Beating Amazon in the B2C space is incredibly difficult, and I think many if not most companies are starting to go the marketplace route and sell on Amazon rather than trying to compete with it. Now I don’t want to discourage companies from competing with Amazon in the B2C space, and we have written about how to do this in the past. However, we believe there is a much larger opportunity to beat Amazon in the B2B space.
You can laugh at my low budget video, but the point of this is to show our perspective on buying from Amazon. Amazon throws a lot at you, and its not very clear what discounts if any we are getting for being a B2B customer. Overall the B2B experience isn’t that great, we are really only buying for the convenience of shipping, product options, and all the other benefits that B2C customers get, but nothing is really tailored to us as a business.
So here are the things I think B2B companies can do to beat Amazon.
1) Better Personalization
Amazon personalizes your account but because they merged B2B and B2C accounts we actually use them for both so the recommendations are all over the place. If your company focuses on B2B you could certainly do a better job personalizing your recommendations, pricing, and other aspects of the experience to the customer, especially if you can pay more attention per customer.
2) Clear discounts for B2B buying and loyalty
It’s not clear that I am getting any B2B discounts. As a B2B customer we expect to get some sort of bulk incentives, or at least know how much we need to order to receive them.
3) B2B oriented shipping for larger orders
If you are ordering large orders of many products, Amazon isn’t really designed for this kind of freight shipping. Offering more B2B oriented shipping options could be a differentiator or at least a way to catch up to their dominance.
4) Simpler and more clear account pages
The account pages of Amazon are overwhelming. There are so many links, it’s hard to know where to go. Having more clear and useful account pages could be a great way to make the experience more personal and user-friendly for businesses who have specific objectives compared to customers who might be just window shopping.
5) Hands on Sales
Having a sales team follow up on accounts that are buying to see how their experience is going could go a long way. Amazon has never reached out to us. We have no relationship with them as a B2B buyer. As a smaller company, this is something you could offer to personalize the experience with a more human experience. Even just offering small discounts or tips could go a long way.
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I am really just scratching the surface here, there is so much more that B2B companies could be doing to compete with Amazon, but these are just some of the ones I notice just from simply browsing the site for a brief moment.