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Amazon Enticing Business Customers with Prime Shipping Offer

Thursday, October 26, 2017  
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Amazon is looking to repeat the success of its Prime programme for consumers by introducing Business Prime Shipping for Amazon Business customers in the US and Germany.

 

Amazon has an estimated 80 million Prime accounts in the US alone, and these customers purchase more items and more frequently. No doubt with this in mind, the e-tail giant has launched a dedicated Business Prime Shipping offer for its Amazon Business members in the US and Germany, meaning that Prime shipping – free shipping on eligible items and no minimum order value – is available for all users on an Amazon Business account in these countries.

 

Previously, users could only link their personal Prime account with an Amazon Business account (and they still can), but this only works for self-employed people or very small businesses with single-user business accounts. The new Business Prime Shipping service is aimed at all sizes of business and comes in three levels of annual membership depending on the number of employees. Any new user added to an existing Amazon Business account with Business Prime Shipping will be automatically enrolled in this membership.

 

While basically the same kind of service, there are some key differences between the US and German Business Prime Shipping offerings.

 

Delivery times:

Free two-day shipping in the US, and free next-day shipping in Germany (with 1-2 days for customers in Austria).

 

Annual fees:

  • Up to ten users: $499 in the US and €200 ($236) in Germany.
  • Up to 100 users: $1,299 in the US and €500 ($590) in Germany.
  • Over 100 users: $10,099 in the US and €4,000 ($4,720) in Germany.
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The fees in Germany don’t include VAT, which adds an extra 19% to the price, but even including that, the costs are much lower than in the US. Incidentally, a personal Prime account costs $99 per year in the US and €69 (around $80) per year in Germany, so the basic Prime offering is cheaper in Germany anyway, but the price differential for Business Prime is greater, even accounting for VAT.

Amazon Business has made a promotional video about Business Prime Shipping, and there is also another video and a case study with two pilot customers that can be accessed on this page.

 

At first glance, the introduction of Business Prime Shipping would appear to be more of a threat to industrial and janitorial distributors whose delivery lead times and minimum order thresholds tend to be greater than in the office products channel where next-day delivery has been the standard for many years.

Nevertheless, heed should be taken of the lack of a minimum order value on Business Prime Shipping, and resellers will need to reinforce their messages regarding their already robust shipping policies, customer loyalty/rewards programmes, desktop delivery options and the environmental impact of employees placing lots of small, low-value orders.

 

 

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