- Inventory and supplies can deplete business revenue. Amazon Business can lessen that impact.
- Amazon Business offers businesses access to an extensive network of buyers and sellers, as well as more favorable prices.
- Buying in bulk with Amazon Business can save you money, while selling on Amazon can boost a company’s profits.
- This article is for businesses that are seeking a reliable market to buy and sell industry supplies.
Amazon Business offers business owners access to the retail giant’s vast network of suppliers for easy ordering and bulk volume discounts. For members of Amazon Business Prime, additional deals and features are available to help manage cash flow and cut business expenses. How can your business benefit from Amazon Business or a Business Prime account? Read on to learn more.
What is Amazon Business?
Amazon Business provides purchasing solutions for registered businesses of any size. Each company can permit specific users to purchase business supplies on Amazon on behalf of their employers. The main administrator can add or remove authorized users as needed and manage payment methods, shipping addresses, approval workflows, reporting options and more based on the business’s needs.
Amazon Business provides “easy access to hundreds of millions of products – everything from IT equipment to janitorial supplies – to businesses of all sizes and across industries,” said Martin Rohde, former general manager of Amazon Business.
Did you know?: It’s easy to start selling on Amazon: You just create a seller’s account, choose a plan, write product listings, and determine a fulfillment process.
How does payment work with Amazon Business?
An Amazon Business account administrator can add individual or shared payment options to the account. Shared payment methods include credit cards, debit cards and Amazon’s corporate credit line, which is a business line of credit.
Any authorized business account user can select a registered payment method to purchase items on your business’s behalf. While all of your authorized account users can make purchases with registered credit cards, they’ll only be able to see the last four digits for security reasons.
The Amazon corporate credit line expands your user and management options, allowing you to authorize multiple buyers on a single account, download order history reports, and pay by purchase order. It includes easy-to-understand statements, and there’s no annual fee.
“We recognize that business customers need to manage a single payment relationship with Amazon Business and receive standardized invoices while also having the flexibility to purchase from millions of suppliers,” Rohde said.
What are Amazon Business’ advantages?
Amazon Business has the following benefits for registered companies:
Amazon Business brings exclusive price savings and shipping benefits.
Amazon Business offers exclusive price savings and shipping benefits for registered business members. Account holders receive price breaks on multiunit purchases, general price cuts on millions of business products, and the opportunity to compare prices from multiple sellers.
“We constantly hear from Amazon Business customers that business-only prices across such a vast selection of products are key to solving their ‘tail spending’ challenges (money spent on nonplanned or managed supplies, spanning a broad range of categories),” Rohde said. “Tail spend can be costly and time-consuming for businesses, as it often requires managing hundreds, or even thousands, of different suppliers.”
Businesses appreciate Amazon Business’ bulk pricing.
Amazon Business allows you to request quantity discounts from some sellers. “Amazon Business works the best when you have products that can be purchased in bulk for businesses,” said Chad Rubin, an e-commerce business owner and a Top 50 Amazon seller. “That’s a big benefit, as you can incorporate bulk pricing to boost sales and provide a discount to businesses who need a larger amount of your product.”
Rubin pointed out that when Amazon Business customers use bulk pricing, they can reach a new audience that tends to spend more, including other businesses. “It definitely helps when you use bulk pricing to attract customers who need more of certain products,” he said.
Amazon Business makes ordering easy and convenient.
The convenience of Amazon carries over into Amazon Business. “We love the program’s ease of use in ordering and reordering our most common items,” said Rob Boirun, CEO of Reviewster Network. “When we run out of printer toner or other office supplies, we can easily order within a few seconds, and the items are in the office two days later.”
Amazon Business’ flexible payment options also add to the platform’s ease and convenience. Boirun said his company has used Amazon Business for larger purchases, leveraging payment options where the firm can split up the payments among people in the company. “For example, we purchased a new Wi-Fi router and were able to split up the bill so that four different people using it would each pay 25%,” Boirun said.
You can leverage tax-exempt purchases with Amazon Business.
Some companies in the Amazon Business program may benefit from tax-exempt purchases. Visit the Amazon Tax Exemption Program website to determine if you qualify for the program. If you qualify, you can apply your tax-exempt status to eligible purchases from Amazon and its affiliates. “We have our Amazon Business account to mainly take advantage of the Amazon Tax Exemption Program,” Boirun said.
You can gain insights with Amazon Business Analytics.
Visit the Amazon Business Analytics website to learn about business intelligence tools that provide insight into spending categories, purchase analytics and preferred goals. You can also monitor activity and view supply chain management information.
“Customers can look at their spending activity and total costs on purchases at the individual, purchasing group or type of spend level, giving small businesses the information they need to better control their bottom line,” Rohde said.
Did you know?: Small business sellers on Amazon Business have the opportunity to boost sales by reaching millions of business customers globally.
Amazon Business integrates with QuickBooks for easy accounting.
Amazon Business is an excellent business accounting tool due to its integration with QuickBooks. (Read our QuickBooks Online review for more information.) You can automatically import your Amazon Business business expenses (with purchase details and costs) into QuickBooks, thus eliminating the need for manual entry.
Amazon Business also integrates with other accounting solutions, including Xero; read our Xero review to learn more.
What are Amazon Business’ disadvantages?
If you’re enrolled in Amazon Business as a buyer, it’s hard to find a downside. The perks are extremely worthwhile. However, selling on Amazon Business comes with several disadvantages, including the following:
- Lack of control: Although an Amazon Business account can help your business increase revenue, you give up some control over your brand. For the most part, your company must abide by Amazon’s policies. Otherwise, you run the risk of having your store removed entirely.
- Intense competition: Amazon Business provides valuable analytics to help businesses make the most of the platform. However, other businesses have the same tools and appeal to the same customer base. That means you’ll have to fight tooth and nail for every sale. It also means that success on Amazon Business depends as much on luck as on skill and experience.
- Minimal communication with buyers: Generally, anyone who purchases products from your store is considered an Amazon customer first. While that doesn’t preclude you from connecting with customers, Amazon doesn’t provide easy access to buyer contact information. As a result, there are fewer chances to grow your brand with excellent customer service.
- Frequent fees: Signing up as a business owner can be costly. However, there are several membership plans at different prices. More-expensive tiers offer additional benefits, but less-expensive tiers may work better for your bottom line. Research each option, and choose the one that’s right for your business.
- No guarantee of profits: While Amazon Business’ tools can help you increase your revenue, it’s a toss-up as to how much you’ll actually benefit. The monthly fees, combined with the intense competition on the platform, mean profit isn’t a sure thing. For the best results, use the included tools.
Key takeaway: Selling on Amazon Business helps you reach business-to-business (B2B) customers, but your brand awareness may fall by the wayside.
What is Amazon Business Prime?
Amazon Business Prime provides Amazon Business subscribers with additional benefits, including access to free delivery, discounts and member-only offers. Here are some of the advantages of Amazon Business Prime:
- Spending reports: Amazon Business Prime includes spending reports powered by AWS QuickSight. Spend visibility provides graphic-driven reports to help manage your business’s Amazon-related expenses.
- Guided buying: Business Prime members have access to guided buying for employees. Guided buying allows administrators on the account to set preferred suppliers and products and restrict employee capabilities when placing orders.
- Extended payment terms: Business Prime members can extend their payment terms for Amazon’s Pay By Invoice service to 45 or 60 days, depending on their plan.
- Shipping and delivery perks: Amazon offers free two-day shipping in the continental U.S. for Business Prime products, and same-day delivery is available in eligible ZIP codes and select cities. Same-day delivery is available seven days a week most days of the year, with limited availability on certain holidays and high-volume shopping days, including Black Friday and Prime Day. Your order must be at least $25 with the free same-day icon to qualify for same-day shipping.
- Amazon Day: Business Prime customers can also use Amazon Day for free to select a single day each week to receive all their weekly items, thereby preventing excessive package deliveries. Eligible items can be ordered up to two days before your business’s selected Amazon Day.
Did you know?: Amazon offers a 30-day free trial for Amazon Business Prime, so you can try the service before committing to a plan.
How much does Amazon Business Prime cost?
Amazon Business Prime has several membership plans to accommodate various users:
- Duo: The Duo plan is $69 per year and accommodates one user. It does not include access to spending visibility, guided buying or extended terms for Amazon’s Pay By Invoice service.
- Essentials: The Essentials plan is $179 per year and includes up to three users. It gives you access to spending visibility, guided buying and extended terms for Pay By Invoice.
- Small: The small plan is $499 per year and includes up to 10 users.
- Medium: The medium plan is $1,299 per year and includes up to 100 users.
- Enterprise: The Enterprise plan is $10,099 per year and includes more than 100 users. It also gives you optimal deployment, in which Amazon Business Professional Services fine-tunes the account to optimize visibility and policy settings in a full-scale implementation process.
Visit the Amazon Business Prime website for more information about membership tiers and features.
Is Amazon Business Prime a good deal?
Many businesses find value in an Amazon Business Prime subscription, but it’s not always the cheapest way to shop. The value of free shipping on selected items from Amazon is affected largely by local prices and availability, bulk prices for business shoppers, and order scheduling.
For example, if you own a restaurant and typically order from Restaurant Depot a few times a year, you should make a price comparison; you may already be getting the best deal possible. On the other hand, if you live in a remote area where little in-store shopping is available or delivery costs are often very high, Prime may be worth it.
Parting advice on Amazon Business
Whether you’re buying or selling on Amazon Business, the platform offers your company access to a larger market. You can purchase supplies from a wide variety of stores and sell your goods to the same audience. However, although you have much to gain from using the platform, getting the most out of it requires careful research and consideration.
If you’re selling, ensure you’re prepared to use the provided Amazon Business tools to their fullest potential, or you might lose sales to your competitors. If you’re buying, compare prices among your usual suppliers and the Amazon Business market to guarantee you’re getting the best deal.
To learn more about Amazon Business’ purchasing features, tools and procurement solutions, visit the Amazon Business website.
Isaiah Atkins contributed to the reporting and writing in this article. Some source interviews were conducted for a previous version of this article.