The director of Amazon Business France reveals the results of the year 2020 and the ongoing projects, three years after the launch of the BtoB platform.
JDN. What are the results of Amazon Business in France in 2020?
Geraldine Valenti. The year 2020 was marked by several highlights, including the implementation of our solution for public customers in the first quarter before the health crisis. This new vertical makes it possible to meet the needs of municipalities, schools, health professionals and governmental organizations, in particular by offering them payment by administrative order. We currently have 3,000 client schools and more than 300 hospitals, clinics and nursing homes. We have set up the Covid-19 site until September 2020 to offer the equipment we had identified as necessary for healthcare institutions and nursing homes for sale. We have met their needs through negotiated prices and purchased products.
And beyond the public sector?
We have improved our prevalence in French SMEs, as 16% of them now have an Amazon Business account, as do 90% of Cac 40 companies. The largest Amazon Business customers have increased their spending by more than 20% in the last 12 months. Overall, after three years of existence in France, we have noted an acceleration of our activity in 2020. And this in addition to the health crisis.
Besides the Covid-19 range, what are the most in-demand features of your corporate customers?
Business Prime is undeniably the Amazon Business flagship program. This provides fast and free delivery with no minimum purchase. It also allows all companies to customize the categories available to their employees at the time of purchase. In fact, the goal of Amazon Business is to bring a qualitative consumer experience into the business world while respecting the framework in which the company operates. Some features like expense reporting are also part of Business Prime. We also emphasize the CSR dimension by offering our customers products that live up to the applicable social and environmental standards. We also live up to the expectations of large companies for topics related to dematerialized invoicing, which represent large projects that we are currently working on.
At the launch of Amazon Business France in 2018, Amazon switched all of its BtoC merchants to its BtoB platform. How do their sales to companies develop?
Our Amazon Business customers increasingly prefer the offer of third-party sellers, and we work closely with them to add products that meet the needs of companies to access the professional market. Large corporate purchases from third-party sellers increased 40% in 2020 compared to 2019.
Your initial positioning relates to occasional and irregular purchases. Where are you today?
Our mission is always to respond to one-time purchases, non-negotiable purchases, in other words category C in corporate purchases. This is the best way to test the Amazon Business solution. But the work we have been doing lately with product selection has allowed us to become more professional. On a French and European scale, we have launched procurement initiatives for product categories that are the subject of tenders between suppliers, and we are positioning ourselves as a full-fledged player in product procurement. We have become relevant to the proposal on product categories such as computer equipment, office supplies, tools and maintenance. In three years, we have expanded our selection, while at the same time being price-relevant.
Exactly how do you manage the negotiation phases to set prices?
We have rolled out various pricing features. Now we offer volume discounts or progressive discounts. The more the product is purchased, the lower the price. For large volume purchases, we negotiate with our customers in order to offer the most relevant prices. If we succeed in obtaining competitive prices, we want all our customers to benefit from them. Negotiation is part of our approach to pricing.
You have been sitting since October 2020. What projects are you going to carry out this year?
We must continue to listen to what our public purchasers expect. We want to address the CSR issues that are part of our customers’ goals, through features that allow us to favor local procurement in particular. We also need to improve the delivery of large quantities and the logistics at the various locations where we deliver.
Geraldine Valenti began her career as sales manager at Athlon Car Lease before joining Carlson Wagonlit Travel, after which she became global sales manager for CWT Solutions Group for three years. She joined Amazon Business in August 2019, where she held the position of Head of Corporate Sales for more than a year before becoming CEO of Amazon Business France in October 2020.