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April 22 2021

How to do B2B eCommerce like Amazon

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It is more possible than you think to become ‘the Amazon of B2B eCommerce’. It might not have seemed so when someone suggested it in a meeting once. ‘We need to do eCommerce like Amazon’ perhaps seemed pie in the sky at the time. Eventually the notion fell away and nothing much happened.

But, if you break down Amazon’s online offering, is there really anything there that a UK wholesaler wouldn’t be able to replicate? After all, isn’t Amazon simply inventory, on a massive scale, offered with clarity and ease-of-use?

When you start breaking down the individual barriers that remain there is actually very little that is insurmountable for most wholesalers.

Barriers to doing ‘eCommerce like Amazon’: language, cost, time, strategy

So Amazon is simply a massive online warehouse, accessed by consumers and businesses alike. That sounds easy. The most frequent barriers that then come up are:

  • Multiple languages: Amazon is in every country and every language. How will we ever translate our offering and get our app working in even a handful of countries, let alone globally?
  • Cost: developing Amazon’s user-facing apps and background infrastructure for ourselves is going to be expensive.
  • Time: even if we started today we couldn’t have the B2B version of Amazon up and running for several years.
  • Strategy: why do we need to do this? Won’t we need to do a lot more work in the background to make B2B eCommerce a success?

Looks can again be deceiving though. Yes, Amazon is in every country, but it’s not quite the ‘same Amazon’. As the company grew they developed different sites and corresponding apps for each country they expanded to. You’ll be on Amazon UK in the UK and Amazon Germany in Germany. Global scale doesn’t need to be achieved in one step; instead of multilingual, think multi-app.

Each new instance of ‘the app’, your online B2B wholesale offering, can be cloned and translated as you either expand into new territories or roll out your online eCommerce solution territory by territory.

The strategy of eCommerce

The reasons for building a B2B wholesale eCommerce offering now are also likely to differ from Amazon’s strategy, way back in the 20th century.

Where Amazon needed to establish their online shop and create an audience for it, you likely already have your audience. There has been much coverage in B2C recently of the challenges for local and SME businesses who have built Shopify shops during the COVID-19 pandemic. For them, having an online presence may only be part of the problem; once built, promotion is still needed.

But for wholesalers with dedicated offline customers, the audience is already well-established. For them, creating an eCommerce offering like Amazon’s is likely to:

  • Increase order frequency
  • Increase digital basket value
  • Generate customer reactivations
  • Create add-on purchase value through in-app marketing
  • Streamline order handling
  • Solve customer queries faster and at a better rate

Those benefits exist without the need to also promote yourself as a brand; in the 21st century, they simply come with the territory.

Solving cost and time

The remaining barriers then are cost and time. There were no easy answers or arguments to solve these out there, which is why we created b2b.store.

b2b.store starts from free. There is no setup cost and no barrier to entry for wholesalers who want to do ‘eCommerce like Amazon’.

There’s also no waiting time. As a white-label solution we simply apply your branding and import your SKUs. It can literally take hours for you to offer eCommerce to your clients once you supply your product and data files. For more complex requirements, like selling in a different language, there is sometimes a few days wait. But we’re talking days not months.

Ecommerce like Amazon for B2B wholesalers in 2021: surprisingly achievable

The digitisation of the sector has been inevitable for some time and has been accelerated due to various factors, including Brexit.

But, thankfully, the solutions to achieve that digitisation, such as b2b.store, are also arriving at pace. 

When it was first suggested that you might want to do ‘eCommerce like Amazon’ it may have sounded like a pipe dream, but nowadays B2B wholesalers are literally hours away from having a fully functional eCommerce app up and running. And that really is moving at Amazon-like speed.