyst at Wedbush Securities Inc. in Los Angeles, said the problems indicate Amazon is seeing tremendous demand from shoppers.
“The biggest cloud manager on the planet having issues? That’s a testament to high demand and high expectations for reliability,” Pachter said in an e-mail.