Amazon Business has launched in the UK. This new B2B online marketplace sells over 100 million products including office supplies, industrial tools and janitorial products. It is the biggest challenge yet to the UK office supplies industry.
This new service, which already operates in the US and Germany, provides a wide range of benefits to businesses including:
- VAT free prices
- Free one-day delivery on orders over £30
- Tracking and limiting spending
In our previous article New Amazon Jobs in Europe Expansion we covered how Amazon is currently constructing new fulfilment centres in the UK. These will provide faster delivery times (including one-hour delivery slots) and operate deliveries for Amazon’s third party retailers.
In addition, small business owners will be able to use their personal Prime membership accounts to take advantage of free shipping. In offering this flexibility, Amazon hopes these small businesses will have the opportunity to expand, in particular overseas.
UK B2B E-Commerce Sales on the Rise
The introduction of Amazon Business in the UK comes at a time when B2B e-commerce sales continue to rise. Figures from the Office for National Statistics show B2B e-commerce sales to businesses and public authorities were £9.5 billion in 2015. B2C online spending was £119 billion for this same period.
Since launching Amazon Business in the US, the service has attracted 400,000 business customers generating £800 million in sales ($1 billion). In Germany, where Amazon Business launched last December, 50,000 businesses have already joined the service.
Bill Burkland, Head of Amazon Business UK says:
“Whether you are a sole trader, a buyer in a mid-size company or a chief procurement officer in a large multinational organisation, Amazon Business has the products and capabilities to serve your needs.”
Staples up for Sale?
Meanwhile, in other office supplies news, rumours are rife that Staples may be up for sale.
Reuters reports that the largest US office supplies company is currently in talks with private equity firms regarding a potential sale. This follows Staples merger with Office Depot being blocked nearly a year ago.
Staples shares have halved in three years. Following news of a potential sale to an investment firm shares rose by over 15%.
Increased competition from online retailers, including Amazon, has had a massive impact on Staples. Also, the decline in sales of traditional office supplies as businesses become more digital has had a detrimental effect on the business.