Amazon Takes On B2B With Launch Of Marketplace

Amazon has launched a new marketplace that caters to the business community, and it’s got a name that’s easy to remember: Amazon Business.

The section on hit the site yesterday (April 28) and brings the same experience shoppers have on onto a site that’s specifically geared to bring benefits to its business customers. This includes offering products that range from IT and lab equipment, to education and food supplies and more, the company said. Similar to Amazon Prime, Amazon Business customers are eligible for free two-day shipping on millions of items. They also have the ability to have multi-user business accounts, approval workflow, payment solutions, tax exemptions and dedicated customer support.

“We’ve heard from business customers that they love the convenience of shopping online, and want an experience at work that is similar to how they shop at home,” Prentis Wilson, Vice President of Amazon Business, said in a company release. “Amazon Business delivers a new and expanded marketplace that brings the selection, convenience and value of Amazon to business customers, manufacturers and sellers with the additional selection, features and back-end integration businesses need to save time and money.”

Outside of the features listed above, Amazon Business offers purchasing system integration, order tracking and access to an Amazon Corporate Credit Line.

“We’re consistently listening to feedback from customers so we can innovate, deliver more value and set a new standard for B2B eCommerce with Amazon Business,” Wilson said. “We think this is an experience that businesses will love and a great opportunity for manufacturers and sellers to reach registered business customers. It’s only the beginning for this new marketplace – we will continue to build out features in areas like product support, payments, shipping and pricing.”

Outside of using a credit card on Amazon Business, Wilson said businesses can apply for the Amazon Corporate Credit Line which offers expanded user and management options, including authorizing multiple buyers on a single account, downloading order history reports, and paying by purchase order.

So how did Amazon Business come to become its own marketplace? Wilson gave PYMNTS the scoop in an interview.

“We’ve been working on this for quite some time and are excited to share this new shopping experience with customers, manufacturers and sellers,” Wilson wrote in an email. “The innovations we’ve delivered up until now enable millions of customers to spend billions of dollars annually on business-related purchases on Amazon. With the launch of Amazon Business, we have a platform to continue innovating in this area. We think this is an experience that businesses will love and a great opportunity for manufacturers and sellers to reach registered business customers. It’s only the beginning for this new marketplace – we will continue to build out features in areas like technical support, payments, shipping and pricing.”

In terms of unique benefits, Wilson said that Amazon provides manufactures and sellers with a more personal and trusted eCommerce platform that allows them to better serve their own customers — which, he noted, are going online more and more for their purchases. Sellers also like the ability to reach registered business customers, he said, and having the business-only pricing or quantity discount.

“Manufacturers love getting closer to their customers and having additional insight into customer needs, as well as how their products are being adopted in the industry. A solution we just started piloting, Live Expert, has been particularly popular as it enables manufacturers to engage directly with and learn from the end-customer,” Wilson said. “We hear from manufacturers that we’re helping them reach customers that they have never been able to reach before because of our vast selection and the fact that anyone, anywhere can discover a product that is in-stock and ready to ship. They also appreciate the fact that Amazon is brand-agnostic — we let the customer decide which items they purchase for their business.”

Wilson highlighted that Amazon Business can help save time and money by changing the way businesses make purchases. But how exactly how does Amazon believe it can help businesses achieve this?

The new multi-seller marketplace enables customers to view multiple offers on a single product page for easy price comparisons, as well as shop sellers that consistently meet the performance and service requirements that businesses expect,” Wilson said. “Amazon Business customers will also enjoy a unique search, browse and shopping experience that is tailored specifically to business purchasing.”

This move by Amazon comes just weeks after Amazon was reportedly inquiring with its business customers as to how they would like to manage their orders and invoicing over the platform. Amazon was reportedly polling its sellers about their experiences.

Now, however, it’s clear why Amazon was asking its business customers what they wanted — to bring them their own marketplace.