As Amazon’s Prime Day sales extravaganza draws to a close, one small business has seen sales up tenfold compared to BAU, and surpassed its biggest sales day twice in as many days.
It’s also seen a 500% uptick in sales on non-discounted items.
Founded in October 2017, Zenify was among the earliest businesses to join the Amazon Prime platform in Australia, founder Andonis Sakatis tells SmartCompany.
Zenify is an e-commerce profit-for-purpose business, Sakatis explains. A proportion of all products produced for the company are donated to worthy, and related, causes.
For example, sales from the Zenify Pets brand have contributed to the donation of dog bowls, games and equipment to animal rescue charities, while products from the Zenify Earth brand are donated to support sustainability causes.
For a while, that was the business’ primary sales platform. And, over the past three years, Zenify has seen month-on-month revenue growth of 30% to 35%, on average, Sakatis says.
Typically, sales events such as Black Friday, Cyber Monday and Amazon’s own Prime Day have led to record-breaking sales days for the business.
But, over the past two days, sales have been particularly strong.
By 1pm, the first day of the event had become the business’ biggest sales day ever. The second day surpassed that record again.
“Every single record-breaking day we’ve had has been about ten times the usual daily volume for that month,” Sakatis explains.
“When you consider how that eclipses the previous six months or the previous year, it really does push the boat out.”
For a small business like Zenify, part of the benefit is in brand discovery. Events like Prime Day put the brand in front of Amazon users who may not have discovered it otherwise.
It also brings newcomers to the platform, where they too may discover a local small business they didn’t expect to find there.
“People are searching for local brands,” the founder says.
“They want to shop local during a time they perhaps can’t get out and can’t get physically to the shops down the road … they want to do that in a way that is supported by their everyday life now,” he adds.
“We want to take that local feel and emulate that with an online experience,” Sakatis says.
“You’re meeting them halfway”
All of this success comes against the backdrop of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
It’s been a challenging time for all small businesses, Sakatis notes.
“But everyone has different challenges,” he says.
For Zenify, the rapid shift towards online shopping has led to a huge surge in demand.
“An increased demand seems like a great thing, but actually it creates more work and problems,” he adds.
“You have to make sure you can step into that opportunity gap.”
As well as the e-commerce boom, Sakatis is seeing some of the other COVID-19 lockdown trends reflected in sales.
Its puppy gift box, for example, was its biggest Prime Day seller.
“We essentially did our best possible deal on that product,” he says.
“We felt it was a great way to reach as wide an audience as possible.”
With the Zenify Earth brand, beeswax wraps and bamboo toothbrushes were big sellers, Sakatis notes.
The success of the food wraps is something he’s particularly proud of.
“It’s a product which supports local artists, and it’s a product people will consider and swap out for their everyday use,” he explains.
“People may be a little bit reluctant to change their habits.
“But when they get the opportunity to try something, when you’re meeting them halfway by giving them a great deal, they’re pleasantly surprised.”
“We get rewarded”
This extended reach and brand recognition is part of what makes events like these worthwhile for Zenify, Sakatis says.
There has been criticism that Amazon takes a large chunk of the profits during discount events like this, leaving very slim margins for small businesses.
When asked whether small businesses are really getting a good deal here, Sakatis admits opinions are split.
“You’re going to get so many different answers and different perspectives depending on how they approach the event,” he says.
But, he feels the brand recognition piece is worth it.
“You will find your brands will be discovered more and you will get more sales,” he says.
“There’s a very good chance those people will come back.”
And, he notes that about 50% of his sales during Prime Day were on non-discounted items.
Sakatis also sees it as an extension of Zenify’s ‘pay-it-forward’ ethos.
Significant discounts are a way to give something back to customers, whether they’re repeat visitors or not. He scratches the customer’s back, and they scratch his.
“They’re trying something that is somewhat new and different,” he adds.
“We get rewarded for that.”