B2B in eCommerce: the new El Dorado?

Jérôme de Guigné
Feb 6 · 4 min read

Amazon recently launched its new B2B brand — ‘Amazon Commercial’ — for its growing B2B customer base, showing a large interest in this business.

Amazon is a champion of B2C sales, of marketing, of cloud storage…. but of B2B? Really? At first the idea sounds strange, and not serious. But the more you think of it, the more it does make sense. To the point that: I believe B2B sales will soon be the new eCommerce El Dorado!

Why do I say that?

For two reasons: first, the B2B market size is double the size of B2C, so the enormous potential of eCommerce in B2C, is actually dwarfed by that in B2B.

The second reason is the number of actors taking new eCommerce initiatives — not only Amazon, but also DIY and industry retail platforms. We are having more and more conversations not just with Amazon people, but with B2B brands wanting to protect their brand image and own the content — plus take a bite out of the growing B2B slice of eCommerce cake.

What are the benefits of B2B eCommerce?

There are two main parts: selling and buying.

First, selling: if you are selling B2B2C, why not reach your dealers through eCommerce, and benefit from the logistics of Amazon? Benefit also from the simple payment solution (no need for credit check).

You can make special discounts based on quantities — or provide specific discount codes to your dealers, easy!

You could also be selling B2B, and wanting to reach your end customers through eCommerce. More and more companies are buying online, so why not reach them here, and have a great delivery service, and a perfect customer experience?

Second, buying: why not change habits, and use large eCommerce platforms to perform everyday purchasing? Including having one-day delivery, and a huge benchmark in terms of pricing… as we said, more and more businesses, small and big, are joining in.

Amazon Business in the US is claiming over $1 billion in sales already!

How to benefit from that potential?

First, look at what is happening, and who is playing where. Amazon is moving in, but in DIY for example big and also new names are investing.

For example, Leroy Merlin in Spain is piloting a project and linking its online sales with its stores, through a pick-up service. This can solve a lot of warehousing issues, while still offering a “touch and feel” service to customers to test out before buying — which to date has always proven difficult for Amazon.

New actors like Manomano in France are also joining in, and investing a lot before the American giant starts to get too big in the DIY market.

Leroy Merlin in Spain: blending offline and online
Manomano in France: also offering access to B2B customers

Second, look at what the players are implementing, and what new ideas they are having. In the US, on Amazon, you can now buy tyres online and at the same time schedule an appointment with a fitter. You can decide whether to deliver to the fitter — or to your home, where the fitter will come to fit your tyres. Magic! Talk about customer centricity!

In the DIY sector, for paints, for carpets, flooring, etc., the major issue is sampling. The company able to solve the logistics barrier to handle sampling, but also bulky parcels, will lead the market. (Amazon is piloting a heavy & bulky logistics solution in the UK…)

Amazon US: offering the users the possibility to book an appointment with an Auto Center

Third — and this can be hard in traditional B2B companies — open the topic internally: are we ready to find new ways to deliver our products, and maybe outsource some of the logistics through Amazon?

Will we generate more sales going in B2B and B2C at the same time? Should we test purchasing through Amazon? Amazon is boasting at least 18% savings in the purchasing process for companies.

Buying on Amazon you can benefit from discounts on quantities — which B2C customer cannot see

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