With its entry into India’s B2B eCommerce market only months ago, Amazon has made no secret of its support of and confidence in the nation’s rapidly developing market. That support may also be instilling confidence among other suppliers on the fence as to whether they should invest in digital commerce operations.
According to Monday (June 8) reports, major manufacturer and supplier 3M has seemingly been won over. 3M India, a unit of the 3M Company, announced a new deal with Amazon that sees the placement of a range of its B2B-focused products on the Amazon India digital marketplace.
The company offers thousands of products for an array of industries, including healthcare, energy and industrial. According to 3M India managing director Amit Laroya, the exclusive deal with Amazon will allow corporate buyers, particularly SMEs, to search for and purchase raw materials straight from 3M.
The new venture “gives us an opportunity to access all small businesses in one place,” Laroya told reporters. He noted that while 3M’s recent foray into eCommerce through the B2C channel is still too young to estimate how large the operation is, 3M estimates that in the next four years up to 15 percent of its total sales will stem from online commerce.
The success in B2C digital commerce led 3M India to explore the B2B route, but the company did not dive into the sector all at once. According to Laroya, the new venture with Amazon follows 3M India’s pilot program of B2B eCommerce operations, which first targeted the dental sector and included the sale of customizable kits for dentists that own their own businesses. “Dentists found value in these kits, and it encouraged us to explore [the] eCommerce business route,” the executive said.
While a tie-up with industry veteran Amazon is a solid way to make an entry into B2B eCommerce, 3M India is still in an experimental phase with the effort, Laroya said. “It is going to take some time,” he said. “We don’t know what is going to sell and what not. It is a learning experience for us.” Lessons learned from 3M’s operations in other markets like China, Japan and Australia, however, will certainly be used in India, he added.
Amazon first announced its entrance into India’s B2B eCommerce market in April, following in the path of other mega-retailers like Walmart.