Amazon’s push into the procurement industry has started strong, with the company confirming that 90,000 UK firms are now using its Amazon Business portal.
The B2B procurement platform, which launched in the US in 2015 but has only been available to UK firms since April, provides a marketplace to buy office equipment and IT supplies with Amazon’s next-day delivery service.
The platform also includes VAT-exclusive prices, the option to manage bulk VAT invoices and an analytics module to monitor monthly spending.
Amazon said the 90,000 businesses that have signed up include sole traders, small businesses and larger multi-national organisations, including FTSE 100 companies.
It added organisations such as universities, hospitals and non-profits had also signed up.
Bill Burkland, head of Amazon Business in the UK, said the platform had proved a success in the UK.
“It’s a one-stop-shop for business customers to buy what they need to operate their business,” he said.
“What we noticed is that a lot of businesses were indeed shopping on Amazon. They were, to some degree, fulfilling their need. The question we ask is how can we make the lives of those businesses radically better?”
The B2B e-commerce market in Britain is estimated to be worth £100bn, according to the Office for National Statistics.
Burkland said after Amazon realised businesses were using its consumer platform to procure goods, it developed a business-only section to meet their particular needs.
“We’ve taken the foundation of the Amazon shopping experience and then we have built on top of it features that are specifically aimed at businesses,” he said.
“Probably the clearest difference is how VAT is handled. Businesses want to understand both the VAT exclusive price and VAT inclusive price. Businesses also want the VAT invoice so they can reclaim and perform their reconciliations.”
Amazon Business disclosed the figures as it announced new features including payment by invoice, VAT exclusive pricing and invoicing and integration with spending management platform Coupa.
Burkland said Amazon Business had “fairly aggressive” plans for 2018.
“The core part of our plans is to continue to add business relevant selections through the Amazon retail organisation, setting up direct relationships with manufacturers and growing our seller community, and just continue our roadmap of features specifically designed for businesses,” he said.
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