Amazon Business: Is It Right for Your Workplace?
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Amazon Business is a complete purchasing system for your business - but along with tons of extras like free shipping, quantity discounts, and special deals. And best of all, Amazon Business is free.
It is also a way to manage your own business team - allowing employees to make purchases while still providing management control.
Over a million businesses are signed up for the program. Read on to find out if Amazon Business is right for you.
Amazon Business allows you to set up your business structure within an account so that your entire team can purchase items at the same time that you and other managers can control the process.
For example, if one of your employees needs a laptop, you can have them purchase one on Amazon. Then the request will be routed to you for approval. It's a simple, effective process.
Plus you will get a lot more with Amazon Business including business-only pricing, tax exemptions, free shipping, and more.
For most Amazon users, the obvious thing about Amazon Business is its integration with Business Prime.
This part of the system provides the same free priority shipping that regular Prime does. But it also includes things like members-only offers.
Once you sign up for Amazon Business, you can purchase a Business Prime account that allows multiple team members to use your account. Business Prime plans start at $179 per year.
Amazon Business allows you to set up your account so that members of your team can make purchases. Their exact purchasing power will depend upon the permissions that you grant them.
Additionally, you get to set up approval workflows. This allows you to set purchasing limits on users and to have orders confirmed. There are also analytics so that you can track your company's purchasing.
This system could be enough for some small businesses. But if you need more, you can connect your account to your own purchasing system. Amazon Business customer support will work with you to set it up.
If you dig down into Amazon Business, you will find a lot of appealing extras like comparison pricing on product pages where you will see multiple offers from different vendors. But here we'll just go over the major features of the plan.
With Business Prime, you get free two-day shipping and special deals.
Depending upon where you live, you may be able to get one-day or same-day delivery.
Advanced Prime Features
Business Prime is available via four plans starting at $179 per year - not much more than regular Amazon prime.
In addition to allowing more people to use your account, the Small, Medium, and Enterprise plans offer special features:
- Spend Visibility: analyze your buying patterns
- Extended terms for Pay-by-Invoice: take up to 60 days to pay
- Guided Buying: steer users to the right products and suppliers.
Like with a standalone purchasing system, you can match your organizational structure onto your Amazon Business account. This creates a system that sets who can purchase what and how purchase requests are handled.
But it goes beyond organizing purchases. As we'll discuss shortly, Amazon allows you to pay in multiple ways. So you can pay with invoices, for example.
Amazon's suppliers offer products that are only offered to businesses. You can only get them through Amazon Business.
Plus, you will get special prices on selected items. Amazon says this includes millions of products.
Additionally, you will get quantity discounts when you buy in bulk.
When you combine these features with Amazon's system that makes comparison shopping easy, Amazon Business should save you a lot of money.
Amazon Business provides a variety of payment methods.
You can sign up for an Amazon Business Prime American Express Card to be linked to your account. Using this card either gives you 5% back or 90-day interest-free terms on your purchases.
This benefit doesn't just apply to regular Amazon purchases. You will get this deal on AWS as well as Whole Foods Market.
Large businesses can also open a corporate line of credit that can be used by multiple members of their team.
Amazon Business offers purchasing analytics. With them, you can go beyond monitoring and visualize your purchasing with tables and charts.
Related to analytics is Amazon Business' support for purchase orders.
With them, your team will enter a PO number and an optional comment to all their orders.
Thus you can better track your purchases.
Other Features of Amazon Business
For those without Business Prime, Amazon still offers free shipping on most purchases. There are limits to it, however. It only applies to orders of $25 or more. And it does not provide priority shipping as you get with a Prime membership.
If your business purchases physically large shipments, you can get pallet shipments. You will need to qualify for these shipments, however.
There are a number of circumstances where a business might be exempt from taxes on an item. One of the most common is when an item is purchased for resale as part of another item.
If you are a US-based business that purchases from European suppliers, you would also be exempt from the value-added tax (VAT).
Amazon Business is designed to allow you to set up these tax exemptions on an organization-wide basis.
Amazon Business customers get tailored dashboards that include things like access to purchases for easy reorders.
It also provides a tailored experience on product pages. You are probably familiar with the section on normal product pages, "Customers who bought this item also bought."
Amazon Business presents multiple offers on the same product page. Using this feature, you will get the best deals on your purchases.
It is easy to get an Amazon Business account. And it's free. All you have to do if enter a little information about your business.
You start by entering your business or work email address, your name, and a password.
Then you enter your business or work information.
You will need to provide your Social Security Number or Employer Identification Number (EIN) to verify your business. You will usually get verification within 24 hours of providing this information.
Set-up Your Account
Once you have created your Amazon Business account, you should get Business Prime and then set up your account users and approval workflows.
Sign-Up for Business Prime
You don't have to sign-up for a Business Prime account to use Amazon Business. But if you are going to be purchasing even a moderate amount of stuff, it is a good investment.
You add user accounts by clicking on your Amazon Business account menu and selecting "Manage Your Business." A new page will load with a "People" section. There you will find two buttons: "Add a Person" and "Add Multiple People."
Regardless of which one you select, you can set up users with the appropriate permissions and workflow control.
If you have a large number of employees, you may want to set up groups to have different levels of access. For example, you might have all people in sales in one group.
Define Your Approval Workflows
You can define your workflow from your Amazon Business dashboard. Select "Manage Your Business" from the menu.
From there, go to "Buying policies" on the page. There you will be able to select "Approvals" to set the users who can approve purchases.
Users who do not have have approval authority will have their purchases routed to one of the users with approval before the order is placed.
Other Account Settings
Also within your Amazon Business account dashboard, you can set up the following:
- ATEP for tax-exempt purchasing
- Set preferred suppliers
- View analytics
- Connect to your purchasing system.
Amazon Business is a powerful system that should save you time and effort. It offers enough tools and deals to satisfy most business people. And given that it's free, it is worth at least checking out. Visit Amazon now to see if it is right for you.