Amazon has recently rolled out new features for its business customers called Amazon Business. Even small or medium-sized businesses can enjoy quantity discounts, approval workflows, and tax exemptions. SMB customers can also take advantage of Business Prime to get free shipping and more perks from Amazon.
In this article, we’ll introduce you to Amazon Business through the lens of smaller sized businesses and we’ll show you what Amazon’s business programs can do to help them save money and operate more efficiently.
Find What You’re Looking For
Describing Amazon Business is a little like the parable of the blind men and the elephant: depending on where you stand, it can seem like a completely different animal.
- If you buy things for work — anything from pens to furniture — Amazon Business resembles Staples and Office Depot. You can buy in bulk, get quantity discounts, and keep track of all your expenses.
- If you approve purchases or work in procurement in your role as a manager or other departmental leader, you’ll see Amazon Business as a great way to manage approval workflows that can fold into your purchasing systems.
As with all things Amazon, their business offering also has its own unique perks — most notably a business-only version of their Prime subscription.
Let’s dig into the details!
What is Amazon Business?
Amazon Business is a bundle of features Amazon offers exclusively for businesses of all sizes. Signing up for and using the service is free. Amazon will verify that you do indeed have a business, so you’ll have a short waiting period before you’re up and running.
What Are the Benefits of Having Amazon Business?
After you’re verified, you’ll have access to a variety of benefits, including:
- Exclusive pricing for businesses
- Free shipping over $25
- Quantity discounts
- Price comparison
- Sourcing requirement filters
- Approval workflows
- Purchasing systems and analytics
- Tax-exempt purchasing (for qualifying businesses).
How Does Amazon Business Work?
Once your business has been verified, you’ll automatically see business-exclusive products and pricing when you search Amazon. Keep in mind that products with business pricing are a subset of products that Amazon offers. That means you won’t see special pricing on everything but Amazon has millions of products that do have business discounts.
What is Amazon Business Prime?
After you’re verified as an Amazon Business customer, you become eligible to purchase the Business Prime plan, if you wish. Business Prime enhances Amazon Business buy giving you more flexibility on delivery and payment terms.
What Additional Benefits Come With Business Prime?
On top of the Amazon Business benefits we listed above, you get additional perks with Business Prime:
- Free delivery on all purchases (including same-day delivery) and ways to make delivery more flexible like consolidated delivery, recurring delivery, and special delivery days.
- Extended payment terms, like 45-day invoicing.
- Guided buying, like preferred suppliers, products, or purchasing standards
- Spend visibility analytics dashboards which present your purchasing data as charts instead of spreadsheets.
How Much Does Business Prime Cost?
Despite having similar names, Business Prime is separate from your personal Prime account and it will incur a separate cost. Although Amazon Business is free for anyone to sign up for, if you want to add on Business Prime you’ll pay a yearly fee, ranging from $179 to $10,099 per year, depending on the size of your business.
Something to keep in mind: your personal Amazon Prime account is not linked to your Business Prime account and they will incur separate subscription fees.
Top 10 Amazon Business Features for SMBs
Now that you have an overall idea of how Amazon Business and Business Prime work, let’s dig a little deeper to uncover the top ten hidden gems waiting there for your business.
1. Office Supplies
A good way to think about Amazon Business is that it’s similar to Staples or Office Depot. You can use Amazon to buy any supplies your business needs: paper, pens, cleaning supplies, medical gloves, envelopes, computers, or even office furniture.
Your business doesn’t have to be large to take advantage of business-only prices and bulk discounts. Amazon claims it has over 5 million products that are exclusive to its Business plan.
2. Business-Only Pricing and Bulk Discounts
After you’ve signed up for Amazon Business you’ll see items that are exclusive to business purchasers. You can get quantity discounts on many items too. And Amazon makes it easy to compare costs and features across multiple products at the same time.
Amazon says it has millions of products available for business-exclusive pricing. The items offered run the gamut of professional businesses. Whether you’re a high school custodian, a chef, or a stockbroker, you’ll find the products you need every day for your business.
3. Free Shipping and Pallet Shipping
As part of Amazon Business, you free two-day shipping on orders over $25. Businesses that need to buy large items in bulk can opt for pallet shipping, delivered to your loading dock or business address.
If you add-on Business Prime (see pricing table above), you can also opt for free one-day or same-day shipping.
For supplies you purchase on a regular basis, Amazon Business gives recurring delivery discounts on certain items if you set up a schedule such as weekly or monthly purchases.
Amazon Business has an advantage over other office supply stores: Amazon’s world-class logistics network. It operates over 75 fulfillment centers just in North America. Amazon’s vast network works alongside and as a complement to existing delivery services like the US Postal Service and FedEx.
4. Compare Item Prices and Guided Buying
One unique feature you won’t find on your personal Amazon account is Amazon Business’s price comparison feature. You can select multiple items and compare their features and costs at the same time, all on a single page.
If you purchased Business Prime and you’re tired of hearing the question of “What am I allowed to buy?” you’ll love that Amazon will answer that question for you. When you set up Amazon Business for your company, you can pick a policy type, a product, or a particular seller and mark these items as “preferred” or “restricted.”
5. “Pay by Invoice” and Extended Payment Terms
Once you’ve been approved as a free member of Amazon Business, you can opt to buy your supplies on “net terms.” You’ll get just one invoice for all supplies you purchase within a five-day period.
With Business Prime, the deal gets even sweeter. If you are on the Business Prime Small or Medium plan (see pricing table above), you can extend the period of your invoice for up to 45-days. Normal payment terms are 30-days so having an extra two weeks to pay for your supplies can give you some breathing room.
6. Purchasing System Integration
Amazon Business gives requisitioners the power to integrate your existing purchasing system with Amazon’s product database via a system called PunchOut.
With this integration in place, a business customer can click through (or “punch out”) to Amazon via their business’s internal purchasing system. You can shop on Amazon normally, and when you’re ready to pay, you submit your Shopping Cart for approval and the workflow goes back through the business purchasing system.
‘Punchout’ is industry terminology for purchasing supplies through the internet using an intermediary purchasing system.” –Amazon
7. Workflow and Analytics
Amazon Business can accommodate whatever workflow you use at your company for purchase approvals. For example:
- You can set up groups that mimic your business structure, like differentiating between purchasers and purchase approvers.
- You can add payment methods to your Business account and control who gets to use each method.
- There are lots of ways to customize approval workflows — including spending limits.
On your analytics, you can view reports of purchased items, refunds, and returns. If you are an Amazon Business Prime member, you also get data visualization, meaning that you can create charts from your analytics reports.
8. Filter to Meet Sourcing Requirements
When looking for supplies on Amazon Business, you can also filter business types for sourcing requirements — for example, you can choose to show only small business, women-owned, or minority-owned businesses.
9. Vertical Markets
Small businesses like medical practices, schools, and churches can get even more benefits from Amazon Business.
Education and Nonprofits
Schools can buy Amazon Business Prime for a max of $3,499 per year, regardless of size. If your business qualifies for tax exemption — like charities or churches — you can apply to Amazon get taxes waived on your purchases.
Medical and dental practices have access to buying items specialized for healthcare. Doctors and nurses can buy “sutures, syringes, point-of-care testing, [and] procedure trays,” according to the website.
Dentists can even get bonding agents, and restoratives, or impression materials.
10. Amazon Business American Express Card
If you purchase Amazon Business Prime, you can apply for Amazon’s Business American Express Card. The card is unique in that you can choose to get cash back on your purchases or get an extended deadline to pay off your balance.
If your AmEx card application is accepted, you’ll also get an Amazon gift card worth $100 – $125.
If you don’t need a credit card, you can also apply for a corporate credit line and you’ll have complete control over who gets to use and approve spending with it.
Amazon Business has some great features that SMBs will love. Not only can it help you save money and time, but it can also make your purchasing workflow more efficient. Add to that the benefits that come with Business Prime like free same day delivery and guided buying and it’s easy to see why Amazon Business is a great choice for small and medium-sized businesses.
Learn more about Amazon Business and get started for free today.