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Amazon extends Prime's two-day shipping perk to businesses

Matt Day, The Seattle Times on

Published in Science & Technology News

SEATTLE -- Amazon is trying to boost its business-sales program by borrowing a concept from its consumer retail operation: speedier shipping through the Amazon Prime membership program.

The Seattle retailer on Tuesday rolled out Business Prime Shipping, a paid annual program for corporate clients who buy through Amazon Business, the company's 2-year-old corporate sales initiative.

The new offer: unlimited two-day shipping on select items, similar to the company's delivery promise for the $99-a-year consumer membership program. For businesses, the perk is more expensive: $499 for up to 10 users, $1,299 for up to 100 users, and $10,099 for more than 100.

Amazon Business launched in the U.S. in 2015, replacing previous business-to-business sales programs like Amazon Supply. The program exceeded $1 billion in sales within its first year of operation. (The company hasn't updated that sales tally since.)

The initiative has since expanded to Britain, Germany and, last month, India and Japan.

The company says many Amazon Business buyers turn to the portal for irregular purchases or unexpected needs that fall outside normal corporate buying. That can include items like office supplies, software and janitorial supplies.

In addition to the new two-day shipping, Amazon Business comes with business-only pricing and discounts for some bulk orders, integration with corporate procurement software, and order management that lets managers see and approve orders and automatically tallies them into spending reports.

The business storefront also includes a curated selection of items that can be harder to find on the consumer retail site -- say, an industrial deep fryer or traffic signs.

(c)2017 The Seattle Times

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