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Over the past two years, and Google Shopping for Suppliers launched as new players in an already competitive B-to-B landscape. This article provides more details on these two platforms and examines their current and potential impact on the wholesale distribution industry, as well as the challenges and opportunities they bring. Distributors also spoke with MDM about what they are doing to stay relevant as business increasingly moves online.

This article includes:

  • The roles Amazon & Google are assuming in the B-to-B marketplace
  • Results from an MDM survey
  • Analysis of the impact of Amazon on distributor & manufacturer sales & profitability

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  • Beyond Amazon: E-Commerce's Impact on Wholesale Distribution Markets
  • Beware the Amazon Mystique
  • The Shifting Competitive Landscape in Distribution

Every marketer in industrial and commercial markets should pay close attention to what Amazon is doing. But don’t let them drive your strategy. Don’t give them the keys to your strategy; don’t even let them near your strategy. They have the resources to do well enough on their own without your help. And yet, that is exactly what is happening on a widespread basis today.

If you sell through an Amazon Webstore platform, as many distributors do, you are providing … recently launched, a B-to-B website with more than 500,000 products across 14 categories in industrial and lab supplies. This article, with input from distributors, manufacturers, service providers and industry consultants, examines the potential impact of Amazon’s move into industrial markets. MDM also outlines the next steps for distributors looking to compete more effectively in an increasingly crowded market.

With a broad product offering, name recognition and years of e-commerce best practices under its belt, Amazon and its new industrial marketplace – – should not be discounted as a competitor to independent distributors.

That’s what many industry consultants, distributors and manufacturers say about Amazon’s recent announcement that it would serve the B-to-B market in a formal and more aggressive way by selling more than 500,000 industrial and lab supply products across 14 categories at

While Amazon has been growing its sales of these products over the past few years, signals a much more serious intent to compete in industrial and commercial markets.

The Details
Amazon is capitalizing on what Grainger, MSC and other large MRO distributors call “unplanned spend” for MRO supplies. Grainger in the past has put the percentage of unplanned spend for MRO as high as 75 percent of all purchases in the category. That’s a huge opportunity.

It’s also homing in...