Amazon Prime Day 2019 is Right Around the Corner: What’s in Store This Year?

We have, more than once in recent years, questioned whether the etail giant Amazon would properly prepare for their annual Prime Day in terms of accommodating a massive influx of traffic while maintaining website uptime and performance. Prime Day is now right around the corner and the deal hunters who flock to Amazon to take advantage of the deep discounts are wondering if, this year, the site will finally operate without downtime interruptions and serious performance problems. Here’s what we know about the upcoming Amazon Prime Day, the mistakes of Prime Days passed, and whether Amazon is taking steps to prevent downtime and performance issues during the 2019 two-day annual sale.

Prime Day is Now 12 Hours Longer

In past years, Amazon Prime Day was 24 hours. Then it turned into a 36-hour sale. This year, however, Amazon is shaking things up a bit and is extending the sale to a full 48 hours. What does this mean? First, people who are looking to take advantage of the 2019 Prime Day deals now have more time to shop the deals (assuming Amazon doesn’t run out of products). It also means that Amazon must be able to maintain website uptime and quality performance throughout these two days when, historically, they have had a hard time maintaining functionality of the site during the 24 and 36-hour sales. Now that Prime Day is a full two-day sale, the company must work even harder to ensure that its site can accommodate two days’ worth of massive traffic influxes and heavy bandwidth usage, especially with a million deals being put on the site for customers to browse and choose from.

What Happened Last Year

What happened last year wasn’t a one-time occurrence. Prime Day launches have historically had problems with consumers being unable to connect to the Amazon website or, if they do connect, experiencing significant performance issues. This year Amazon is anticipating $2.4 billion dollars in sales from the 2019 Amazon Prime Day event. If they want to realize that goal and the profits that go with it, they are going to need to make changes to avoid unnecessary website downtime and finally, hopefully, understand that downtime and performance issues equate to decreased sales and increased consumer frustration.

As we saw last year, problems with the Amazon site began to occur shortly after the sale was launched. Some people saw Amazon’s “dog pages” which indicate website errors when they tried accessing pages of the site. Others were able to access the site and its pages, but kept getting errors during checkout or frustrating redirects, items disappearing from shopping carts, delayed mobile alerts, and searches that returned absolutely no search results. Many consumers were also caught in a “shop all deals” loop in which the link to shop all deals was clicked, bringing consumers right back to the “shop all deals” option without actually taking them to the list of items on sale. These issues, combined, resulted in losses of approximately $1.2 million per minute for each minute of downtime that Amazon experienced, with some estimating that the total losses ranged from $70 to $100 million dollars.

So exactly why did Amazon run into these issues during last year’s Prime Day? According to CNBC, one of the primary problems was that Amazon failed to secure the number of servers necessary to cope with the demands being put on the website at the launch of the sale. In short, they failed to properly plan accommodation for such a massive influx of traffic. Then, in somewhat of a domino effect, a cascading series of failures began to knock out other key services provided by Amazon. What’s worse is all of this began during the first 15 minutes of the sale’s launch.

What Can We Expect This Year?

Amazon isn’t forging into this year’s Prime Day without competition. Both Target and eBay and other large retailers are launching deep-discount sales of their own. What does this mean for Amazon in terms of website downtime? If Amazon can’t keep their site up and running during the Prime Day 2019 event, customers have other options and will not waste time clicking the refresh button this year. If the failures we have seen in the past occur on Prime Day 2019, Amazon is going to take a much larger hit in terms of profit loss as consumers will flock to the competition rather than simply waiting for Amazon to come back up or waiting for the site to work properly.

We do know that Amazon’s CEO of Worldwide Sales, Jeff Wilke, has demanded improvements to prevent this year’s Prime Day event from becoming a repeat of what we saw last year. We know their tech teams have been working to improve the site’s architecture. Whether the measures taken will be enough to keep the Amazon website up and running throughout the Prime Day 2019 event is yet to be seen. Hopefully, this year, Amazon will put some of the technology used to provide their AWS services to work for themselves and show the world that they are indeed capable of handling an event as large as Prime Day. Only time will tell, but we will be watching.