The ecommerce giant may be best known for its online consumer retail experience offering millions of products and fast shipping options, but there is a fast growing branch of Amazon that you may not know of. Amazon.com launched a division called Amazon Business in 2015 to replace a program named AmazonSupply.
The Amazon Business program has been exclusively designed for business to business sales. All businesses regardless of size or annual sales numbers are welcome to sign up for a business account which offers free two-day shipping on orders over $49. There is no cost to sign up, but accounts require approval before they are activated.
In addition to faster free shipping, business accounts also allow the ability to add multiple users to a single account. Rules can be set to allow orders under a certain dollar amount or require manual approval for all orders placed by users. Purchase order numbers and integration with popular enterprise purchasing systems are also available.
An important difference of Amazon Business is that it allows preferred suppliers to be saved within an account. This can make it significantly easier for businesses to reorder from the same suppliers without having to recheck the reputation of third party sellers. Bulk quantity discounts and lower pricing on select items may also be quite appealing for corporate customers. Dynamic charts and reporting tools are also available to help track purchases and spending history.
When shopping around for supplies, business customers also have the option to filter sellers by what type of organization they identify as if they wish to show support towards certain groups. Everything from small business and family operated to disadvantaged minority women are among the filtering options.
It is clear that Amazon is looking to attract more corporate customers, but one has to ask, why didn't Amazon start promoting a business program sooner? To Amazon's credit, AmazonSupply did cater to business customers, but not anywhere near as well as the newer Amazon Business platform does. With over 100 million products now available, anything from staples and writing utensils to specialty medical equipment can be purchased through Amazon Business.
There are nearly 50,000 registered business sellers and around half a million business accounts registered today. While the program is still in its infancy, over $1 billion in revenue in 2016 was attributed to it. Revenue is expected to be far greater for the 2017 calendar year based on current quarterly reports. With global wholesale transactions well into the trillions of dollars annually, Amazon is after a highly lucrative market space that just might be able beat out the highly successful Amazon Web Services platform in annual revenue.