Software provider Maginus has analysed Amazon Business’ prospects for cracking the UK catering equipment market.

This comes as the beta version of Amazon Business is currently being trialled in the UK.

In 2012 the online retail giant launched its Amazon Supply service to the US, offering 2m products in 17 categories.

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Last year it followed-up on this initial foray into the wholesale and distribution sector with the launch of Amazon Business – offering an extended product range (from 2m to 20m) as well as other key features including discounts for bulk buying, a variety of payment options, multiple users per account and next day delivery.

Over 19m products are available with more than 2m supplied directly by Amazon, with next day delivery, over 25 product categories, and items of up to $50,000 in value, and with the option to deliver to the UK.

This included 279,600 foodservice equipment and supplies products.

Maginus reported that in 12 months the B2B business has grown to $1bn in sales and that the division has maintained a 20% monthly growth rate.

It now has 300,000 registered businesses in the US.

According to Mark Thornton, marketing director at Maginus: “Any entry Amazon makes into the UK market will have a significant impact on wholesalers, and for many it may seem like mission impossible to compete with the might of Amazon.

“But, there are steps that wholesalers can take to remain competitive: innovate using online marketing and selling techniques, and integrate into efficient back office systems.”

He added: “For all Amazon’s strengths – and financial clout – there are weaknesses in its current business offering.

“Existing wholesalers are specialists in their chosen sectors and will have a deep knowledge of the products and the market, as well as a detailed understanding of their customer’s needs, that Amazon cannot match. And that is unlikely to change anytime soon.

“Our recommendation to UK wholesalers and distributors is to play to your strengths: excellent customer service.”