Amazon Business, the B2B platform for the e-commerce giant, is making rapid strides in India where it has become the biggest marketplace for the company outside the United States. Since its launch in India about six years ago, the platform has seen its customer base grow 68 per cent annually, the pace accelerating over the last three years with over 6.5 lakh sellers on its platform.
“Our aim is to understand and cater to the distinct needs of MSMEs through our customer backward approach,” Suchit Subhas, Director, Amazon Business, told businessline.
Here are edited excerpts of an interview with Subhas:
What has been the growth trajectory of Amazon Business in India?
Since its launch in 2017, Amazon Business has aimed to empower MSMEs by being a one-stop destination offering a wide selection of business supplies, competitive pricing, and a vast delivery network. We are India’s largest GST store having over 16 crore GST-enabled products. We started with 14,000 sellers and now we have over 6.5 lakh sellers with us. Our marketplace offers easy online procurement, a wide customer and seller base, along with the tools to manage procurement efficiently. This helps MSMEs save time and money, providing them with insights to make informed purchasing decisions. We are able to deliver to 99.5 per cent pin codes across the country by utilising our deeply penetrated network of fulfilment centres across India. Today, more than 30 per cent of our customers and 25 per cent of our orders come from Tier II and Tier III cities. In the last 3 years, Amazon Business has grown its customer base by 5X and seen an increase in total sales by 4X.
How does the growth in India compare to other geographies?
We have seen exponential growth, with a CAGR of 68 per cent in customer base, making the Indian marketplace of Amazon Business the second biggest after the US. We also witnessed a 42 per cent increase in monthly transacting customers.
At Amazon Business, we follow a customer backward approach, taking feedback from customers to incorporate new features and initiatives, which help in increasing the output for MSMEs. To tackle the challenges faced by MSMEs in India, we have launched a host of features, such as Bill to Ship, Multi-User accounts, Credit Extension, Digital catalogues, and Post-Spend analytics.
How is Amazon Business transforming the landscape in terms of catering to office supplies?
We have continued to add products to cater to changing needs of businesses. To simplify the shopping experience for our customers, we have dedicated stores, such as Office supplies stores, Quantity deals, Savings hubs, and Gifting stores to help customers find products as per their needs – all curated in one place. Our commercial store offers thousands of products, such as business laptops, networking devices, industrial adhesives, tools and equipment, and safety and security across top brands, such as Lenovo, Cisco, Pidilite, Kimberly Clark, Stanley Black and Decker, Kirloskar.
What is the edge that Amazon Business offers compared to suppliers offline?
Amazon Business is revolutionising procurement in India digitally and contributing to the Digital India mission by providing a reliable and efficient platform for businesses to purchase goods and services online. We offer frequently purchased business supplies and products at wholesale prices to small and medium businesses. We also offer the largest selection of products that offer savings through GST input tax credits, bulk discounts, and business-exclusive deals and offers.
What do companies look for most while procuring from Amazon Business?
At Amazon Business, we cater to the diverse needs of MSMEs and provide them with distinct options to resolve their challenges. For instance, there might be some specific solutions required for organisations in tier 1 cities that might not work in tier 2 and tier 3 regions. For MSMEs in deeper regions, we have several benefits along with our regular benefits and features. Amazon Business supports multiple languages bridging the language barrier. To reduce logistics costs, we offer a wide range of delivery options. This is beneficial for MSMEs located in areas with poor connectivity.
Is it cost-effective for companies to procure from Amazon Business?
Today, indirect spending is one of the biggest long-tail challenges in the procurement process for the majority of businesses. It not only requires ample time investment due to multiple vendor coordination but also leaves less room for negotiations due to the low volume of supplies. The absence of insights on such procurements has a direct impact on the profit. Amazon Business supports SMBs to run their business more efficiently by tackling these indirect spends, such as multiple vendor management, low bargaining, negotiations due to lower volume, and post-spend insights.