Amazon.com is making a clear play into the B2B ecommerce market, particularly within the distribution sector, with the launch of AmazonSupply.com. The new site offers over 500,000 SKUs in categories including:
- 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
AmazonSupply.com reports that they will be adding new SKUs every day.
What does this mean for your B2B ecommerce business, particularly if you are a distributor in one of the above categories? There are three main take aways from the advent of Amazon in the B2B ecommerce space.
- Get your B2B ecommerce act together. If you don’t have an ecommerce presence, what are you waiting for? If you wait too long, Amazon will eat your lunch. If you already have an ecommerce presence, can it compete? No, I don’t expect you to take on AmazonSupply.com head-to-head, but you must make sure that your (poor to mediocre) buying experience doesn’t drive your customers away. Evaluate your site’s design and usability. Is it hard or easy to order from you? Is your site easy to look at and navigate through? If not, you’re risking losing customers to the easy-to-use AmazonSupply.com site.
- Think like a B2C site, for goodness sake, and start promoting. We’ve been saying it for awhile now–your B2B consumer is still a B2C consumer at heart. Your B2B buyer expects your B2B site to function like Amazon.com. Think promotions are out of your realm of reality? Think again. AmazonSupply.com is offering free 2-day shipping on orders over $50 and a 365 day return policy. Giddy up.
- Figure out what differentiates you and promote the heck out of it. Chances are good that this announcement from Amazon has you sweating a little. That’s to be expected. But there is one clear ray of hope in all of this–while AmazonSupply.com might supply all sorts of materials to all sorts of companies, you know your products and your business in a way that Amazon never will. This is an important differentiator. AmazonSupply.com is in it to be the biggest distributor of B2B supplies–but that doesn’t mean that they will be the best resource for your customers. Start providing exceptional value now. Make sure your customers know the value you provide and keep on giving them great incentives to stay with you rather than move their business to AmazonSupply.com.
To learn more about how to make your B2B ecommerce site a success, download the white paper, B2B Ecommerce Success – Seven Questions to Ask When Beginning an Ecommerce Initiative.