Amazon Web Services (AWS), Audible, Amazon Advertising, and Amazon.com–Which of these do you think is Amazon’s fastest growing channel?
Did you say Amazon.com? Think again. While Amazon.com is pulling huge numbers year over year and continues to be a dominating force for business, the company’s fastest growing channel is a relative newcomer that has quietly slipped into the main lexicon of B2B sales and become a powerhouse that sellers and buyers alike should be watching closely: Amazon Business.
Just as its name suggests, Amazon Business is an Amazon marketplace exclusively for businesses. It looks and operates like Amazon.com, but offers additional features to help B2B buyers run their business more economically. B2B buyers are able to procure hundreds of millions of products on Amazon Business, many of which cannot be found on Amazon’s other channels. These products include IT products, janitorial products, medical supplies, restaurant supplies, office supplies, and other materials they may need for their staff and site.
Amazon Business is a fairly new addition to Amazon and the B2B space. It was launched in 2015, and has since undergone rapid growth. It’s important to note that Amazon Business isn’t just an experiment or backburner channel for Amazon. Former Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos has made it clear that Amazon Business is a priority as the company looks to expand, and the numbers paint a clear picture of why.
Three years after it launched, Amazon Business surpassed $10 billion in annualized sales. The channel hit $25 billion in worldwide annualized sales in May 2021, and their gross sales grew 2.9 times faster than the total sales for Amazon.com, according to Digital 360. More than half of that comes from third-party sellers, who have the unique opportunity to sell to larger corporations through Amazon Business.
Amazon Business is currently available in the U.S., U.K., France, Germany, Italy, Spain, India, and Japan. Business Prime is currently more limited.
In addition to a wide product selection, the Amazon Business platform offers several unique perks for businesses. For example, business buyers have access to multiple-user accounts (this means they can connect their entire team to the platform), exclusive business-only discounts on products, bulk discounts on products, pallet deliveries, time saving features to help them run their business more effectively, and the option to sign up for a Business Prime membership.
Similar to Amazon Prime, Business Prime members pay a membership fee that gives them access to exclusive services like free same-day, one-day, or two-day shipping on eligible products.
Amazon Business is a bit like the dark web of Amazon, because regular users can’t just find its storefront by searching for it or stumbling upon it. Getting on Amazon Business requires approval from Amazon.
Just like on Amazon’s main channel, businesses can create an account on Amazon Business and join for free. Once a business has created an account and been verified by Amazon, they can then access the Amazon Business storefront.
Imagine how Amazon.com works and you’ll have a great idea of how Amazon Business works: they’re essentially the same. Buyers can add products to their cart, select whether or not it’s a recurring delivery, and purchase products the same way they would on Amazon.com.
Buyer behavior has changed dramatically over the past few years, and B2B buyer behavior and business procurement is no exception. B2B buyers and business managers of today are largely tech-savvy millennials who want to buy products for their business the same way they’re buying products for themselves: totally online, without having to speak to a middleman, and without waiting weeks for their products to be shipped to them. These buyers are looking for something familiar that’s efficient and easy to use. Doing things the traditional way, such as buying directly through a VAR, isn’t cutting it anymore.
B2B brands should be selling on Amazon Business simply because that’s where their customers are and how their customers want to make their purchases. As of May 2021, Amazon Business was serving over five million businesses, and the B2B ecommerce sector at large is projected to increase to $1.8 trillion come 2023. There is a plethora of opportunity in the online B2B space right now, and suppliers who want to grow are going to need to adapt quickly to capture this growing revenue stream.
Another reason why B2B companies should be selling on Amazon Business is because their products are likely already being sold there, and without some kind of control or oversight brands can run into brand protection and reputation problems.
VARs and other third party sellers are aware of the potential that Amazon Business has for business, and when given the opportunity, many of them are flocking to Amazon to list products. The issue is that most VARs cannot be both a good traditional seller and a good Amazon seller. While they might be experts at offline sales, they’re likely not familiar with or well-tuned to the complexities of selling on Amazon. This may lead to product listings that don’t follow basic practices (like having good images and clear, concise product descriptions), poorly selected keywords, inconsistent pricing, and a lack of thought put into overall brand messaging. This will reflect poorly on the product and the manufacturer in addition to the seller, meaning the brand is hurt without any say.
Having a presence on Amazon Business allows you to tidy up your brand messaging, regain control, and ensure that no matter who is selling your product, the B2B customer experience remains exceptional.
Now is an exciting time to be a B2B seller, and Amazon Business is making the B2B experience more streamlined and lucrative than ever. Brands looking for opportunities to grow should be looking at Amazon Business yesterday and partnering with VARs who can help them leverage the platform to their advantage.
If you’re interested in learning more about an Amazon-experienced VAR or how Pattern can help your B2B tech brand excel on Amazon, request a demo and see how our experts can upgrade your marketplace offering.
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Entering the ecommerce landscape is a huge undertaking for any brand—it usually requires a large investment in resources and expertise to really be successful. Any brand can quickly get in over their heads trying to navigate the nuances of SEO, fulfillment and logistics, distribution control, listing optimization, and meeting the numerous other requirements and administrative tasks to show up well on marketplaces.
Unfortunately, because it’s so easy for third party, gray market, and unauthorized sellers to obtain and sell products online, many brands find themselves pressured to execute an ecommerce plan without the right resources to succeed on marketplaces and their other channels.
So, for brands looking to enter the ecommerce space or improve their current and future performance, it makes sense to partner with an ecommerce consultant.
Pattern’s global presence and proven success with hundreds of brands has allowed us to develop highly effective ecommerce consulting services. We can guide your brand to navigate issues both large and small in marketplaces worldwide. To maximize your ecommerce efforts, you’ll need to understand what an ecommerce consultant does and how to select one who drives the right value for your brand and products.
An ecommerce consultant is a specialist in the ecommerce space who can give you personalized guidance on how to market your products and grow their presence on digital marketplaces.
An ecommerce consultant should be able to analyze your brand, audience, category, opportunity, and current roadblocks and help you understand how to utilize your resources (or what resources are missing) to be most effective in capturing your opportunities in the ecommerce space.
Not sure how to evaluate a consultant? Here are 4 key attributes to look for as you make your choice.
At Pattern, we prioritize brand obsession for a reason—we know that a brand-centered mindset makes a crucial difference in the outcomes and results our partners achieve. So in our experience, when you begin your search for an ecommerce consultant, it’s important to look for a partner who is specialized in ecommerce, invested in the product, and passionate about helping brands build and improve their strategies. Typically, this means finding someone that consults exclusively for ecommerce marketplaces, rather than choosing a consultant who offers many different services.
It’s also important to avoid choosing a consulting partner who can’t deliver the right experience for your brand. The best indication of whether your potential consultant can do that is to review their history, data, and results with other brands. Ask if they’ve helped others in your selling category, if they’ve solved specific issues your brand is facing, and why they feel you are a good fit. The key is to leave the conversation feeling confident that you understand your consultants’ capabilities and whether or not they match up with your needs.
It’s best to pick a consultant who knows how to guide a brand onto and through multiple marketplaces worldwide. You’ll want to take a look at your long-term strategy and think about the regions and platforms you’re currently on and where you might want to take your brand in the future. If your consultant is truly great at what they do, they’ll be able to help you perform well enough with your current product roadmap that it’ll be a no-brainer to expand your presence at the right time.
The most effective partnership with an ecommerce consultant will be able to give you both recommendations and point you to solutions for making those changes in your planning, processes, and execution. Your time and money is valuable, so you want to make sure that you’re spending it as efficiently as possible as you follow your consultant’s advice. So, before you commit to an ecommerce consultant, ask about the resources and concrete solutions they typically recommend to the brands they work with.
Finding an ecommerce consultant that checks the boxes can be a difficult task. At Pattern, our entire focus and drive centers around giving brands the tools and resources they need to succeed on domestic and international ecommerce marketplaces.
With over 100 global ecommerce consultants across 10 global offices, we have the right tools to partner with brands across the world to achieve better ecommerce success. We give specialized advice, then make sure our partners have all the adequate SEO, social media, CRM, Amazon multi-channel fulfillment services, and ecommerce outsourcing services they need.
Interested in ecommerce consulting services? Set up a call here to learn what Pattern can do for your brand on global marketplaces.
If you’re interested in expanding your brand internationally, you’re probably familiar with Tmall. Tmall is Asia-Pacific’s (APAC) largest marketplace, and indisputably the biggest ecommerce powerhouse in the world. It represents a huge opportunity for many brands, but entering the space is also a big challenge to take on.
At Pattern, we recommend brands looking to enter international markets should first focus on dialing in their domestic presence. Once you’re satisfied that your brand is well-represented and optimized locally, you’re ready to think about tackling new regions, like APAC, and launching on marketplaces like Tmall. Our top advice for entering Tmall is to understand and strategize around its three most important metrics: service, delivery, and content.
Service, delivery, and content ratings are the three elements that make up Tmall’s Detailed Seller Rating (DSR) score. Each component is scored on a scale of 1-5 that is displayed publicly on your brand’s Tmall flagship store page. This is meant to help consumers decide whether or not to purchase your products.
DSR scores are important because they’re highly influential in driving conversions—customers see DSRs as a way to quickly understand if a brand is trustworthy and worth buying from. They also matter quite a bit to Tmall itself—they monitor these scores and will take action to close flagship stores with low scores.
Let’s go over each element of the DSR score and some steps you’ll need to take to achieve high ratings.
Service is a huge ecommerce component in APAC marketplaces. In most other regions, product listings are static, and consumers use content and reviews to make a decision about what to purchase. On Tmall, consumers want to interact with your brand and test its validity before buying—each transaction takes at least one human interaction to convert.
So, to get a great service rating, you’ll need to have a large, established customer service team dedicated to Tmall sales that can offer real, human touchpoints and very fast response times. To get an idea of the speed your agents should be capable of producing, in our Tmall benchmarking exercise, 92.5% of brands’ customer service agents replied to queries via live chat within 30 seconds, 5% replied within one minute and the remaining 2.5% of brands took longer than a minute. So, look for a Trade Partner (TP) that has enough resources to compete with those numbers, support your sales, and maintain a good DSR score.
Another thing you’ll really want to focus on is a high-quality delivery experience for consumers. As in other regions around the world, Tmall consumers have high expectations for their delivery experience. In our Chinese consumer polling report that targeted consumers buying from Tmall Global, we found that 6% expected same-day delivery, 15% expected next-day delivery, and 46% expected 2-5 day delivery.They want to receive their products fast and they want the products to be undamaged and pristine upon arrival.
So, to achieve a high score for your delivery capabilities, we highly recommend partnering with a TP or ecommerce accelerator like Pattern (which serves as a TP) who has the ability to facilitate your distribution. Make sure your TP has the right infrastructure in place to support high-quality logistics experiences for all of your consumers—they should have an established, well-oiled delivery process in place and the capability to fluidly add you to their current fulfillment system.
As in every digital marketplace, content is a huge component of the decision-making process for consumers on Tmall—they can’t touch your product with their hands or see it in person before buying, so it’s important they’re empowered to make a good decision on whether or not to purchase based on the videos, images, and copy.
The goal is to make all of the content and relevant information on your flagship site easily-accessible—consumers should be able to visit your page and make a decision about whether or not to buy without navigating to a new site/page and taking their conversions with them. Images with text and extensive product details are a great way to do this, as well as making sure your service team can speak to all aspects of your product with any consumers (via text or chat).
As the world’s foremost brand partner for ecommerce acceleration, Pattern truly understands the significance of international expansion. With regional offices around the world, Pattern knows how to successfully launch and grow brands on Tmall and other marketplaces, with the data, insights, and marketplace intelligence to build the metrics that matter.
It’s important to have a fantastic brand presence, a knowledgeable guide, and a clear go-forward strategy for your best chance at success. With our in-country resources, expert teams, and extensive experience in growing brands around the globe, Pattern can help you get there.
Set up a call to get your international expansion strategy in motion.