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
In its first year, Amazon Business has generated more than $1-billion in sales from more than 400 000 business customers, the company said during its earnings report released on Thursday 28 June.
Amazon Business wasn’t exactly a started-from-scratch new unit, as VentureBeat reported at the time.
It launched at the end of April 2015 and replaced a service called AmazonSupply that had been around since 2012. AmazonSupply was a marketplace that focused more on industrial products and office supplies. It was Amazon’s first attempt to get into the market occupied by warehouse retailers.
Amazon Business is run by Prentis Wilson, which also ran AmazonSupply. Prentis Wilson came to Amazon after working as a buyer for Cisco.
The revised Amazon Business expanded the scope of the stuff for sale. As Amazon describes it, it offers “hundreds of millions of products — everything from IT and lab equipment to education and food service supplies” that businesses can buy for special prices.
It also enlisted manufacturers and distributors to sell their stuff directly to Amazon customers. Amazon said that 30,000 third-party sellers have participated and have fulfilled over half of the Amazon Business orders.
All this to say that Amazon Business may have had a bit of a head start in reaching $1 billion in its first year but, even so, it looks like Amazon has another hit on its hands.
Disclosure: Jeff Bezos is an investor in Business Insider through his personal investment company Bezos Expeditions.
By Julie Bort for www.businessinsider.com
Amazon has revealed that it has more than 200 000 customers purchasing from its Amazon Business platform.
The e-tailer launched the B2B marketplace last April and said its business customers range from small businesses to Fortune 500 companies. However, it didn’t say what sales revenue it generated through the platform.
The reference to Fortune 500 companies is bound to be music to the ears of Staples and Office Depot as they challenge the FTC over their proposed merger. The FTC is blocking the deal due to what it sees as a lack of competition in that large corporate space.
Amazon’s full-year 2015 sales surpassed the $100-billion mark, increasing 20% versus 2014 to $107-billion. It now has more than 300-million active customers worldwide, with an estimated 50-million Prime members.
By Andy Braithwaite for OPI.net