Amazon.com Inc. likes to say it’s always operating in “Day One”—as if to say it thinks like an agile start-up that, while big, is always out to improve its operations to spark further growth. That philosophy is paying dividends for its two European e-commerce homes of Amazon Business, which launched in Germany a year ago and in the United Kingdom in April, Amazon said this week.
Amazon reported Tuesday that Amazon Business now has more than 150,000 registered buyers and 40,000 sellers on its site for Germany, at Amazon.de/business, and more than 90,000 buyers and 30,000 sellers on its U.K. site, at Amazon.co.uk/business. It also announced several new features on each site, developed with feedback from customers, including improved ways to manage electronic invoices and payment records, and access to customized lists of products.
“We want to offer business customers a new standard in B2B e-commerce with Amazon Business—and for us, that’s still Day One,” says Florian Böhme, head of Amazon Business in Germany.
Amazon said the companies using Amazon Business in Germany and the U.K. range from self-employed individuals and small firms to large multinational corporations and public institutions, including universities, health clinics and non-profit organizations.
“Amazon Business has enabled us to take the hassle out of purchasing the items we need to run our operations,” Louisa Collins, head of I.T. and purchasing at the International Institute for Anti-Ageing, a U.K.-based international distribution company, said in a statement issued by Amazon. “Working with Amazon Business has helped us become more efficient with our purchasing for multiple stakeholders, which in turn means we are even more effective in how we service our own customers and end users.”
In Germany, Güven Yilmaz, back-of-house manager at the hotel Waldorf Astoria Berlin, said, “In the luxury hotel industry, there is a constant need for procurement, both in food and beverages and in the non-food sector. With Amazon Business, that can now be ordered quickly and flexibly for each area—the time savings benefits our guests.”
New website features announced this week for both the U.K. and Germany include:
- Business invoice—Improved search and filter features were designed to let buyers find products from Amazon itself and third-party marketplace sellers who display net prices, including taxes; the invoice feature also enables buyers to download invoices that include information on VAT, or value-added tax;
- Product catalog management—Business buyers can configure the Amazon Business product catalog according to their procurement policies. Administrators at buying organizations can define spending approval criteria and restrict access to products or product categories;
- Integration with e-procurement software—Buyers who use e-procurement software from Coupa Software can use the Coupa search function to access millions of products sold by Amazon Business.
The new features add to a list of others deployed earlier, including free same-day delivery in the U.K. on orders of 30 pounds (US$40) or more; the ability of buying organizations in both countries to set spending limits for individual buyers; integration in Germany with e-procurement software from Jaggaer and SAP Ariba; and the ability in both the U.K. and Germany to track and reconcile purchases in line-item detail on all purchases made via a Visa Commercial Card issued by Barclaycard, Citi, HSBC or Lloyds Bank.
In October, Amazon Business announced the launch of Business Prime Shipping, the B2B version of its Amazon Prime two-day shipping service for consumers, for its sites in Germany and the U.S. It has not announced that service for the Amazon Business sites in the U.K., India or Japan. Amazon Business launched sites in India and Japan in September.
“The latest suite of Amazon Business features has been driven by the feedback we’ve received from our customers and are designed to enhance the efficiency, visibility and controls our business customers want in their procurement process,” says Bill Burkland, head of Amazon Business in the U.K.
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