CALGARY -- The day after Canadian thanksgiving has never been considered a day for deals, until now.

Amazon Prime Day, usually a shopping event in the summer was delayed until Tuesday and Wednesday of this week because of the pandemic. Local businesses are hoping to cash in.

“Prime Day will definitely bring (a) significant amount of traffic to Amazon and to our store.

Having a sale on Prime Day will give us more reach to more customers and essentially help us establish our brand to more households,” said Chen Deng, co-founder of Calgary-based LAMOSE, which makes reusable drinkware, which can be customized with free engraving.

Amazon Canada’s Storefront showcases dozens of small and medium-sized businesses including LAMOSE, which is offering 35 per cent off its products, aimed at reducing single-use plastic waste.

Deng said lately online sales have been stronger than in-store at Southcentre Mall.

“For us to survive through the pandemic definitely we have to get our sales going. To do that we have to reach more audience and online is the easiest way for us to continue to do that,” said Chen, who is hoping for a boost in sales this week.

Chen Deng

During Prime Day, Amazon marks down millions of items in many product categories for its Prime members. The event is to build loyalty with its subscribers and hook new shoppers to the program.

Retail analysts say Amazon is unofficially kicking off holiday shopping season, forcing other retailers to consider early sales.

“It will be a good move to offer sales as long as they can afford it and as long as they can have offerings that are different than what Amazon has to offer, or at least stand out enough to persuade consumers to buy and buy products from them,” said Mohammed El Hazzouri, Associate Professor in Marketing, Mount Royal University, Bissett School of Business.

El Hazzouri said its too early to predict what the impact will be on sales figures and whether numbers will surpass Black Friday, Cyber Monday or Boxing Day numbers, but what is clear, people are spending differently because of COVID-19.

“They would be buying things that could be used at home that would make the lockdown, or the staying at home more of a pleasant experience. Or they could be shopping for outdoor activities or equipment for outdoor activities like winter sports,” said El Hazzouri, who notes the last few months have been monumental for online sales.

Pandemic provides boost to e-commerce

The pandemic has given a boost to e-commerce spending. In July, Statistics Canada said online sales hit a record $3.9 billion in May, a a 2.3 per cent increase over April and 99.3 per cent increase over February.

“People are now more comfortable in buying online and people who have not tried online shopping before are now trying online shopping which makes online shopping and online sales a much more important aspect for any retail business,” said El Hazzouri, adding people want to buy products seamlessly.

Canada Post is bracing for a Christmas capacity crunch, with significant parcel volumes expected.

“The rapid escalation in demand for parcel delivery is expected to continue into the holiday season and beyond as more Canadians plan to do their shopping online,” said Canada Post in a news release on its website. “To help Canadians avoid disappointment and support businesses across the country, we’re asking them to break with tradition and shop early this holiday season.”

Canada Post said it is adding thousands of temporary seasonal employees, delivering on weekends in many communities and extending hours at post offices, while continuing to follow public health guidelines, but some costs are also increasing.

Some customers have been notified, peak surcharges are being added to shipping costs from November 9, 2020 to January 10, 2021.

The surcharge for oversized items will increase from $12 to $20. The surcharge for out of spec items will increase from $125 to $300.

“This applies only to large items like furniture that are difficult to move while maintaining physical distancing or heavy and odd-shaped items that are a challenge to process. This does not impact the majority of the parcels we process and deliver,” said Canada Post in an email to CTV News.