Amazon Launches New B2B Marketplace To Challenge MRO Distributors

by Mercator Advisory Group 0

Amazon Supply is described as a “clearinghouse for industrial and MRO parts and related SKUs” including more than 500,000 items. Amazon’s precise role is not entirely clear, in that it appears to offer some functions as an e-sourcing site, but also to act as distributor or intermediary. In fairness, that role may be still evolving and taking final shape as potential users explore how this site compares to other supply sites such as Grainger’s, or sourcing intermediary sites such as Ariba’s

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According to Jason Busch of SpendMatters:

Shipping costs are clearly bundled into total costs as “eligible orders $50 or more receive free two-day shipping.” Moreover, it appears that Amazon has cloned — potentially improved — its B2B customer service experience providing, in their words, “free 365 day returns” and a “dedicated customer service center.” They even offer their own financing through corporate lines of credit, a potentially high margin business.”

Amazon’s expertise is in high volumes of small shipments, the sorts required by the B2C model. It remains to be seen if they will be able to handle the different demands of the B2B marketplace. Larger corporate buyers frequently have specialized needs, including customized packaging or large lot shipments. Alternatively, small corporate buyers may have more need of the financing, but details are not yet available. Finally, Amazon will have to fulfill the expectations of suppliers, many of whom have already been selling successfully on sites such as Grainger and Graybar.

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