Giving a veteran-owned small business a large-business reach.
A service-disabled veteran and minority entrepreneur, Rodney Marshall started Aldevra in 2009 to sell medical and food service equipment. By meeting the demand for businesses with small, diverse certifications to service US government contracts, Aldevra has become a prime contractor for many of the country’s federal and state agencies. And by listing its products and certifications on Amazon Business, Aldevra now reaches more customers and is growing faster than ever.
In 2009, Rodney Marshall, a service-disabled veteran, founded Aldevra. With a background in the food service and medical fields, he began selling related products and equipment. Certified as a Veteran-Owned Small Business, Aldevra gained US government customers who wanted to source from small, diverse sellers and veterans. Eventually, Aldevra became a prime contractor for US federal agencies, such as the Departments of Veterans Affairs, Defense, Health and Human Services as well as several state governments.
Aldevra was functioning smoothly and successfully when, in mid-2016, he was alerted to the opportunity as a certified small and diverse business to reach millions of new customers on Amazon Business. Many of Amazon’s customers had expressed a wish to be able to more easily reach sellers with various certifications to meet their purchasing goals and compliance requirements. In response, Amazon Business created a program for selling partners to easily display their diversity certifications on their profiles so that public sector and other business customers could search and filter for these small and diverse sellers and purchase directly from them. Marshall, who is president and CEO of the company, is always looking for new opportunities to help Aldevra grow. A listing on Amazon Business would give the small business visibility with many more potential customers than previously possible, so he decided to pursue a 90-day trial.
“We made the Inc. 5,000 list of fastest-growing US privately owned companies. Amazon sales are an important part of that growth.”
— Rodney Marshall, President and CEO, Aldevra
As soon as Aldevra set up its page, without even trying, orders started coming in. The company integrated the sales into existing workflows and eventually trained a new staff member to manage their Amazon Business account before adding more products. Some of the sales came from government customers who had begun sourcing on Amazon Business. Other sales came from new, non-government customers that Aldevra might not have otherwise reached.
The level of success on Amazon Business far exceeded Marshall’s expectations. Surprised, and wanting to learn more about it, he asked his staff to contact their new customers. “We reached out to people and asked why they chose us—companies that we had never worked with before. They said they were particularly interested in our minority certifications,” he recounts. His 90-day trial quickly became a permanent sales channel for his company.
How has selling on Amazon Business impacted Aldevra sales? As of August 2019, annual sales volume increased 177 percent year over year on Amazon Business, adding to the overall growth of the company. “Since we started with Amazon Business, we made the Inc. 5,000 list of fastest-growing US privately owned companies,” says Marshall. “Amazon [Business] sales are an important part of that growth. In addition, we made Inc.’s Vet50 list of top 50 veteran-owned businesses in the country. We’re very proud of those achievements and our increasing growth.”
Marshall expects continued sales growth and even more new business customers. And he anticipates that Aldevra’s experience on Amazon Business puts the company in a great position to serve additional US government agencies as they begin sourcing on Amazon Business. He concludes, “Aldevra is excited to be a small business with a large-business reach.”
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