Chances are, you’ve shopped on Amazon at some point. You may even have used Amazon as a business to make purchases specifically for business items. However, if you’re shopping on Amazon for business items and you’re not using the Amazon Business platform, you may be missing out.
Amazon Business is a version of Amazon designed specifically for businesses. It is a one-stop-shop for everything a company could need, providing access to hundreds of millions of products, from office and janitorial supplies to professional-grade equipment, and much more.
It mirrors Amazon’s streamlined purchase process and offers cost-cutting features such as quantity discounts and price comparisons, and time-saving features like workflow processes and multi-user accounts. There is even a business version of Amazon Prime (which we will talk about later) and many other benefits that make signing up for the platform worthwhile.
The shopping experience is slightly different on Amazon Business than its public-use counterpart, so we thought we’d give you a quick review.
Amazon Business Review
You will need to register for an account before actually shopping on Amazon Business. This includes providing some information about your business for Amazon and choosing designations for your account.
If you already have an Amazon account, you can convert it to a Business account or create a separate account using your work email address. If you convert your existing account, you will no longer be able to use it for personal reasons, so it makes sense to set up the Business account separately.
Once signed up, you can manage your account information, register multiple users, and even organize people into groups. If you have different departments that make distinct types of purchases, you can separate them. You can even designate various payment methods and spending limits for each group or user.
The platform also allows you to set up approval workflows if you’d like to be notified of purchases or if you want to have yourself or a supervisor approve any or all purchases through the platform. There are options available for non-profit organizations or any other business that gets tax-exempt status on purchases.
Then it’s time to shop. You’ll see various categories like office supplies, electronics, software, and books on the home page. You can browse by category or enter the name of the specific product you’re looking for at the top of the page’s search bar.
Once you click on an item, you’ll be taken to the product detail page. This page looks much like a regular product page on Amazon. It includes general information like the price, photos, specifications, and reviews. You’ll also see whether the item you’re looking at is eligible for free two-day shipping. You can compare offers of similar products right on that page.
If you have technical questions about the item you’re considering, you also have the option on the product page to chat directly with the manufacturer. You can do this via either live chat or email.
Pricing is one of the main reasons businesses choose to sign up for an account with Amazon Business. Many of the prices you’ll see on the product pages are exclusive to account holders. Some manufacturers even offer their products exclusively to business users on the platform. Businesses also get free two-day shipping on eligible items of $25 or more.
Once you’ve decided on an item, it’s a lot like shopping on regular Amazon or pretty much any other ecommerce store. You just put the item in your cart, and when you’re done shopping, click the Proceed to Checkout button.
To help track your orders and spending, the platform gives you the option of adding a purchase number to your order during the checkout process.
Then you can choose your shipping location and preferences, including free two-day shipping if your order is eligible.
If you’ve set up approval workflows, then the platform will contact a designated person via email to approve the order before it goes out.
You’ll also get an email confirmation letting you know when to expect your shipment. You can also log onto the site to see when your packages are scheduled to arrive.
Then, all you need to do is await your business purchases!
What is Amazon Business?
Amazon Business is a free version of Amazon that allows registered businesses and their employees to shop for Amazon’s business supplies. The platform offers a streamlined procurement process, access to millions of business products at special pricing with quantity discounts, and two-day shipping on eligible items.
According to Amazon, business account holders include:
- 55% of the Fortune 100 companies
- 50% of the 100 largest U.S. hospital systems
- Over 40% of the 100 most populous local governments
- 150,000 sellers with a combined sales of $10 billion per year
What does Amazon Business do?
Amazon Business works similarly to the standard Amazon, with a few exceptions. Business account customers use the platform to shop for products for their company from thousands of vendors and millions of items. Products cover several categories, from breakroom, office, and janitorial supplies to IT peripherals and professional-grade equipment.
Account administrators can add users (typically, their employees) to the account who can purchase on behalf of the company. Administrators can manage features such as payment methods, shipping addresses, approval workflows, and reporting options. They can also set spending limits, monitor buying, access price discounts on multi-unit purchases, get pallet deliveries, and more.
Is an Amazon Business account free?
The Amazon Business account is free for businesses of any type, including small businesses, enterprises, and tax-exempt organizations. The majority of benefits require subscribing to the optional Business Prime program, which users can do for as little as $69 per year. It comes with a 30-day free trial.
What are the benefits of Amazon Business?
Amazon Business offers many benefits to business users, ranging from wide product selection to discounts on bulk orders to free two-day shipping on eligible products. Here is a summary of the benefits:
- Business and product selection. Amazon Business makes millions of business-relevant products available to small businesses, enterprises, and non-profits. These include business sellers with specific attributes, such as small business, women-owned, and minority-owned.
- Discounts. Amazon business customers can cut costs with business-only prices, deals, and bulk quantity discounts. Amazon also offers up to an additional 10% off with Recurring Delivery on eligible items. Users can also compare multiple offers from competing sellers to find the best price.
- Shipping and delivery options. Users can get free shipping on all orders of $25 or more of eligible items and set delivery preferences to get orders when most convenient.
- Analytics. Custom analytics dashboards and reports help buyers make purchase decisions with greater insight. These tools also make reconciliation easy with credit card level detail to track business purchases.
- Reorder Lists. Account-holders can save time with Reorder Lists that let them quickly reorder the items they buy most.
- Multi-user accounts. Account administrators can add employees to the account and set up purchasing groups for workflow approvals.
- Payment options. The platform makes cash flow options flexible with tools like shared payment methods or Pay by Invoice upon approval.
- Tax exemptions. Account admins can apply tax exemption status to eligible purchases with the Amazon Tax Exemption Program.
- Streamlined procurement processes. The platform integrates with eligible e-procurement systems. Currently, 90 are enabled.
- Payment efficiencies. Users can consolidate purchasing to one invoice with p-cards on Amazon Business for real-time visibility of line-item spend.
What is the difference between Amazon Business and Amazon Prime?
Amazon Business is tailored to buying for your business, while Amazon Prime is intended for individual use. It lacks the tools and bigger discounts found in Amazon Business. Conversely, Business does not offer the features found in Prime that most people sign up for — music, video streaming, reading, or gaming — as those are designed for personal use. Like Amazon Business, however, Prime membership comes with discounts on purchases and two-day free shipping.
There is a business version of Amazon Prime that allows Amazon Business customers to keep their Prime benefits and unlock additional services suited for their small business. The membership program costs start at $69 per year, and there is a 30-day free trial.
In addition to the benefits offered by Amazon Business, the Business Prime subscription includes several key features that make becoming a subscriber very attractive:
- Business pricing. Amazon Business Prime members get access to exclusive offers and Prime Day deals.
- Spend visibility. This feature, powered by AWS QuickSight, gives members visualizations of company spending, making analyzing data and spending trends easier.
- Guided buying. Account administrators can list certain suppliers and products in a preferred status and apply specific product category restrictions, to consolidate suppliers and boost compliance.
- Amazon Business American Express Card. If approved, Business Prime members can get access to a no-annual-fee Amazon Business Prime American Express Card. Members can also benefit from 5% back or 90 days to pay interest-free on U.S. purchases at Amazon Business.
- Extended terms for Pay by Invoice. Amazon Business Prime members can apply for “Extended Terms for Pay by Invoice.” This feature extends payment terms to 45 or 60 days, depending on their plan, to pay an Amazon Business invoice.
- Progressive Discounts. Amazon Business Prime members can lower prices and save even more money on the products they buy the most thanks to a feature called Progressive Discounts. Amazon bases Progressive Discounts on the total volume of eligible products purchased by an organization over the past 12 months. Once unlocked, the Progressive Discount applies to all purchases of that product across the organization.
Amazon Business Prime membership also comes with other exclusive features, such as Amazon Workdocs (cloud storage for business documents) and assistance on guided buying and spend visibility (available to Enterprise customers only).
Amazon Business Prime pricing scales based on the number of users. The breakdown goes like this:
- Duo – $69 per year (one user)
- Essentials – $179 per year (up to three users)
- Small – $499 per year (up to 10 users)
- Medium – $1,299 per year (up to 100 users)
- Enterprise – $10,099 per year (over 100 users)
Amazon Business is currently available in eight countries: the United States, Canada, France, Italy, Spain, United Kingdom, Germany, Japan, and India. Amazon Business Prime is only available in the U.S., Japan, and Germany.
How do I set up an Amazon Business account?
You must register to use Amazon Business. The signup process is relatively straightforward and involves just a few steps:
- Go to the Amazon Business landing page and click the orange “Create a free account” button;
- Input your email address and choose a password;
- Amazon takes you to an authentication page where you type in a set of letters and numbers, which Amazon displays;
- Next, you will receive an email containing six numbers you will enter into a field Amazon shows you to verify the email address and authenticate the account;
- The final step is to enter your business information. Once that’s done, you have created the account.
It can take up to three days to verify the business account. However, Amazon presents an optional step that enables you to verify your account quicker. Enter your business credit card and EIN or SSN (if you are a sole proprietor). It takes between 24 and 48 hours to verify the business using this option. If Amazon is unable to verify the business information, you will receive an email to confirm your registration details. Check the details in the email and respond.
(Note: Signing up for Business Prime is a separate step, which you can do by visiting the landing page once you have registered and your account is verified.)
Forrester conducted a study of companies across several industries to assess the benefits, costs, and risks associated with using Amazon Business and Business Prime.
Based on a composite of all the companies interviewed combined with data aggregation, Forrester concluded that using Amazon Business and Business Prime produced the following results:
- 555% ROI against the cost of the Business Prime membership;
- Payback in under six months;
- Delivery of lower prices and shipping, providing a savings of $138,657 over three years;
- Improved spend control through optimization of rogue spend, which can result in a savings of $93,061 over a three-year period;
- Easier procurement process efficiencies, like approvals and ordering processes, resulting in a three-year gain of $346,113;
- Increased buyer efficiency by 11%.
The key takeaways from the study were that Amazon Business and Business Prime simplifies purchasing and reduces costs.
When you factor in the cost savings from business pricing and quantity discounts, coupled with the ease of shopping, and the ability to compare prices and vendors, it stands to reason that Amazon Business with Business Prime can be beneficial. Since it’s free to sign up, it can’t hurt to give the platform a try, whether yours is a small business, enterprise, or non-profit.