This July 12 marked the start of Amazon's eighth year of Prime Day sales, a two-day deal extravaganza, which, according to early estimates, delivered Christmas in July for many small businesses

Prime users saved $1.7 billion -- the most savings of any Prime Day thus far, said the e-commerce giant in a press release. In the U.S., Prime members purchased more than 60,000 products per minute throughout the sale.

This year was also the largest Prime Day turnout for the smaller companies that sell their wares on Amazon's platform. Nearly 2 million small and midsize businesses participated in this year's Prime Day, amounting to $3 billion in sales on more than 100 million products in the three weeks leading up to the highly anticipated event. Small business sales growth on Amazon even outpaced the site's own retail business. The company was unable to supply an estimate for its own retail sales during the event in time for publication. 

Here are three changes Amazon made this year to help small businesses ring in added sales:

Gave them a badge.

In an attempt to key in on small businesses and make it easier for Prime members to shop and discover these sellers on the platform, Amazon launched a Small-Business Badge. The badge lets users know they are purchasing from a small business. Amazon additionally curates collections from black-owned, military-family-owned, and woman-owned businesses in its store for customers to shop. 

Gamified its sales

The platform offered members chances to win prizes for every $1 spent on eligible small-business products leading up to the annual sale. The "Support Small Businesses to Win Big" sweepstakes offered thousands of gift card prizes as well as larger prizes such as trips for two to New York City, the Super Bowl, and Los Angeles. A total of 114,289 winners won prizes totaling $11,687,500. The initiative is seen as a counterpoint to criticisms that the company deliberately throttles small businesses and third-party sellers on its platform. 

Amped up the multimedia

Throughout the two-day sale, Amazon had live streams on its platform for consumers to review some of the deals. The site partnered with thousands of creators, who each shared their own Prime Day deals. The Amazon Live Prime Day streams had more than 100 million views.

Corrections and amplifications: An earlier version of this article misstated an aspect of Amazon's small business badge. The badge only identifies small businesses.