The Brief, December 2021: News from Amazon and Amazon Ads

20 December 2021

Welcome to The Brief, our monthly round-up of news from Amazon and Amazon Ads.In this month’s edition of The Brief, we’ll share how Amazon kicked off the holidays with a 48-hour Black Friday event, and more! Plus, the latest retailers to adopt Amazon’s Just Walk Out technology, and a new fan-polling feature available on X-Ray for Thursday Night Football.

Amazon in the news

BFCM shopping deals

This year, Amazon’s 48-hour Black Friday event offered more deals than ever before, featuring products from well-known brands and companies to small businesses and independent artisans. Plus, all holiday season customers have access to expertly curated guides to help them find the perfect gifts for family and friends this holiday season. The event featured thousands of deals from Amazon’s independent selling partners, most of which are small and medium-sized businesses, including deals from women-owned, military family-owned and Black-owned businesses.

Customers looking for inspiration can also shop from Amazon’s largest selection of gift guides, including favourites like Stocking Stuffers, Customers’ Most Loved, and Holiday Toy List, along with guides focused on Electronics, Fashion and Beauty. Newly released gift guides include Oprah’s Favorite Things, Expert Picks Gift Guide and the Luxury Stores Gift Guide.1

Following, the 48-hour Black Friday event Amazon’s Cyber Monday deals weekend kicked off on Saturday, 27 November through Monday, 29 November, offering customers thousands of deals and savings on must-have products and gifts. Amazon Live held various livestream events on Cyber Monday that showcased a curated selection of the best deals, product demonstrations, try-on hauls, and live chats hosted by celebrities and influencers.2

It was Amazon’s biggest kickoff to the holiday shopping season ever – Home, Toys and Apparel were among the top-selling categories from Black Friday through Cyber Monday.3

Supporting small businesses

More than half of all products purchased on Amazon are sold by third-party sellers, almost all of which are small and medium-sized businesses. Last year during the holidays, American sellers sold nearly one billion items. We know customers are always excited to support small businesses, and we continually invest to help them reach more customers, grow sales and create jobs in their communities. This holiday season, Amazon is helping customers find great gifts from small businesses with the “Meet me on Amazon” campaign, which is connecting shoppers with entrepreneurs, artisans and other small business owners.4

Holiday music

New music, artist merch, and podcast episodes arrived on Amazon Music in early November and throughout the season, including Amazon Original songs for the holidays from Alessia Cara, Norah Jones, She & Him, NEEDTOBREATHE, Switchfoot, JUDAH., Olivia Dean, La Oreja de Van Gogh and Lang Lang. In the last three years, the top 25 most popular holiday Amazon Original songs, from artists such as Katy Perry, John Legend and Justin Bieber, have surpassed 750 million streams globally.

For a limited time, customers who haven’t yet tried Amazon Music Unlimited can get three months free – with unlimited access to millions of podcast episodes and more than 75 million songs, ad-free, in the highest-quality streaming audio.5

New insights

Amazon’s immersive Black Friday Live in the UK

A screenshot of landing pages for Black Friday Live in the UK

We’ve all missed that opportunity to send a friend or loved one a gift because we didn’t have their address. Or maybe we wanted to spare them the hassle of returning a gift if it wasn’t quite what they wanted.

From cocktail-making with Laura Whitmore, an intimate music performance from Ray BLK to a Magic Breakfast book reading with Alesha Dixon, and a small business “task off” with entrepreneurs Spencer Matthews and Jamie Laing, there was something for everyone. A host of other stars joined the line-up, including a beauty Q&A with Vogue Williams, an exclusive livestreamed recording of Amazon Original +44 Podcast with Zeze Millz and Sideman, and a Prime Video Premier League preview with football legend and Prime Video pundit, Patrice Evra. Customers could also stop by while in London and join one of the exclusive ticketed events or watch from home.

The Black Friday experience featured dozens of immersive ways to find great deals on gifts, and some of the nation’s best-loved celebrities will join us for these star-studded events. And to top it off, customers could support small businesses during Black Friday Week with Amazon’s small business Gift Finder, small business spotlight and dedicated small business deals page.

Expansion of Just Walk Out technology

A person scanning a phone at a “Just Walk Out” device

When we first announced Just Walk Out technology would be available to other retailers in March 2020, we were met with a great deal of excitement, interest and opportunities from all corners of the globe.

Now, we have collaborated with Sainsbury’s – one of the largest supermarket chains in the UK – to enable a checkout-free convenience store powered by Amazon's Just Walk Out technology at their Holborn Circus location in the heart of London. Our work with Sainsbury’s means that they have become the first international business customer of Just Walk Out technology. The opening of the SmartShop Pick & Go also marks the first time Amazon has retrofitted a store with Just Walk Out technology, meaning the store uses Sainsbury's existing fixtures and fittings with our technology.

Just Walk Out technology is live in retail, hospitality and stadium environments and in many of Amazon’s own physical stores, like Amazon Go stores. In addition to our Amazon Go stores, Just Walk Out Shopping is currently available at several of our Amazon Fresh stores in the U.S. and the UK, and we also offer Just Walk Out technology to third-party retailers. And – starting next year – Whole Foods Market customers will have the option to save time shopping for groceries by skipping the checkout line at two Just Walk Out technology-enabled Whole Foods Market stores, one in Washington, D.C.’s Glover Park neighbourhood and one in Sherman Oaks, California.

Prime Video debuts fan polls on X-Ray for Thursday Night Football

Mobile view of X-Ray polling option

X-Ray for Thursday Night Football (TNF) on Prime Video is an exclusive feature that gives you real-time access to live stats, key insights, enhanced replays and more. The new feature allows you to dive into the Xs and Os of the game without taking your eyes off the screen or missing a play.

Starting with the 18 November Thursday Night Football Presented by Bud Light Platinum match-up between the Patriots and Falcons – kicking off at 5:20 p.m. PST – we’re making the X-Ray experience even more engaging and interactive. We'll be launching a new fan-polling feature (available on Android devices at launch) that asks you to predict “Who will score first?” or “Who will throw for the most yards in the first half?” For the first time ever on Prime Video, you’ll be able to put your sports knowledge to the test in real time, as you see how your answers stack up against other viewers across the country.

There are two opportunities to predict how the game will play out – once before kickoff and once during halftime. Questions will reflect the teams and athletes on the field, and will draw inspiration from social media, league storylines, fantasy sports and more. You’ll see live poll results that show how other viewers voted, and exactly how the community fared as predictive questions are resolved throughout the course of the game.

Here’s how to get started this season:

  1. Before kickoff
  2. Join the Prime Video TNF stream on any Android device. To begin, either select the fan polls notification, or open X-Ray by flipping your phone into portrait mode, then tap the “Fan Polls” tab.

  3. Once polls are open
  4. You can choose from the multiple-choice options to make your predictions. You’ll be able to edit your picks until polls are locked right before kickoff.

  5. Once the game begins
  6. You can see how other viewers responded. During the game, questions will be answered by outcomes on the field, and you can see the correct answers displayed within X-Ray.

  7. At halftime
  8. You will receive another notification to go back and predict how the game will end, with a list of new questions specific to the second half. Once again, polls lock at kickoff and are answered throughout the third and fourth quarters.

  9. At the end of the game
  10. All questions will appear, and results are visible within X-Ray. If you answered at least one question, you will receive a notification inviting you to check your results and see how you fared against other fans.

The new fan-polling feature for X-Ray on Thursday Night Football will continue to evolve over time, with more features and capabilities being added regularly. It is available on Android devices at launch, and will expand to other devices and sports properties next year.

Customer stories

SheaMoisture is inspiring the next generation of Black leaders

Since their founding in 1991, SheaMoisture has worked to support Black leaders. The brand is, after all, the legacy of Sofi Tucker, a mother of four and entrepreneur who sold homemade hair and skin products in Sierra Leone, which influenced beauty products throughout Africa in the early 1900s. Today, the brand continues with this mission to inspire Black women through product and purpose, led by Cara Sabin, one of few Black CEOs in the beauty industry.

The campaign vision

In October 2020, SheaMoisture approached Amazon Ads to help raise awareness for their brand story. Their vision was to connect SheaMoisture with customers and amplify Black voices. Together, they created a brand-specific landing page with a profile of Sabin where audiences could learn more about her, Black leaders, and SheaMoisture’s mission.

Today’s consumers expect brands to make a positive impact on society and act on issues in their community. According to a new Environics Research and Amazon Ads report, 80% of consumers in the United States support brands that are good corporate citizens, and 55% are more likely to purchase an item from a brand that is willing to take a stand on social issues.6

The approach

The campaign was featured on Amazon’s Black History Month event page through February of 2021, which helped introduce SheaMoisture to a wider audience. SheaMoisture also used ad solutions to promote the brand and landing page, while increasing their reach through the Amazon DSP.

Results

The custom landing page saw more than 60,000 page views and drove nearly 5,000 clicks to the SheaMoisture landing page.7 The campaign also reached more than 18 million unique users through their display media strategy.8 Along with highlighting the brand mission, the campaign helped SheaMoisture new audiences discover their products – 63% of the overall purchases through this initiative were new-to-brand.9

Sources

1 About Amazon, 2021
2 About Amazon, 2021
3 About Amazon, 2021
4 About Amazon, 2021
5 About Amazon News Release, 2021
6 Environics, Social Values Global Consumer Themes, 2021
7-9 Advertiser-provided data, SheaMoisture, 2021