If you read this blog regularly, you know that AmazonSupply.com is changing the distribution landscape, both online and off. Depending on what you sell and whether you are competing in the same space as AmazonSupply.com probably influences how “real” you take the AmazonSupply threat to be. Today, I am here to tell you that if you don’t actively pay attention to AmazonSupply.com in 2013, it will effectively crush your business–online and off.
Let’s look at Amazon’s history. As a purely online retail distributor, Amazon did what many (then) experts could not predict: They launched their online bookstore and effectively toppled the world of book retailing. Small stores closed their doors entirely, large big box booksellers went under and the on that remains–Barnes & Noble–changed how it does business by launching an online presence as well as an ereader to compete with Amazon’s Kindle device.
Next Amazon, in concert with Apple’s iTunes, took down the dedicated music store. I can’t think of one store that only sells compact discs and more–and that’s because those individual stores couldn’t compete with Amazon’s selection, prices and extremely limited overhead. Now you can buy and immediately download your music without having to wait, or, if you prefer to have the CD, you can order it through Amazon’s store and have it in as little as a day.
Then there’s the dedicated computer store. Can you think of one besides a random Dell kiosk in a mall or the prolific Apple Stores? Nope. Me neither. (Side note: Even Apple products are available for purchase online, although Apple’s pricing rules don’t allow Amazon to sell their products at less than the MSRP.) That’s because they are gone. Big box retailers such as Best Buy still sell computers in store, but the selection is limited and, more often than not, their showrooms are used to check out machines before the same product is purchased online for a cheaper price. (This is called showrooming.) CompUSA? Gone. CircuitCity? History. Best Buy? Struggling to reinvent themselves under the intense pressure of Amazon.com’s selection and prices and lower overhead. Sound familiar? It should.
AmazonSupply came online in 2012 without much fanfare, much like they have done in the past. Amazon doesn’t storm into a market and announce the current retailers’ annihilation. Rather, they set up shop, steal customers away one at a time while the existing retailers continue on with business as usual–until it’s too late. I wouldn’t expect anything less from AmazonSupply. And if you don’t see AmazonSupply as a potential threat, it’s because that’s exactly what they want you to think until they gobble up your B2B ecommerce lunch.
Do you sell products in one of the following fourteen verticals?
- Abrasives & Finishing
- Cutting Tools
- Fleet & Vehicle Maintenance
- Hydraulics, Pneumatics & Plumbing
- Janitorial & Sanitation
- Lab & Scientific
- Material Handling
- Occupational Health & Safety
- Power & Hand Tools
- Power Transmission
- Test, Measure & Inspect