There are still hours left to go until the end of Amazon's third annual Prime Day — the self-created sale holiday during which the e-commerce giant offers hundreds of thousands of rolling discounts for members of its subscription service. Yet for some small businesses, it's already paying off big.
For first-time participant Simply Gum, based in New York City, Prime Day has already surpassed all expectations, giving the company a lift of 1,371 percent in sales.
Prime Day discounts started the night of July 10, and the natural chewing gum company's first Lightning Deal sold out in just six hours, "before we woke up this morning," says founder Caron Proschan in a statement.
That offer was 20 percent off six packs of assorted gums on Prime Day, which usually sell for $15.99 on Amazon. Simply Gum is also offering 20 percent off the brand's new mints for the rest of Prime week.
To prepare for the sale, Proschan promoted it on Simply Gum's Instagram and partnered with Amazon on videos and a press release to garner extra reach.
"Prime Day has really proven to be one of the most important days of the year for our business, not only in terms of sales lift, but also in terms of generating brand awareness and exposure," says Proschan.
Boston-based Willow & Everett, a high-end kitchen products company, participated in Prime Day for the second year in a row after seeing a bump of more than 10 times its typical daily sales numbers last year. On Monday evening the company had already seen an increase of nearly 15 times its typical daily sales.
"It blew us out of the water last year," says Camille Arneberg, who co-owns the two-and-a-half-year-old company with her husband, Ben. "We prepared months ago by increasing our inventory and making sure we had enough in stock for the various lightning deals.
"Even if you're not running a deal across the board, you still need more of things in stock to be prepared," says Arneberg.
The company had deals on copper mugs, tea pots and more. It sold out of more than 2,000 of the brand's salt and pepper shakers in a few hours, retailing at a discounted $14.99 from the company's normal price tag of $24.99.
Set to up their Prime Day presence this year, small businesses and entrepreneurs will offer 50 percent more Prime Day Lightning Deals than last year and more than 40 percent of all Lightning Deals will come from small retailers, says Amazon. (The sale ends at midnight P.T.)
Last year on Prime Day customers ordered more than 20 million items from small businesses and entrepreneurs across more than 50 categories, according to Amazon. In 2015, that number was at 14 million items from small sellers.
To participate, sellers have 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, says the company.
Willow & Everett are already gearing up for next year.
"Overall, it's a great opportunity to get new customers into your brand's ecosystem," says Arneberg.
"Even though a lot of [retailers] are selling product on razor-thin profit margins, it's worth it because the traffic is so high and because of the exposure we get."
Plus, says Arneberg, "Summer is a slow time for online sales, so Prime Day is a great way to help online retailers get through [to] the holiday season."
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