Amazon’s Prime Day website glitches didn’t stop it from setting record sales — but it was still a danger to the most important part of its business

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Getty/Rick T. Wilking

  • Amazon has claimed record sales for Prime Day despite website issues that prevented them from cashing in on the deals.
  • Website issues lasted for hours on Monday, which frustrated consumers and would be buyers.
  • Starting the sale earlier might have helped Amazon buoy its sales growth from last year’s Prime Day, but making the all-important Prime members angry could still have consequences.

Despite its share of issues, Amazon is still sitting pretty this Prime Day – but it’s possible the worst is yet to come.

“The first ten hours Prime Day grew even faster, year-over-year, than the first ten hours last year,” Amazon boasted in a press release.

According to Feedvisor, an e-commerce software provider, Amazon was able to sell 54% more in the first four hours of Prime Day when compared to last year, Bloomberg reported. The first hour, however, sales were down 5% when compared to last year.

Still, the website issues, which included broken links and the site going down for a period of time, frustrated a lot of customers. Some threatened to cancel their Amazon Prime account, which is required to shop the sales, because of the issues.

Customers began to flood social media when the issues started, with 80% of posts on Twitter about the website crash reflecting anger, according to Crimson Hexagon, an analytics company. Net sentiment remained high on Prime Day overall, however, with a dip in the middle.

“Yesterday shows that even Amazon isn’t immune and regardless of the retailer, discounts alone aren’t enough and without a seamless, enjoyable experience, the consumer will go elsewhere,” said Robin Copland, vice president at marketing firm Huge, which partners with retailers.

That means that, although customers are increasingly tied to Amazon and addicted to its services, if those services start to suffer, customers will start to look elsewhere.

“Amazon’s business model has trained consumers to expect heavy discounts 365 days a year – so Prime Day isn’t the shiny object it once was – with an easy, hassle-free and enjoyable shopping experience,” Copland said. “When there are technical glitches or anything that creates friction with the experience, we know that users abandon their carts at a much higher rate. In the case of the Prime Day glitch, users who were already ‘primed’ to shop may have in fact gone to competitor sites such as Target and Macy’s, who were offering their own discounts this week.”

Amazon has seen similar issues with its Prime two-day shipping and Amazon Fresh services, where customers become very upset if they view the service is in any way falling behind the high bar Amazon has set for itself.

Prime customers are hugely important to Amazon, as they are known as the site’s most frequent and valuable customers.

Last year’s Prime Day began later in the day, with deals starting at 9 p.m. ET on July 10 and running through July 11. This year the 36-hour event began at 3 p.m. on Monday, and it continues through the end of Tuesday, July 17.