The 2020 Mid-Year Economic Update_long

Amazon Reinvents B2B Model

Amazon Business includes marketplace that allows companies to sell through Amazon.
Eric-Smith-84x84

The "significant change" that an analyst projected for AmazonSupply finally came to fruition this week when Amazon closed that entity and launched Amazon Business in its place.

"We've heard the B2B traction has been pretty limited," Chris Hodson of Cleveland Research Co. said of AmazonSupply at the United Stationers' show for suppliers and customers in February. The "sun-setting" of AmazonSupply was inevitable because Amazon is still "not thought of as a B2B company," and it has no field sales reps and very little marketing.

Amazon Business is a "new marketplace on Amazon.com that combines the selection, convenience and value customers have come to know and love from Amazon, with new features and unique benefits tailored to businesses," according to the company's press release.

Prentis Wilson, the Amazon Business vice president who formerly led AmazonSupply, told me Tuesday that the company wanted to bring the "Amazon shopping experience" to the B2B realm because the model is so popular in its B2C space.

"(Customers) want the Amazon shopping experience when they're buying for work," Wilson said. "That's what we've provided them. Now they have it. Amazon Business is a marketplace that's dedicated to serving the needs of business customers of all sizes. It's also a marketplace that serves the needs of both sellers and manufacturers that sell to those business customers."

Wilson said the biggest difference from AmazonSupply is that Amazon Business is now open to sellers who can market and sell their products to other businesses, presenting another channel along with their own e-commerce or traditional ones.

Read more about e-commerce in distribution in 2015 State of E-Commerce in Distribution: E-Commerce on Path to Maturity

"We've been able to substantially expand upon AmazonSupply," Wilson said. "There's hundreds of millions of products available through Amazon Business to business customers. In addition, business customers have access to millions of sellers."

Amazon Business features free two-day shipping on orders of $49 or more, multiuser accounts, procurement system integration, tracking of purchasing approval, business-only selections and more.

Look for more on this development, including additional insight from Wilson, as well as comments from Petra Schindler-Carter, director/general manager for Amazon Business Marketplace, in the May 10 premium issue of Modern Distribution Management.

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