Small business sold 24K hammocks on Prime Day, Amazon's biggest sales day ever

The Amazon Fulfillment Centre in Hemel Hempstead, England.
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Amazon wasn't the only one to have a record-breaking sales day on its retail holiday, Prime Day. Small businesses like Canadian retailer Vivere are calling it a win as well, after seeing its biggest sales day ever yesterday.

Ontario-based Vivere sold a whopping 24,000 hammocks on Prime Day this year. The company was sold out by 1:30 p.m. pacific time, according to sales manager Gary Pepper. Vivere dropped its retail price from $129.97 to $79.97 for the big day and was featured as a "Deal of the Day" by Amazon.

"The exposure alone makes the discounts worth it," Pepper says. "You can accept a lower price because you make up for it in volume."

For context, last Black Friday, Vivere sold 14,000 units, and on an average month it sells 4,000 hammocks, Pepper says. This was its first time participating in Prime Day, and orders continued at full price from third-party sellers once fulfillment centers ran out of its product.

Amazon said the self-created holiday, which featured more than 100,000 rolling deals for Prime members on July 12, was its biggest sales day ever as well, with worldwide orders rising more than 60 percent over last year. In the U.S., orders were up by more than 50 percent.

Small biz sizing up Amazon Prime
Small biz sizing up Amazon Prime

The event has been a boon for small businesses too. Last year 34 million items were sold, and 14 million of them were sold by Amazon's small sellers and businesses. (Comparable numbers were not made immediately available in this year's release.)

To participate, sellers had to discount their products by at least 20 percent and use Amazon fulfillment to ship orders. Amazon charges sales fees of 15 percent on average, depending on retail categories, the company says.

Other small sellers like Debbie Bean, a Los Angeles-based artisan who sells on Handmade at Amazon, a store that features handcrafted goods, had great success Tuesday. Bean says that on Prime Day she also had her single best sales day since she began selling on Amazon last year.

"I saw a 700 percent increase compared to an average sales day," Bean says. "I listed 18 different items and entered varying quantities based on what I had in stock and what I could make to order with a quick turnaround, and I sold out of one item."

Another Handmade seller, Madres Jewelry, a nonprofit jewelry retailer based in Petaluma, California, saw sales double from its average day, but did not sell out of product.

Meanwhile Rainier Wine, a small Seattle-based winery, was glad to see major sales during a typically slow summer season.

"Summer sales on Amazon Wine are quite slow," says Damian Davis, the owner of Rainier Wine. "Prime sales were up nearly six times over the daily average of 2016 summer, from Memorial Day through Tuesday."

And stats like that make the e-commerce giant's fees well worth it for some.