Catering Appliance Superstore uses a number of different methods to sell via Amazon, with Sowerby reporting: “Due to our strict internal product data tokenisation, we are well equipped to adapt to work with its marketplace to sell our equipment with very little effort.”
He sees the move as a good opportunity for larger dealers like his, however, he cautioned: “Smaller online dealers that may not have quite as much buying power will most likely struggle to get enough exposure on Amazon unless they have sole distribution agreements or unique products available. Traditional dealers will benefit very little from it.”
He added: “Amazon is very B2C orientated, but I can see that it is now starting to better concentrate on the B2B market.
“I guess the most worrying thing about feeding a beast like Amazon with such a vast amount of product and industry knowledge is that it will most likely start manufacturing its own equipment at some point in the future when the Amazon boffins get enough time to explore the manufacturing processes behind the industry.
“It was only a few months ago that I ordered an ‘Amazon Basics’ paper shredder for the office.”
Elsewhere, Richard White, MD of Sutton-based Berkeley Projects, believes: “There is certainly an opportunity within the market for this approach. However when compared to retail sales on the domestic market there are a few important differences.
“Firstly the route to market is important. For some items, direct supply to the end user is easy – however consideration of support for more complicated kit is important. Many times we find an end user has a need for kit replacement, but a site survey is essential before an estimate can be issued. The survey will cover off space allocation, services and access etc.
“In these instances the purchase route will need support and extend from survey to installation, commissioning and equipment disposal. Our experience of clients purchasing kit online and free issuing to the project usually ends in disappointment.”
He continued: “The second difference is that the market is much smaller and the equipment specification more diverse.