Bengaluru: Online marketplace Amazon.com Inc. has launched a new business-to-business (B2B) retail service on its India platform called Amazon Business to reach a higher base of small and medium enterprises (SMEs), even as the company looks to tap new revenue streams amid a fierce battle for market share with market leader and local e-commerce poster boy Flipkart.
On Wednesday, Amazon India said it would look to serve a wide variety of businesses and ventures through the new service, including technology and service companies, manufacturers, universities and schools.
“This is basically a marketplace to serve the needs of small and medium businesses. The idea was quite simple—we get a lot of feedback from our 220,000-odd sellers who reach out to us and want to buy stuff from our B2C marketplace. As you’re aware, we keep quantity limits on our consumer marketplace. What we’ve gathered is that lots of small businesses struggle to meet their procurement needs in a seamless manner," said Manish Tiwary, vice-president at Amazon India, in an interview.
Amazon launched the B2B marketplace globally in April 2015 and has now replicated that service in a country where small and medium businesses are mushrooming. According to experts, the online B2B market in India is expected to expand fast, helped by the launch of several well-funded B2B start-ups over the past two years.
The new marketplace will have a selection of over 100 million products, according to Amazon. The company expects a lot of business from categories such as electronics, office products and printers. Other categories that are expected to witness high sales are laptops, network storage solutions and pantry supplies, among others.
As part of its B2B push, Amazon has already started putting a local team in place to help run the business and has hired executives from top companies, including the likes of Shalini Puchalapalli of PepsiCo India (Lehar Foods Pvt. Ltd) who heads the new initiative.
Earlier this year, Amazon pumped in separate funds to build out the wholesale business in India. According to filings with the ministry of corporate affairs, Amazon has infused over Rs750 crore to grow the B2B marketplace in India.
“We will have business prices here that will be different from the prices we offer to our customers on our B2C marketplace," said Tiwary. “More importantly, we will give quantity discounts."
Amazon India said it had also tied up with banks and financial services firms that will provide interest-free, business credit cards to eligible customers. Amazon said more than 15,000 small businesses had already enrolled on Amazon Business since its launch.
In 2015, Amazon had taken the first steps towards building a strong B2B business in India and added categories such as furniture to its marketplace as part of a push towards increasing the value of goods sold on its platform.
Amazon first launched its invite-only B2B platform Amazon Business (Amazon Wholesale India Pvt. Ltd) in May 2015 and then opened the offering to all merchants.