“The largest Amazon Business customers have increased their spending by more than 20% in the last twelve months”

The director of Amazon Business France reveals the results of the year 2020 and the projects in progress, three years after the launch of the BtoB platform.

JDN. What are the results of Amazon Business in France in 2020?

Geraldine Valenti, director of Amazon Business France since October 2020. © Julie Guiomard

Geraldine Valenti. The year 2020 was marked by several highlights, including the deployment of our solution to public sector customers in the first quarter, before the health crisis. This new vertical makes it possible to meet the needs of municipalities, schools, public health professionals and governmental organizations, in particular by offering them payment by administrative order. Currently, we have 3,000 client schools and more than 300 hospitals, clinics and nursing homes. We have set up the Covid-19 space until September 2020 to offer for sale the equipment that we had identified as necessary for healthcare establishments and nursing homes. We have met their needs through negotiated rates and sourced products.

And beyond the public sector?

We have improved our penetration in French SMEs since 16% of them now have an Amazon Business account, as do 90% of Cac 40 companies. The largest Amazon Business customers have increased their spending by more than 20% in the last twelve months. Overall, after three years of existence in France, we have noted an acceleration of our activity in 2020. And this, beyond the health crisis.

Besides the Covid-19 space, what are the most requested features by your corporate clients?

Undeniably, Business Prime is the flagship program of Amazon Business. This allows fast and free delivery with no minimum purchase. It also gives all companies the possibility of customizing the categories accessible to their employees at the time of purchase. Indeed, the objective of Amazon Business is to bring a qualitative consumer experience in the business world while respecting the framework in which the company operates. Some features like expense reporting are also part of Business Prime. We also emphasize the CSR dimension by offering our customers products that meet the societal and environmental standards in force. We also meet the expectations of large companies on dematerialized invoicing subjects, which represent major projects on which we are currently working.

At the launch of Amazon Business France in 2018, Amazon switched all its BtoC merchants to its BtoB platform. How are their sales to companies evolving?

Our Amazon Business customers increasingly favor the offer of third-party sellers and we work closely with them to add products that meet the needs of businesses in order to access the professional market. Large enterprise purchases from third-party sellers increased 40% in 2020 compared to 2019.

Your initial positioning relates to occasional and irregular purchases. Where are you today?

Our mission is always to respond to one-time, non-negotiated purchases, in other words, category C in corporate purchases. This is the best way to test the Amazon Business solution. But the work we have been doing lately on product selection has allowed us to become more professional. On a French and European scale, we have launched purchasing initiatives for product categories that are the subject of calls for tenders between suppliers and we are positioning ourselves as a fully-fledged player in product purchasing. We have risen to relevance on the proposal of product categories such as computer peripheral equipment, office supplies, tools and maintenance. In three years, we have expanded our selections while remaining relevant in terms of price.

Precisely, how do you manage the negotiation phases to set prices?

We have rolled out various pricing features. Now we offer quantity discounts or progressive discounts. The more the product is purchased, the lower the price. Regarding large volume purchases, we negotiate with our customers in order to offer the most relevant prices. If we manage to obtain competitive prices, we want all of our customers to benefit from them. Negotiation is part of our approach to pricing.

You have been in office since October 2020. What projects are you going to carry out this year?

We must continue to listen to what our public sector buyers expect. We want to step up on the CSR issues that are part of our customers’ objectives, via features that allow us to favor local purchases in particular. We also need to improve the delivery of large volumes and the logistics at the various sites where we deliver.

Geraldine Valenti began her career as a sales manager at Athlon Car Lease, before joining Carlson Wagonlit Travel, then becoming global sales manager for CWT Solutions Group for three years. She joined Amazon Business in August 2019 where she held the position of head of enterprise sales for more than a year, before becoming director of Amazon Business France in October 2020.

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