MDM Podcast: Amazon Business is Just Getting Started - Modern Distribution Management

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MDM Podcast: Amazon Business is Just Getting Started

The B2B marketplace’s worldwide director, Todd Heimes, joins us to discuss how Amazon Business is constantly innovating to cater to today’s B2B buyer, and why it sees immense opportunity ahead.
Amazon Business Pod

Amazon Business has been the elephant in the room for distributors ever since its days as AmazonSupply (2012-2015).  

And for good reason.

Over $35 billion in annual gross merchandise volume now moves through the business supplies marketplace — an eye-opening jump from $25 billion just two years earlier. 

MDM has frequently posted articles and whitepapers over the past few years about how to achieve the digital buying experience that customers are looking for, and what customers are looking for is the Amazon-like experience that they know from their personal shopping. Distributors continue to try and emulate it in their own eCommerce offering, whereas Amazon Business has offered that from its inception.

Amazon Business was No. 2 on MDM’s 2022 Top Industrial Distributors List and placed in the top six in each of the four years prior. But after a reconsideration, we decided to omit Amazon Business for our 2023 rankings due to its very different business model than that of distributors. Amazon Business is a B2B marketplace platform and not technically a distributor. Nevertheless, it’s one of the biggest disruptors to traditional distribution today.

With distributors always interested in what Amazon Business is up to, I’ve long wanted to have an executive from the platform on the MDM Podcast, and I was thrilled when the company recently obliged. Our latest episode features a conversation with Todd Heimes, who is the Director and General Manager of Amazon Business Worldwide. 

Heimes began with Amazon back in 1999 as a program manager, back when the company was still primarily known for selling books and music CDs. So he’s been able to watch Amazon’s global expansion over the past 25 years, and has led Amazon Business’ international growth for most of the past decade.

We discussed what that expansion view has been like from his front-row seat; the challenges of scaling the B2B marketplace at such a rapid pace; how Amazon Business caters to small and large businesses and the nuance in-between; Amazon Business’ role as the trend-setter in B2B digital procurement; and more.

Based on what he told me, our audience can certainly expect the platform to continue to gain scale as a channel for distributors and manufacturers to leverage.

Said Heimes:

“The opportunity that we see in the procurement space is very, very large. We have just gotten started in this space. At Amazon, we start with our customers and we look backwards, and we look at all the opportunities that we see right now. Customers are asking for a lot of innovation and the ability to buy smarter and to make better intuitive decisions when they’re trying to procure items for their businesses. So we focus on building innovative solutions in the procurement space for these customers. And we know that the more that we can help these customers reduce time spent on procurement, the more they’re able to focus on what matters most to them, which is their core mission and their customers.”

Amazon Business’ latest innovation for customers is its pay-over-time option that was announced Nov. 1. Through an expanded partnership with payment network Affirm, the marketplace now enables customers to split the total cost of eligible purchases and pay over time with Affirm without late or hidden fees.

Listen to the podcast episode via the audio player above, and you can find all of our past MDM Podcasts via our library for them here.

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