Amazon Business launches in the UK

Amazon is adding a trade counter to its UK Web site to sell equipment such as office supplies and industrial tools to woo business customers that account for around two-fifths of online spending.

Its new service called Amazon Business launched on Monday, and offers a range of business-friendly features like being able to track purchases and set spending limits, as well as an expanded range of products specifically targeted at commercial customers.

Amazon Business will sell more than 100-million products spanning laptops to test tubes to cleaning products, and is targeted at a range of businesses, from small to large, as well as universities and charities.

It marks the latest effort by the e-commerce giant to expand beyond the typical retail business. Jeff Bezos’ firm had already started its business marketplace in the US back in April 2015, racking up $1bn (£800m) of sales in its first year to 400 000 customers, before launching in Germany four months ago.

The UK online market for business-to-business sales was valued at a cool £96.5bn for 2015 by the Office for National Statistics.

Bill Burkland, head of Amazon Business UK, said the new site “combines more than 100m business products with a new set of unique business features – from reporting and analytics to spending limits”.

In February, the online giant said it was creating 5,000 new full-time jobs in the UK this year to fill a range of positions from software developers to warehouse staff.

The recruitment will take Amazon’s UK headcount to more than 24,000 as it opens three new warehouses in Tilbury, Doncaster and Daventry. The extra space will also handle deliveries for third-party retailers who sell through Amazon’s site.

By Rebecca Smith for www.cityam.com

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