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What It Takes to Sell on the New Amazon Business Platform

Amazon launched an offering on Tuesday to attract B2B buyers and sellers. The company said Amazon Business combines the selection, convenience and value customers have come to know and love from Amazon with new features and unique benefits tailored to businesses.

Third-party sellers, who currently account for 44% of units sold, can apply to sell through the program but must meet special performance requirements. Where sellers must have an Order Defect Rate of 1% or less for a regular Selling on Amazon account, they must have an Order Defect Rate of .5% or less to sell through the Amazon Business Seller program. The Pre-shipment Cancellation Rate goes from 2.5% or less to less than 1%; and the Late Shipment Rate goes from 4% or less to less than 1% for B2B sellers.

Sellers must also meet certain service requirements. For example, participants in the Amazon Business Seller Program must provide tracking numbers and packing slips on all orders, and they must include purchase order numbers with every business order package when provided by the business customer.

While the B2B product offers are listed on the Amazon.com marketplace, they are only visible to business customers, allowing merchants to offer products not targeted to consumers, or to provide special pricing – including the ability to offer discounts when businesses purchase larger quantities.

Sellers participating in the Amazon Business Seller program pay no additional monthly program fee to participate, but Amazon left the door open to charging special fees in the future.

Some merchants expressed concern about margins. What could be helpful to some is a new tiered referral-fee structure for certain categories in recognition of higher order sizes possible through business customers.

For example, sellers pay a referral fee of 15% in the Office Products category under the regular Selling on Amazon program. With the Amazon Business Seller Program, they pay 15% for any portion of the total product value up to $1,000.00; 10% for any portion of the total product value from $1,000.01 up to $3,000.00; and 6% for any portion of the total product value greater than $3,000.00.

Amazon had invited some sellers to participate on the Amazon Business platform several months ago. In the invitation, Amazon explained, “Business customers want to purchase from sellers that have high performance standards, are able to support business transactions and offer large business-relevant selection. And, the Amazon Business Seller Program will help to feature you and your capabilities to these business customers.”

In addition to seeing special product offerings, business customers who shop through Amazon Business receive free two-day shipping on orders that includes at least $49 of eligible items. Other features available to them include multi-user business accounts, approval workflow, payment solutions, tax exemptions, and dedicated customer support.

By July, Amazon will allow business sellers to display credentials in their seller profiles, such as ISO 9001 certified, small business, women-, minority- and veteran-owned businesses.

Sellers can list their Business offers in more than 45 business-specific categories, including office, IT, MRO, tools, scientific, and food & beverage. New sellers interested in the Amazon Business Seller program can learn more at Amazon.com/business-seller. Sellers currently selling on Amazon can sign up through their existing Amazon Seller Central account.

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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. See disclosure at EcommerceBytes.com/disclosure/.