As the web has grown and more B2B companies have expanded their online presences, they have had to deal with the notion of Amazon as a competitor. Not in the normal sense of competition for business, but competition for attention. B2B companies have also had to contend with the Amazon experience. No matter what your business, as soon as you migrate it to the web, your customers expect an experience like they get at Amazon. This means easy navigation, filtered browsing, robust search, recommended products, customer reviews, simple checkout and reliable shipping.
The launch of Amazon Supply brings more than 500,000 scientific, industrial and business products to customers the Amazon way. If your B2B company sells products in these categories, you are not just competing against the Amazon experience, but you are competing against Amazon themselves. This is going to be a frictionless process for many smaller customers, as they will be able to use their Amazon account and associated credit card to make their business purchases. This new business supports a line of credit as well, so if you are in the business of selling these kinds of products, it is time to understand what your competitive advantage is, and how you can leverage your customer relationships to maintain your business.
It is unlikely that you can compete with Amazon on price or shopping experience, so focus on your people and their experience in the various industries. AmazonSupply offers phone ordering, free shipping, technical product support and fax orders 24 hours a day. Wow, really? Faxes?
Social media can help support your existing customers and attract prospects if you create and share content that provides business value to your customers. Even though AmazonSupply has Twitter and Facebook profiles, it is unlikely that they will create a blog, hold webinars or distribute business ebooks (Kindle books excluded, of course) to help their customers solve their business problems. With products in such a broad array of categories (listed below), their content strategy would be too fragmented to be effective. It is likely that they will use social media to promote products and specials and handle customer service issues.
And rather than treating them like Amazon, treat them as you would any other competitor. Although if you have online initiatives that you have been holding off, now may be the time to get those moving. What are other things you can do to compete against AmazonSupply?
- Abrasives & Finishing
- Cutting Tools
- Fleet & Vehicle Maintenance
- Hydraulics, Pneumatics & Plumbing
- Janitorial & Sanitation
- Lab & Scientific
- Material Handling
- Occupational Health & Safety
- Power & Hand Tools
- Power Transmission
- Test, Measure & Inspect