The anticipated invasion of Europe by Amazon Business has begun, starting in Germany, Amazon.com Inc. said today.
And like in the United States, it launched after Amazon had already built a strong following with the retail-focused Amazon.com. Germany is Amazon’s largest market outside of the United States, with $11.82 billion in 2015 sales, or 11% of total sales of $107.01 billion.
“Retail customers have been enjoying Amazon’s large selection, convenience and good prices for a long time,” says Markus Schoebel, director for Amazon Seller Services in Germany. “With Amazon Business, our business customers can now do the same.”
Martin Müller, managing director of Baustoffshop, a building materials company with over 200 locations in Germany, says Amazon Business will help his company reach more customers with targeted offers. “We’re specialized in selling heavy building materials, from plasterboards on pallet to truckloads of bricks,” he says in a statement Amazon released today. “With Amazon Business we can simply increase our reach among business customers. And features such as quantity discounts helps us to target business customers more easily.”
As in the United States and other markets, Amazon has long sold business and industrial supplies—such as rolls of thermal paper for point-of-sale machines and metal-cutting tools—on its site for Germany, Amazon.de. But with a dedicated Amazon Business section now at Amazon.de/business, sellers based in Germany as well as outside the country can now market to businesses there with a wider range of services.
For example, sellers can:
Choose to make products and prices available only to business customers registered on Amazon.de;
Offer exclusive pricing to individual customers and discounts to all customers based on order volume.
Sellers on Amazon Business can also use Fulfillment by Amazon to store inventory in Amazon warehouses and use Amazon’s services to pick, pack and ship orders to customers. FBA also provides customer service for such orders. With Amazon’s Pan-European FBA program, Amazon Business sellers of any size can ship to customers in other European Union countries, Amazon says.
In its statement today announcing Amazon Business for Germany, Amazon notes that products listed under FBA are eligible for Amazon’s free-shipping offers, and that offering FBA services can help sellers win the Buy Box on Amazon checkout pages. The Buy Box features a preferred seller at the top of the checkout page, with other sellers listed below it.
Amazon Business plans to eventually offer a service for calculating Europe’s VAT, or value-added tax, and include it in product pricing and customer invoices. It’s letting sellers on Germany’s Amazon Business pre-enroll now for the service. VAT is a system of adding tax for each stage of production of a product, with the tax rate usually set based on the location of the customer.
Amazon declined to comment on any plans to launch Amazon Business in additional markets in Europe, but its continued expansion is anticipated by companies in other markets. In the United Kingdom, Amazon’s third-largest market with 2015 sales of $9.03 billion, for example, business supplies wholesaler Spicers is investing in additional personnel and services partly to prepare for more competition from Amazon Business. “We believe that in 2017 Amazon Business will arrive, so it’s important we gear our business as a cost-effective distributor of products—not just office supplies—and we must open up a much wider product range to our customers to allow them to compete,” says Jeff Whiteway, CEO of SPOT Group, which includes Spicers.
Amazon Business is No. 104 in the B2B E-Commerce 300.
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