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Amazon today announced the launch of Amazon Business, a new marketplace on Amazon.com that, according to a press release from Amazon, “combines the selection, convenience and value customers have come to know and love from Amazon, with new features and unique benefits tailored to businesses.”

Amazon Business has been designed to provide easy access to hundreds of millions of products – everything from IT and lab equipment to education and food service supplies – as well as business-only selection and pricing. Additionally, customers of the new outfit will be privy to free two-day shipping on tens of millions of eligible items, multi-user business accounts, approval workflow, payment solutions, tax exemptions, dedicated customer support and much more.

“We’ve heard from business customers that they love the convenience of shopping online, and want an experience at work that is similar to how they shop at home,” said Prentis Wilson, Vice President of Amazon Business. “Amazon Business delivers a new and expanded marketplace that brings the selection, convenience and value of Amazon to business customers, manufacturers and sellers with the additional selection, features and back-end integration businesses need to save time and money.”

Forbes has reported this morning that on May 13, AmazonSupply will be subsumed into Amazon Business. The news outlet also stressed the value of Amazon Business as a marketplace for B2B sellers: “Industry experts see Amazon Business as a boon not just for business shoppers but for sellers, who’ll benefit from Amazon’s infrastructure and e-commerce know-how.”

According to this morning’s press release, some of the features Amazon Business offers include:

• Tailored Business Experience: Unique search, browse and shopping experience that is tailored specifically to business purchasing.

•    Business Accounts: Create a single or multi-user business account, invite additional users to join the account, and define groups of users to easily share payment methods and shipping addresses.

•    Free Two-Day Shipping: Fast, free shipping on orders of $49 or more on tens of millions of eligible items, plus access to even faster shipping options.

•   Multi-Seller Marketplace: View multiple offers on a single product page for easy price comparisons, as well as shop sellers that consistently meet the performance and service requirements that businesses expect.

•   Business-Only Pricing: Business-only prices on select items and quantity discounts from select manufacturers and sellers.

•  Business-Only Selection: Business-only items combined with Amazon’s vast selection provides access to hundreds of millions of products, including hard-to-find items like traffic signs, industrial deep fryers, antibodies, 55-gallon steel drums, dent pullers and much more.

• Purchasing Approval: Create approval workflows to enable better spending controls.

•   Purchasing System Integration: Integrate leading third-party procurement solutions for easy access to Amazon Business.

• Amazon Tax Exemption Program: Make tax-exempt purchases and manage tax exemption permissions across an organization.

•   Order Tracking: Add purchase order or reference numbers to purchases to assist with reporting and account reconciliation.

•   Amazon Corporate Credit Line: Place orders and finance purchases using a Pay-in-Full Credit Line or a Revolving Credit Line.

•   Comprehensive Product Information: Rich product pages and studio-quality photography, as well as dimensions, CAD drawings and manufacturer how-to videos.

• Amazon Business Customer Support: World-class Amazon customer service dedicated to registered business shoppers.

Sarah Halzack of the Washington Post suggests this move is more significant than many of Amazon’s highly publicized efforts towards the consumer market. “The new offering may not seem as flashy as some of Amazon's other recent efforts, such as the expansion of same-day and one-hour delivery or the pilot of the Amazon Dash, a gadget for your home that allows you to restock on essentials with the press of a button.  But it's arguably more consequential: The business-to-business market is massive, and this is a sign that Amazon is now making a big play to corner it.”

New sellers interested in the Amazon Business Seller program can learn more at www.amazon.com/business-seller. Sellers currently selling on Amazon that support business level performance can sign up via their existing Amazon Seller Central account at sellercentral.amazon.com/hz/b2bregistration.

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