Amazon Launches Business Marketplace

AMAZONIn 2012, AMZN -1.21% quietly launched AmazonSupply, the e-commerce company?s foray into the nsexy but hugely lucrative world of B2B wholesale.

By 2014, when Forbes covered the burgoning business, AmazonSupply was already offering 2.2 million products for sale in 17 categories, from tools and home improvement to janitorial supplies, stocking everything from 12-packs of Hawaiian Punch to schedule-40 stainless steel pipe.

Industry insiders were already concerned about the potential impact of AmazonSupply on America?s 35,000 distribution companies, almost all of which are regional and family-run. Could they compete with AmazonSupply?s infrastructure and deep cache of consumer data?

Now Amazon is taking its quest to win over the $7.2 trillion B2B sector a step further. On Tuesday, the Seattle-based web giant is launching Amazon Business, a new platform aiming to do for business customers what has done for everyday shoppers.

Companies that register for an Amazon Business account will have access to business-only products from IT and lab equipment to education and food service supplies, with bulk discounts and free 2-day shipping on orders over $49.

?Amazon Business has hundreds of millions of products for sale ? already many times what?s on offer on AmazonSupply,? said Prentis Wilson, Amazon?s wholesale czar. On May 13, AmazonSupply will be subsumed into Amazon Business.

Wilson said the new marketplace was born out of consultation with business customers of all sizes, from churches to multi-billion-dollar corporations. ?We continued to hear that they wanted an Amazon shopping experience when they were buying for work,? he said.

B2B account holders, who?ll be approved to shop based on their tax ID, will be able to compare product prices from multiple sellers on one page, just like they do when they browse from home.

Read more at FORBES