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Amazon Polls Sellers about Invoicing Customers

Because Amazon caters to consumer shoppers, it requires them to pay upon shipment. But with its increased efforts to pursue business customers, could that change? And how would it impact third-party sellers who are wary of deadbeat customers?

Amazon polled sellers recently asking them, “how important is it to me as a seller that Amazon manage invoicing and payment on my behalf for those B2B customers, that purchase only via invoicing, so I will know when and how much I will be paid?”

First, to clarify: B2C indicates business to consumer, C2C indicates consumer to consumer, while B2B refers to business to business.

The few sellers who discussed the poll in a couple of discussion threads seemed puzzled by the question Amazon was asking (it does seem to lack context).

One seller wrote, “I’m not sure I fully understood the question. B2B customers exist, but we are in a B2C environment. It is 100% tailored to that, in every way. Unless people are using Amazon Payments to handle their invoices, or they are referring to Vendor Central I just can’t find a way this applies to most sellers.”

Amazon allows customers to pay with credit cards, bank payments and – for B2B customers, a revolving credit line, but sellers have never had to concern themselves with this since Amazon collects payments from customers on their behalf.

This new poll introduces a very different dynamic – the seller not getting paid as soon as he or she confirms shipment.

Amazon launched the B2B microsite AmazonSupply.com in 2012. Two months ago, Amazon kicked it up a notch when it demonstrated the ability for businesses to use Oracle’s cloud-based e-procurement product to connect to Amazon.com to buy products not available on the corporate catalog of preferred items and suppliers – see the details on SpendMatters.com, which has also written about eBay’s activities in the B2B space.

We asked Amazon spokesperson Erik Fairleigh if Amazon lets businesses make purchases through invoices and how that would that impact 3P sellers. He said, “We don’t offer invoicing for customers or businesses on Amazon.”

Would you welcome business sellers on Amazon and eBay, and would you be willing to extend terms, like net 15 (meaning they pay 15 days from the date of the invoice)?

Comment on the EcommerceBytes Blog.

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Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner is co-founder and Editor of EcommerceBytes and has been reporting on ecommerce since 1999. She's a widely cited authority on marketplace selling and is author of "Turn eBay Data Into Dollars" (McGraw-Hill 2006). Her blog was featured in the book, "Blogging Heroes" (Wiley 2008). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to ina@ecommercebytes.com.