In case you missed it, Amazon has quietly dipped its toe into the B2B arena with its initiative called Amazon Business. The aim is to supply any company with anything it needs to operate.
As an e-commerce powerhouse, Amazon is the intimidating new player in the crowded B2B landscape. Consumers all over the world are already familiar with Amazon and are likely to carry over their buying habits to the business. The impact this will have on North America’s distribution companies is unknown, but it is certain that companies in every industry will have to look for new ways of selling to differentiate themselves from Amazon.
In the professional AV world, Viewsonic is the first projector manufacturer to jump on board, and it is only a matter of time before more brands will start appearing in the online marketplace. So, what can AV companies do to keep up? How must they change their business models to stay relevant?
What Is Amazon Business?
Previously known as AmazonSupply, Amazon Business is the e-commerce giant’s jump into the B2B world. The new marketplace has hundreds of millions of products and allows customers to compare prices, chat with experts, and set up approval workflows for larger purchases.
Any registered company will have access to a huge range of business-only products. Everything from lab equipment to deep fryers is being sold via Amazon Business. Sellers also benefit from the new Amazon infrastructure. B2B sellers see the value in having a secondary offering and use Amazon to target new customers and offer special pricing and discounts.
How Can AV Companies Adapt?
Amazon is Amazon. It will be able to sell products cheaper and have the resources to back it up. What Amazon lacks is true professional AV service. Buyers may purchase AV products online, but do they know how to install them? How to use them properly? How to integrate the products with other software or applications?
AV companies have to become the first thing consumers think of when something goes wrong or they need help. The relationship AV companies build with their customers is something Amazon can’t match. Consumers will always want to work with companies that provide the best customer service, hire excellent people, and value the work they do.
Once upon a time, the internet changed sales models forever. Amazon is aiming to impact the e-commerce world in the same way. This is a time to get creative! Find what sets you apart and focus on excelling in that area. Amazon may be creeping into the professional AV arena, but you were there first and you know what your customers want. You’re the expert. Use this to your advantage to compete.