Amazon Business is going all-out to build inventory of supplies that medical professionals, first-responders, scientists and others need to fight the coronavirus pandemic, the company says.
“Teams across Amazon are urgently working across suppliers to procure inventory,” Amazon.com Inc. says on its new COVID-19 Supplies section of Amazon Business. Amazon says it’s seeking to build out its available inventory of such personal protective products, or PPE, as facial shields and N95 masks; ventilators, digital thermometers, exam gloves and sanitizers.
Onboarding thousands of hospitals
Amazon is making the products available on a “first-come, first-served” basis to hospitals, nursing homes, police and fire departments, government agencies, medical laboratories and others involved in helping to fight the pandemic, the company says. Buyers must have a registered Amazon Business account, and Amazon has set up an online COVID-19 Supplies guide for helping new customers get started.
“We are currently onboarding thousands of accredited hospitals and government organizations, and are working as fast as we can to reach all organizations on the front lines,” Amazon says.
“Inventory of these critical supplies is currently very limited and products will have quantity limits,” Amazon says in the special COVID-19 supplies section of Amazon Business. “We are urgently working across suppliers and manufacturers to procure additional inventory of critical supplies.”
One thing Amazon is not producing for its COVID-19 supplies effort, it says, is profit. “We designed COVID-19 Supplies as a service for communities and will not make a profit,” it says. “We are investing in significant supplier recruitment and logistics to locate and expedite the delivery of this critical inventory across the globe. We will also waive all standard referral fees for third-party sellers who supply products to this effort.”
Amazon says that third-party sellers account for more than 50% of the sales on Amazon Business. Although Amazon doesn’t routinely break out sales for its B2B marketplace, it noted in September 2018 that Amazon Business had surpassed $10 billion in annualized sales. And RBC Capital Markets analyst Mark Mahaney has estimated that Amazon Business did about $16 billion in sales in 2019.
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