E-COMMERCE

B2B e-procurement ‘ripe for transformation’

The pandemic has pushed many businesses further into B2B e-commerce and, as a consequence, e-procurement. Businesses are now looking for ways to make e-procurement more efficient. So how? small and medium business and Fortune 100 companies are finding technology to help make the buying process easier? Here is where Aster Angagov at Amazon Business hopes to ease the pain points of the B2B procurement process.

Angagov, who joined Amazon Business in early 2022 as vice president of commercial, government and strategic sectors, serves organizations with more than $25 million in revenue. Her role is to solve procurement problems for small and medium-sized businesses through Fortune 100 companies, she says. She is also the author of We Are So Much More: Integrating 7 Dimensions of Success for Women Leaders to Thrive at Work and in Life, published in 2021.

The procurement process often involves several people and groups evaluating and deciding on the required product details and the price range for purchasing the required materials. This can involve a lot of communication between sellers and buyers. Angagov says Amazon Business creates a marketplace where sellers can use technology to dynamically change pricing based on buyer interests.

E-procurement is an expanding field. According to the Digital Commerce 360 ​​forecast, e-procurement is on its way to exceed $1 trillion in 2022.

Many businesses that rushed to set up e-commerce during the pandemic are now investing for the long term. In Amazon Business’ June 2021 B2B E-Commerce Growth Report, 85% of business buyers said their organizations have moved more purchases online as a result of COVID-19. And 50% said they had more fully digitized their procurement processes.

“B2B e-procurement is an area ripe for transformation,” says Angagov.

A simpler B2B e-procurement process

Angagov has experience in the B2B commercial environment, having served as President of ServiceMaster Brands, the franchise services division of ServiceMaster Global Holdings Inc.

ServiceMaster’s core services include disaster relief and restoration, janitorial services, professional house cleaning, furniture repair and home inspections. She also held senior management positions at Sodexo SA, a multinational diversified food and equipment company headquartered in Paris with 440,000 employees and revenues of over $20 billion.

While improving efficiency remains a top priority, around 40% of our priorities lie in sustainability and social responsibility.

Aster Angagov, Vice President for Commercial, Government and Strategic Sectors

Amazon Business

Angagov credits working with franchisors and franchisees as one of the reasons she is qualified to help businesses digitize their procurement processes. “These are small businesses by definition,” she says.

She adds that working with COVID-19 proved particularly challenging as access to personal protective equipment (PPE) was difficult. In addition, it was difficult to find replacements for out-of-stock items, check quality and ensure timely delivery. Those challenges prepared her for her latest role, she says.

“I understand the need to make the buying and selling process easier for businesses,” she says. “I’m excited to learn how to use machine learning and sophisticated technology to facilitate this experience.”

Access to resources

Amazon Business aims to help by giving SMBs access to Amazon’s extensive network of buyers and verified sellers. Amazon inspects suppliers to ensure that their products meet quality standards.

Aster Angagov, Amazon Business

Part of Amazon’s small business initiatives include promoting diversity, including businesses owned by blacks, women and veterans. Amazon Business is sending teams to recruit and work directly with these businesses to help them go to market.

Over the past few years, Amazon has worked with organizations to improve their purchasing process. For example, in 2017, it helped Johns Hopkins University streamline the procurement of goods from local businesses. These businesses are verified by Amazon and are considered accredited vendors.

“The university used more than 1,000 individual vendors,” Angagov says. “Of these, the college spent less than $1,000 per year on 80% of these vendors. It’s very expensive to manage.”

Angagov says Amazon Business provides businesses with guided shopping tools designed to select products for their employees.

“We can create a customized space for their employers or administrators to buy from them and have visibility into those purchases,” she says. “Then they can get the information to make informed decisions, rather than using a disorganized system.”

Companies want to invest in new tools to improve the digital experience. According to Amazon’s “Evolving B2B eCommerce” report, 60% of respondents plan to invest in digital/online invoicing, 56% plan to invest in automating manual procurement processes (such as purchase approvals), and 42% cite voice technology. such as voice ordering with a virtual assistant, as buying organizations of the top three procurement technologies plan to invest in the next five years.

Marketers want to use technology to meet new customers without the scale of operations that larger organizations can have.

Amazon introduces technology to improve operations

Over the past year, Amazon Business has launched several buyer apps aimed at making its marketplace a “one-stop shop” — especially for small and medium-sized businesses. In August, the company launched “Your interactions”, a tool that allows customers to track their purchases and stay organized. Customers create tickets that they can update, close, reopen, and reference for future use.

Amazon Business Your Interactions tool

The Amazon Business Your Engagement tool is designed to keep purchase progress updates and open support issues in one place. Users can track and reference historical data. They can also be notified of issue updates in real-time, instead of manually tracking them via live chat or over the phone.

In July, Amazon Business launched a program offering small businesses $20,000 in grants for innovative sustainable products. The Amazon Launchpad program helps sellers with certifications and product listings in their efforts to provide customers with greener products.

A month earlier, Amazon Business released it Custom quote toolallowing buyers to request a discounted price for bulk purchases of more than $10,000 or more than 999 units.

In January 2022, the company launched Amazon Business Punch-in, an online tool that allows businesses to manage their shoppers’ spending, even if they don’t initiate a purchase through electronic procurement software system.

And between September 12 and 18, it launched a Week of Deals for small business customers. These businesses have access to discounted prices from Amazon Business on items such as PCs, office supplies, furniture and some appliances. The move is part of the company’s Small Business Month.

SMEs are expanding their networks

Constant change and technology are part of what Angag says will help make a difference for companies, especially small and medium-sized businesses looking to expand.

While the buying process is fundamental to B2B, Amazon also focuses on sustainability and social issues, Angagov says.

“While increasing efficiency remains a top priority, about 40% of our priorities lie in sustainability and social responsibility,” she says.

Angagov says Amazon Business is working to increase the diversity of its suppliers.

“And making sure we can facilitate buying and selling to small, local, diverse sellers for businesses,” she says. “Businesses can find it difficult to find smaller suppliers.”

Amazon Business has a program that provides 14 certifications that allow smaller businesses sell on the platform and then bundle sales across multiple certificates for customers.

“What really excited me,” she says, “is the idea of ​​being able to work with a lot of businesses or vendors and scale them to the point where they can sell to Fortune 500 companies. It’s a very exciting, focused opportunity for me.”

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https://www.digitalcommerce360.com/2022/09/23/e-procurement-is-ripe-for-transformation-amazon-business-exec-says/ B2B e-procurement ‘ripe for transformation’

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