Amazon: B2B’s Friend or Foe?


Is Amazon a friend or a foe? Well, both.

Truthfully, both Amazon and other marketplaces like eBay (especially if you are in the car parts industry) have significant advantages in terms of:

  • large resources to test new technology,
  • name recognition,
  • and a reputation for large selection and rapid fulfillment. 

Be weary but don’t be scared.

Your customers don’t want to wade through 100,000 results. They want to see the products that are relevant to them. Plus, both of these marketplaces are somewhat unregulated, meaning customers have to comb through lots of inconsistent information to try and find a seller that feels trustworthy. A tailored, reputable, customer-first eCommerce offering goes a long way. 

Here are 3 keys for making Amazon work for your B2B business.

1. Approach these eCommerce giants with a “collaborate to compete” mentality.

Distinguish yourself through a customer-centric eCommerce platform and superior product information. This will make it possible for you to stand on your own two feet AND/OR sell through the online marketplaces.  

Note: if you are competing in one of the 26 categories where Amazon Basics are no. 1, you are going to need to be really proactive with multiple strategies to keep and gain market share.  Proactivity could mean: 

  • Partnering with distributors to promote products on Amazon
  • Clear marketplace advertising strategies
  • Detailed product pages 
  • Using the Amazon Buy Box
  • Exposing brand and products to audiences across Amazon Network and operated sites.

2. Be findable.

Search can be a large driver of new business. But if people can’t find your products, consumers will buy from your search-competent competition. You need to own this. Don’t rely on your retailers to get search right. Invest in search engine optimization (SEO) planning and advisory services. 

When to start: when developing your digital strategy and choosing your eCommerce platform and technologies, choose Search, SEO and Marketplace Presence (and compatibility) as “must-have” features. SEO is not a “one and done” play. It needs to be revisited as you continuously work on your product information and website.

For the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) Compliance you can feed two birds with one bird feeder:

By making your website ADA compliant through alt text, clear headings, a logical website structure and more, you are also improving your SEO. 

3. Display your expertise. 

Be the reliable resource in your market. Show your depth of knowledge through high level customer service, relevant content and a pertinent social media presence. Every market needs a “go-to” resource.   

Manufacturers and distributors have in-depth knowledge of the goods they sell, be it electric componentry or industrial machinery. This expertise represents value for your customers. Amazon is a marketplace with an estimated 350 million products (if you include Amazon Marketplace Sellers). As a customer, if you needed an expert, who would you turn to?

Start selling on Amazon.

Instead of seeing Amazon as a threat, think of them as a potential partner. 

This might seem counterintuitive at first. But if you can see third party platforms as an additional channel that compliments your eCommerce website and brick-and-mortar locations, Amazon can help increase your reach and sales. 

Leverage the marketplace’s weight, SEO mastery, fulfillment infrastructure and client base to your advantage. Use Amazon to increase sales across channels. Move from wholesale margins to retail margins with the platform.