Amazon’s version of Prime aimed at business users is gaining a handful of new perks, the retailer announced this morning. Unlike the consumer version of Prime, the new benefits aren’t focused around entertainment – like access to streaming music or movies, for example – but are instead meant to help business customers gain better insight and control over their Amazon spending.
Business customers in the U.S. also today gain access to free same-day and one-day shipping on over a million items on orders over $35 in more than 8,000 cities and towns.
Plus, they can opt for Consolidated Shipping on bulk orders to receive fewer shipments, if they choose.
Also included in the new set of benefits is a feature called “Spend Visibility,” which provides visualizations powered by AWS QuickSight of the company spend in graphics designed to be pasted into corporate PowerPoints. Amazon says its goal is to help businesses free up the time it takes them to analyze their data in order to identify spending trends.
Another new benefit is “Guided Buying,” which allows the Amazon Business account admins to identify certain suppliers and products as “preferred” while restricting others, so those buying under the business account makes the company-approved choices when shopping for supplies and other business needs. This can also help companies reduce spend, improve compliance with corporate policies, and consolidate their suppliers, Amazon notes.
Starting today, Business Prime members can choose to now request Extended Terms for Pay by Invoice, when they qualify, opting for 45 or 60 days for better cash flow management, too.
In addition to the new Prime benefits, Amazon and American Express launched a new Amazon Business American Express Card which offers U.S. customers 5% back or 90-Day terms on eligible purchases at Amazon.com, Amazon Business, Amazon Web Services, and Whole Foods Market.
Amazon first launched Business Prime Shipping last year, as a way to compete with traditional office suppliers like Staples, Office Depot, as well as big box retailers like Walmart and Costco. The service extends Prime’s free, two-day shipping to businesses, and it integrates with dozens of purchasing systems, workflows, reporting and analytics systems, purchasing cards and more.
The program’s cost is based on the number of users. There’s now a new tier for smaller businesses, starting at $179 per year – not much more than a typical Amazon Prime membership.
The pricing tiers are as follows: $179 per year for up to 3 users; $499 per year for up to 10 users; $1,299 per year for up to 100 users; and $10,099 per year for over 100 users.
Since its launch, Amazon says it has signed up “millions” of business customers and “hundreds of thousands” of business sellers to the program.
In the U.S., Amazon Business now serves nearly 80% of the 100 largest enrollment education organizations, 55 of the Fortune 100 companies, more than half of the 100 biggest hospital systems, and more than 40% of the most populous local governments. (You’ll note that those numbers have been massaged a bit to make the percentages appear larger, and Amazon isn’t saying how many actual subscriptions it has sold, or what subscription tiers are involved.)
That said, Business Prime Shipping is taking a notable chunk of the market for a year-old service – one that probably makes rival retailers nervous as Amazon aims for their market.
Amazon says the new benefits (except for the Amex card and same-day/1-day shipping which are U.S.-only) are rolling out to Amazon Business Prime in the U.S., Germany and Japan, starting today.
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