Finding ways to reduce purchasing costs and stay within budget over the next 12 months — amid inflation and the threat of a recession — is one of the top priorities for buyers at small and mid-sized businesses, according to a recent survey by Amazon Business.
The survey, which polled 500 small business decision-makers in the United States in March, found that 61% of respondents will look for ways to reduce the costs associated with B2B purchases over the coming year. In addition, 61% of respondents say staying within budget is a priority.
“Small and medium-sized business owners say concerns about how inflation and a possible recession will affect their business are keeping them up them at night,” says Todd Heimes, director and general manager, Amazon Business Worldwide.
63% of small business decision-makers polled listed high inflation as the top challenge, while 39% cited a possible recession, and 30% cited supply chain disruptions, the survey found. Respondents could list more than one concern.
88% of respondents said the ability to easily find items is a key factor in growing their businesses long-term, while 91% cited the ability to find items within their price range.
“Even the smallest businesses are looking to find more efficient ways to purchase,” Heimes says.
Procuring products faster to boost growth
In addition, buyers at small businesses are seeking ways to make the purchasing process more efficient, helping them find and purchase what they need faster and more easily to spur their companies’ long-term growth, according to the survey.
The survey asked 500 small-business decision-makers in the U.S. about their online purchasing patterns, the challenges and opportunities impacting purchasing processes, and the broader landscape for small businesses. All respondents were 18 years or older, work in purchasing at a business making $25 million or less in annual revenue. 61% of respondents worked full-time, 7% part-time, and 32% were self-employed.
Amazon Business produced the poll with marketing agency Walker Sands; data collection was conducted via online market research vendor Rep Data between March 20 and 27.
Heimes points to Amazon Business’ use of artificial intelligence and machine learning technology as two ways the marketplace is helping small businesses purchase more efficiently and quickly find products within their price range.
“We are constantly adding greater product selection through Amazon Business Sellers to provide the most relevant selection for small and mid-sized business buyer’s needs,” he says. “We are also increasing the number of products with business-specific pricing and quantity discounts.”
“Subscriptions are another way for small and mid-sized businesses to receive discounts,” Heimes adds.
In addition to providing features through its marketplace that aid small businesses’ operations, Amazon Business is also providing grants to help small businesses grow.
Small-business grants program
This month, Amazon Business is making more than $250,000 in grants available to eligible small businesses that purchase through its marketplace and have less than $1 million in annual revenue.
Amazon Business will select one grand-prize winner and a group of finalists and semifinalists to receive the grants and other perks such as Business Prime memberships and Amazon devices. Applications are due by May 21; winners will be announced July 17.
In 2022, Virtual X Kitchen, a food service business that serves customers exclusively by delivery and pick-up based on phone and online ordering, was a 2022 grant finalist. The College Park, Maryland-based ghost kitchen received $20,000 which it earmarked to create a sustainable restaurant model for urban areas by maximizing kitchen space for multiple owners to share, streamline the ordering process, and raise awareness of its brand.
Peter Lucas is a Digital Commerce 360 contributing editor covering B2B digital commerce technology and strategy.
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