Amazon eyes slice of £96bn business-to-business market
Amazon plans to claim a slice of a multibillion-pound marketplace by launching a new UK business-to-business venture.
Amazon Business has set its sights on small companies , multi-nationals, hospitals, universities and not-for-profit organisations with an online hub offering millions of trade products.
Launching today, the procurement service will provide industry supplies, such as laptops, power tools, pressure washers and laboratory equipment.
It comes after o nline retail sales in the UK's B2B market reached £96.5 billion in 2015, according to figures from the Office for National Statistics.
Bill Burkland, head of Amazon Business UK, said the new store combined more than 100 million products with a new set of business features, from reporting and analytics to spending limits and purchasing workflow approvals.
Amazon plans to link up with UK companies behind specialist industry products, offering them the chance to export their goods overseas through the company's vast distribution network.
It means British companies with no export operation can capitalise on a growing global demand for British products triggered by the Brexit-hit pound.
Sterling's slump since the EU referendum vote has presented an opportunity for British exporters by making UK goods cheaper on international markets.
Amazon said the new B2B service would provide VAT invoices and VAT-exclusive prices, while allowing multiple users to take charge of a business account.
The US retail giant will also offer more detailed transaction data - such as the name of the product bought by the business - when customers use a Visa Commercial Card issued by Barclaycard, Citi, HSBC, or Lloyds Bank.
Amazon Business clocked up more than one billion US dollars (£801 million) in sales in its first year following the America launch in April 2015.
The first European operation was rolled out in Germany at the end of 2016 and has more than 50,000 business customers and 10,000 business sellers.