Business is big on Amazon—and it’s even bigger than you think.
Amazon Business is the business-to-business, commercially focused division of the consumer-retail giant. It’s also the one-stop shop for procurement managers across industries and organizations of all sizes, from the enterprise down to mom-and-pop shops. It boasts commercial products that range from office supplies to industrial equipment; medical devices to restaurant supplies; and everything in-between.
Why is Amazon Business such a big deal? It reached $1 billion in sales in its first year alone, and has experienced exponential growth ever since—in fact, Amazon Business is expected to surpass $10 billion in sales volume in 2018, just three years after its official launch. According to Amazon itself, the marketplace serves “millions of business customers,” which include over half of the Fortune 100; 80% of the top 100 enrollment-education organizations; and over half of the 100 biggest hospital systems.
So, what does this mean for industrial manufacturers and suppliers? If you’re not selling on Amazon Business, now is the time to start.
Many people think Amazon Business is a separate website from the Amazon retail site we all use for personal shopping. This is a common misconception. Business and retail are simply two different filters of the same website: You can buy everything on Amazon Business that you can buy on the Amazon retail site, and vice versa. The biggest differences are that Amazon Business logins are tied to a tax ID number; and there are purchase restrictions on certain items that aren’t widely available to consumers, such as medical supplies.
So, how can industrial manufacturers and suppliers sell more effectively to commercial shoppers on this marketplace?
How to Succeed on Amazon Business
The keys to success when selling on Amazon Business echo those on the retail side. The fundamentals of successful sales, whether for consumer or commercial purposes, include:
- Selection: Your brand’s full selection of products should be readily available for purchase on Amazon Business, clearly presented and easy to browse.
- Price: Your products must be competitively priced to stack up against the millions of other retailers selling through the Amazon platform.
- Content: Your images, descriptions and product reviews should be high-quality, descriptive and robust to help potential buyers make an informed decision. Make sure to include both basic and enhanced content; this will capture both busy shoppers who want to quickly “add to cart,” as well as those looking to do their homework.
However, Amazon Business also provides unique opportunities to engage customers in incremental ways. Commercially focused manufacturers have the ability to offer exclusive discounts not available on the retail side of the Amazon platform, serving as an additional call-to-action for shoppers. There are two frameworks for discounts:
- Quantity discounts: These are tiered discounts, based on the number of products a customer buys. For example, purchasing up to 10 items may give buyers a 5% discount, while buying 10 to 20 items unlocks a 10% discount.
- Per-unit discounts: In this framework, every unit bought through Amazon Business is discounted incrementally, based on the total purchase volume. An example of this would be giving a 2% discount off every item purchased.
Amazon Business is booming, and the momentum is building quickly. But it’s not too late to capitalize on first-mover advantage. Just as Amazon has become synonymous with consumer-focused e-commerce, Amazon Business is poised to dominate the commercially focused landscape. Don’t wait for it to surpass $100 billion in sales before you get on board.
The time is now for industrial manufacturers and suppliers to take notice—and take a proactive approach. By coupling smart sales strategies with compelling discounts, you can leverage the power of the fastest-growing online B2B marketplace, and boost sales like never before.
John L. Ghiorso is CEO of Orca Pacific, a full-service agency with an exclusive focus on helping brands and manufacturers grow their businesses on Amazon. He has more than ten years of experience working with Amazon and is responsible for leading a team that manages over $500 million in annual sales on the platform. Follow him on Twitter @JohnLGhiorso.
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