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What do customers want in a purchasing solution? (part one)

Identify top benefits that organizations seek from a purchasing solution and learn how Amazon Business addresses those needs.

As our customer, your happiness is our obsession—it’s at the heart of everything we do at Amazon Business. We even place an empty seat in every meeting to represent the voice of the customer. To make sure we’re listening, we conducted a survey where we asked you to tell us what you want from a purchasing solution.


Of the 16 benefits we tested, we found eight to be relatively more important in driving choice.This is the first post of a two-part series that examines the first four benefits to demonstrate how we’ve created a purchasing solution that meets your needs.


1. Make it easy to buy products our organization needs


Whether you’re a teacher purchasing supplies or a procurement executive purchasing for a large organization, you all have one common need: simplify buying. By combining the familiar shopping experience of Amazon with business-specific functionalities, we make buying for work as easy as buying for your personal needs.


One example of a customer who is simplifying purchasing is North Carolina State University. It’s simplifying its procurement process across 12 colleges by allowing individual colleges to order supplies based on their specific needs, while maintaining the established process for compliance. Learn more about the all the different ways we simplify buying


“With our integration with Amazon Business, we now have all of our colleges and individual academic departments buying in one place, which is a great thing since they understand their needs better than the central administrative office.” Sharon Loosman, Director of Procurement & Business Services


2. Offer access to products that are relevant to our organization’s needs


Ease of use of a purchasing solution goes hand-in-hand with relevant selection. Whether it is a one-time purchase, or a list of items your organization needs frequently, we have the requisite selection. We have 10 total categories and five of them are part of our Business Plus selection that lets buyers choose from items that are highly rated (4+ star ratings) and frequently purchased by other customers.


One of our customers, the State of Oklahoma, purchases many items from simple office supplies, to cleaning products, to playground equipment. According to Allen Cook, Statewide Procurement Officer, Amazon Business is their go-to for day-to-day purchases and spot buys. In fact, the first purchase they made on Amazon Business is a testament to the breadth of selection: Bongo drums.


“Our first official purchase was a good example of the breadth of products Oklahoma State agencies buy through Amazon Business.” - Allen Cook, Statewide Procurement Officer


3. Create a user-friendly online experience


With the digital transformation of procurement, a seamless online experience is a must-have. We translate the best practices we've developed in serving consumers through Amazon.com, into a frictionless and customized online experience for our customers. The experience and navigation are similar to Amazon.com and provide your buyers the trust, convenience, and familiarity they want in a purchasing solution. 


ExxonMobil sees this ease-of-use as a key benefit of their ongoing digital transformation. It noticed an increase in Amazon Business users from zero to many thousands in a short span of time. According to one of its procurement advisors Nassim Kefi, users gravitated towards Amazon Business as a purchasing channel because of their familiarity with the Amazon experience in their personal lives.


“We didn’t have to push too hard for adoption within the company—the growth was organic." - Nassim Kefi, Procurement Advisor


4. Enable our organization to consolidate spend across fewer purchasing solutions


It’s cumbersome and costly for organizations to manage different purchasing solutions. A purchasing solution that has a broad and deep selection and marries that with powerful procurement features, can help you save time and money. Amazon Business is such a solution. We bring sellers and buyers together in one online store to streamline purchasing for your organization.


Buyers can access Amazon Business easily through both desktop and mobile. This versatility allows them to purchase when they're in the office or on the move. You can also easily enable single sign-on so buyers within your organization can securely access Amazon Business with one-click. Even if your organization is using another purchasing system, you may be able to integrate that system with Amazon Business to help consolidate all purchases on our single purchasing solution.


A customer in K-12 education recently described how they were able to reduce costs by consolidating purchasing of classroom supplies. Spring Branch Independent School District (ISD) engaged with us to perform a thorough analysis of historical spend, and realized there was up to 30% savings opportunity within the office and classroom supplies category. This savings opportunity enabled the district to invest back into its learning mission and simplify its existing and tedious procurement processes.


“With Amazon Business, we have new opportunities to cut costs. We can potentially return $154k annually to the classroom. This allows us to do better for our students, and that’s what we care most about. For every dollar we save, that's a dollar returned to the classroom,” said Rick Gay, Director of Procurement Services, Spring Branch ISD.


I’ve reviewed just the first four benefits here. Keep an eye out for our second installment of this series of “what do customers want in a purchasing solution?” Visit our homepage to learn more about Amazon Business and browse more customer success stories here


[1] 2019 Brand Foundations Quantitative Research conducted by Amazon Business: 15-minute online survey among purchasing decision makers in the US belonging to the healthcare, commercial, education, and government verticals. Sample = 867. In a trade-off exercise consisting of 16 benefits, the eight benefits listed in this two-blog series were relatively more important in evaluating a new purchasing solution. These benefits were defined as being relatively more important because their importance scores exceeded the average importance score of all the attributes. The average importance score was 100. The eight benefits we have described have a score equal to or greater than 100 resulting in them being more important than the other benefits that we tested. Survey question: Which of the following benefits are most and least important to you when evaluating new purchasing solutions for your organization?

About the Author

Sanjeev Sridharan

About the Author

Sanjeev Sridharan

Sanjeev Sridharan is Senior Product Marketing Manager responsible for driving the go-to-market strategy for Amazon Business products and features.

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