Amazon plans ‘Summer Sale’ to lure shoppers back from Target and Walmart

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Amazon is preparing for a “Summer Sale” to lure back customers frustrated by shipping delays and other ordering woes that have plagued the e-tailing giant during the coronavirus pandemic.

Despite surging demand since the pandemic struck, Amazon has actually lost market share to rivals like Walmart and Target as weeks-long shipping delays and perpetually out-of-stock items have pushed customers to do more business with Amazon’s rivals.

Amazon now accounts for 34 cents out of every dollar Americans spend online, down from 42 cents before the outbreak, according to market research firm Rakuten Intelligence.

Meanwhile, rival Walmart has seen its online sales surge by 74 percent and Target has nabbed an increase of 141 percent.

Amazon was caught flat-footed in the early days of the pandemic by the rush of panic buying — especially for essential items and groceries — as well as complaints by front-line workers that they weren’t being protected from infection.

The company has been working out those kinks in recent weeks, including efforts to hire an additional 175,000 warehouse and delivery employees and offering warehouse workers an extra $2 an hour to work during the pandemic.

It is now shipping many more items within two days than it had over the past several months, according to a New York Times report, which first reported on the upcoming summer sale. It has also removed limits on the types of products that were allowed in its warehouses, which helped bog down deliveries.

“We know customers want their deliveries as quickly as possible and we are working hard to return all products to faster delivery speeds while helping keep our employees safe,” Amazon spokesperson Kate Scarpa told the Times.

Amazon’s Summer Sale is intended to let brands sell excess inventory, the Times said, citing an audio recording of an internal meeting discussing the promotion.

The sale could also help draw in customers looking forward to Prime Day, a marketing event Amazon started in 2015 to drum up sales during the summer shopping lull.

Earlier this week, the Wall Street Journal reported that Prime Day, which usually takes place in July, will be scheduled for September this year.

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