Looking Back at the “Billion-Dollar Baby”: Our Top Amazon Posts of 2016

You guys really like reading about Amazon. So much so, that when the editors of Spend Matters were discussing how to approach our end-of-the-year Best Ofs, we said, “The heck with it, let’s just give Amazon its own category.”

But on a more serious note, this year saw some pretty big headlines related to the company, whose supply chain Pierre Mitchell (Chief Research Officer at Spend Matters) called possibly the most advanced in the world. So let’s take a look at our top posts on Amazon from 2016.

Amazon Business is ‘the Marketplace Behind the E-Procurement Solution’: GPTS 2016

Amazon Business VP Prentis Wilson spoke at the ISM and Spend Matters Global Procurement Tech Summit this past March, and called Amazon Business a B2B marketplace, not a competitor to P2P providers. “We are the marketplace behind the e-procurement solution. If spend is happening outside of e-procurement, you’re not getting visibility into it. [With both] you get the value of Amazon and the controls and convenience of your e-procurement solution.”

Thanks to Amazon’s logistical strength, Amazon Business will have access to an extensive fulfillment network with 90,000 full-time employees, making same-day delivery possible in 16 metro areas. “It doesn’t take a genius to realize the advantage Amazon has over other merchants, distributors and online sellers in working with a broader P2P and e-procurement platform ecosystem,” wrote Jason Busch, founder and head of strategy at Spend Matters.

Executive Q&A with Prentis Wilson, VP Amazon Business: ‘Make People’s Lives Better’

If you’re curious to read more about Amazon Business, managing editor Taras Berezowsky spoke with Prentis Wilson on how he got into procurement, the challenges he faces in his current role, the big challenges facing procurement, and as well as what he does in his spare time.

Wilson cites industry intelligence — from customers, from vendors, from sellers and from knowledge partners — as a valuable source for developing priorities and strategy. In his words, the “most important thing is people that really deeply understand the customer and their needs, and how they operate today and can predict how things will be in the next two to five years.”

The Billion Dollar Baby – Amazon Business Celebrates Its First Birthday

“My, how baby has grown!”

As you might deduce from the title of the May article, Amazon Business reached its first-year anniversary. It boasted around $1 billion in sales last year, experiencing a very healthy 20% month-on-month growth. The sheer speed means that SAP Ariba’s business network “needs to look in its rearview mirror,” as Pierre Mitchell and Jason Busch wrote.

Amazon Business Hatches a Well-Planned German Launch

Earlier this month, Amazon Business announced its launch in Germany, where it already has significant infrastructure. Jason Busch and Pierre Mitchell spoke to the company to get details on the launch, and they expect Amazon Business to be successful in Germany from the start:

“German procurement organizations love catalogs and appreciate good, efficient operations. We suspect the Amazon Business supply network, with its two main distribution centers and the larger number of logistics centers, is already largely optimized for forecast business demand.”

On Amazon Go: It’s Not About Retail!

Ah, Amazon Go.

In the unlikely event that you missed it, this month Amazon dropped a video showcasing its new grocery store in Seattle where shoppers can go in, get what they need and leave, without having to stand in a checkout line. The “just walk out technology” lets you tap your phone on a turnstile as you enter the store, and then the AI-based sensor system takes over — tracking what items you pick up and charging your Amazon account when you leave.

In his analysis on Amazon Go, Pierre Mitchell argues that the real innovation here is not in the new stores, but in the operating model. Mitchell went through Amazon’s patent filing, and the language is telling. The patent “talks about users, not shoppers. It talks about order picking, not consumer shopping. And it talks about ‘material handling locations’ — not stores!”

Amazon Go is currently in beta and open only to Amazon employees. However, the store is slated to be open to the public early next year. Expect more Amazon Go coverage on Spend Matters in 2017!

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