Amazon’s Sunday Delivery Challenges Traditional Thinking - Modern Distribution Management

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Amazon’s Sunday Delivery Challenges Traditional Thinking

The current revenue impact of Amazon on B-to-B may be limited, but its out-of-the-box thinking may challenge markets in the future.

In a survey of MDM readers on the impact of Amazon on their businesses, nearly two-thirds of distributor respondents said the e-tailer had not had a direct impact on their revenues. About 20 percent said they weren’t sure.

Less than half of manufacturers that responded said it had not had a direct impact on their revenues; 18 percent said they weren’t sure.

While the current impact of Amazon and its B-to-B industrial supplies platform seems to be minimal – at least from a financial perspective – the truth is that Amazon's willingness to innovate in how it serves its customers will have an impact, especially in markets where businesses are reluctant to try new things.

This week’s announcement from Amazon that it will start shipping to customers on Sundays through a partnership with the U.S. Postal Service is its latest example of thinking outside of the box. For now, the service will be in Los Angeles and New York, but reports say that the company plans to expand it nationwide over the next couple of years.

Combined with plans to implement same-day shipping, this development further challenges traditional thinking about commerce – online and off. Amazon Prime membership, a program where customers pay $79 a year for free two-day shipping on most items, has largely succeeded at least on a revenue level. According to several analyses (including this one from 2013 and this one from 2011) Amazon Prime members’ revenue growth may be up to two times that of those who are not Prime members. It has also further tied customers to the Amazon platform.

For Amazon, it’s all about making it easier for the customer to buy, removing all excuses from clicking the Add to Cart button. There are lessons to be learned from this way of thinking, no matter how you feel about the online giant.

As we’ve reported, customer expectations for user-friendly e-commerce and distribution network efficiency have already started to shift. “In many ways, Amazon has become synonymous with e-commerce,” Don Schalk, president of specialty building products distributor C.H. Briggs Co., told MDM in Amazon & Google’s B-to-B Play.

Read more about MDM readers’ take on the impact of Amazon and Google on B-to-B markets in the recent article, Amazon & Google’s B-to-B Play.

I spoke with Chester Collier, senior vice president of global distribution for manufacturer Walter Surface Technology, for this month’s audio segment of 7 Minutes With … on the importance of innovation in both products and services. Look for that interview at the end of this week at

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