Online retail giant Amazon just keeps expanding, dipping its toes into just about every conceivable market. From electronics to groceries to online video, they just can’t seem to settle on a single endeavour, instead opting to branch out wherever possible. The latest bit of news to stem from the company has them doing exactly that again, as they target office-based companies with their new Amazon Business marketplace.

The B2B marketplace will offer a range of over 100m products, including everything from stationery to furniture to office technology such as laptops, as well as some you may not expect, such as microscopes and thermal imaging technology. This is offered alongside VAT-free pricing, VAT invoices, and additional software designed to track and limit spending.

It’s a smart move on Amazon’s part, tapping into an online business-to-business market worth an estimated £96.5bn, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS). With a similar service launched in the US in 2015 generating more than £800m in sales in its first year of operation, Amazon have already proven that they have what’s required to make the venture work for both themselves and their new B2B customers.

Bill Burkland, Head of Amazon Business UK, said the service sought to provide “a new set of unique business features - from reporting and analytics to spending limits and purchasing workflow approvals.”

TCC Global retail Analyst Bryan Roberts commented on how the new service will be a particular asset for smaller businesses by allowing them to “get everything in one place”, thereby streamlining their purchasing operations.

Laith Khalaf, a senior analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown, also offered up his own opinion on Amazon’s expansion into B2B sales, and seemed optimistic about the venture:

“I can't speak to the quality or function of what [Amazon has] got, but if you're in scenario that you're ordering lots of stuff, having a service that tracks and analyses your purchases is very useful.

“It is a more natural extension of their business than video content or expanding into groceries. It’s nearer to its core business than those enterprises.

“They have got the infrastructure in place in terms of the website, the suppliers who'll want to sell their services and the logistic services... so it makes sense to extend that to business customers as well.”

Those interested in the Amazon Business marketplace can sign up for a free account here.

Sam Bonson

Sam is an aspiring novelist with a passion for fantasy and crime thrillers. He is currently working as a content writer, journalist & editor in an attempt to expand his horizons.
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