Since the March 31 launch of COVID-19 Supplies on Amazon Business in the United States, the company has worked with thousands of distributors — many new to Amazon Business — to deliver more than 100 million essential health and safety products to health care and government organizations across the U.S.
Supplies such as face shields, surgical masks, ventilators, digital thermometers, exam gloves, medical gowns, sanitizers and wipes have been sent to more than half of the top-100 hospital systems in the country and to 44 of the 50 state governments, according to Amazon.
Also see: “Agile Price Management in the COVID-19 Era.”
Now expanded to Canada, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Japan and India, COVID-19 Supplies does not make a profit, Amazon says, and all standard referral fees for third-party sellers that are supplying products for this effort have been waived.
“We’re using our expertise and resources to find, distribute, and deliver these vital products to help alleviate the supply shortages affecting those on the front lines,” says Alexandre Gagnon, vice president of Amazon Business Worldwide, in a release. “I’m proud of our teams who have engaged with thousands of new manufacturers and suppliers around the world to source products for this effort.”
Adds Jason Javaherian, owner of dental supply distributor PlastCare USA in Canoga Park, California, “The COVID store provides a trusted platform backed by Amazon to sell our brand of PPE products to frontline responders at speed. Amazon took a big step in reducing referral fees to zero to provide transparent pricing to those in need, putting health and wellbeing in front of profits, which makes me a proud Amazon seller and customer.”
New Business Relationships
MDM spoke with Amazon about COVID-19 Supplies and its relationship with distributors.
MDM: How have third-party sellers (distributors) played a part in making the Amazon Business COVID-19 Supplies initiative a success?
Amazon: Supplies of this critical inventory are in extremely high demand from hospitals and government organizations. Teams across Amazon are working with suppliers, manufacturers, distributors and wholesalers to procure inventory to help alleviate supply shortages affecting health care professionals and organizations on the front lines as quickly as possible.
In order to meet the considerable demand for PPE, the Amazon Business team engaged with thousands of new suppliers and waived third-party referral fees for COVID-19 Supplies. We worked with suppliers who already manufacture these types of products, as well as those who shifted their manufacturing capabilities in response to the need. Some of our noted suppliers, like Anker Innovations, even donated millions of products to Amazon Business customers, utilizing our logistics and shipping capabilities.
MDM: Is everyone coming in through this sign-up page or are you otherwise recruiting participants?
Amazon: Selling partners interested in making PPE available in our stores can visit sell.amazon.com/.”
MDM: What kind of response have you had from the distribution industry — particularly those in the safety, JanSan and MRO sectors?
Amazon: We’ve been amazed by the positive response: Certain brands saw the way we were rapidly helping health care and government organizations through COVID-19 Supplies and wanted to join the ranks of those providing access to their products when other channels ran dry.
We hear from customers that disinfectants and commercial cleaning supplies continue to be in high demand. We are securing inventory from both new and existing manufacturers. Note that, in those first few weeks, we needed to forge new relationships with selling partners in order to meet the considerable demand. The team engaged with thousands of new manufacturers and suppliers to get inventory. And it was important from the start that this new service for communities be as accessible as possible, so Amazon does not make a profit and all standard referral fees for third-party sellers supplying products for this effort have been waived.
In addition, the types of U.S. customers that came to us through COVID-19 Supplies ranged from federal agencies with dozens of national offices to ambulatory groups, fire departments and police stations in the far-reaching corners of the country, to those individually run, rural medical clinics who were all struggling to find available inventory.
MDM: Can you say how many participating distributors were already selling on Amazon Business versus joined for the first time via this initiative?
Amazon: We engaged with thousands of new manufacturers and suppliers around the globe.
For more on distributor operations and impacts during the COVID-19 pandemic, join us each Friday for our weekly MDM Live webcasts. Register here for free.