B2B sales on Amazon came as a surprise and they keep growing

Stephan Harpeng
CEO Assistant and Quality Manager, TIGA-MED
TIGA-MED, based in East-Thuringia (Germany), started as a completely offline business selling medical products and disposables to hospitals and nursing homes, but since 2012 the company aims to offer medical products at reasonable prices for a very wide and diverse range of customers as they noticed a great need for such products outside of professional care services (among private buyers, gloves for catering industry etc.). Their online channel has grown a lot in the past years and makes now about 50% of the business, with Amazon being the main among the online stores they use.

The Covid pandemic was a challenging time for the medical products industry as supply chains were struggling with disruptions, delivery times became very long, while demand came to an unexpected peak and could not be fulfilled. It was particularly hard for keeping B2B clients because they appreciate constant availability of products as they do not want to switch to products from a different manufacturer. Now the industry is back to normal, supply chain is stable again.

How we get many new customers on Amazon Business

First considering Amazon as a pure B2C marketplace, the company “noticed that the B2B demand went up a lot, noticed customers like medical practices, out-patient care services and retirement homes buying on Amazon, which was a surprise at first”. On Amazon Business TIGA-MED now has many B2B customers from the catering industry and facility management companies. Stephan Harpeng, CEO Assistant and Quality Manager at TIGA-MED, notes that the share of their B2B business on Amazon is currently at 20%: “20% is actually already more than we had expected and the B2B segment continues rising very fast”.

Stephan finds most exciting about Amazon Business that B2B customers can shop their products “with the same convenience that they are used to from Amazon and at good conditions. With the business offers, B2B customers can cover their needs very well and just as easily as they would shop privately on Amazon, and that makes it very attractive for customers, and therefore is a very good market for us.” He also marks that they can gain loyalty of business customers on Amazon Business: “The majority of our products are disposables, so when we have good offers and the customer is satisfied with the product, it’s very likely that he will buy the same product again immediately after using up the first delivery.”

Coming from offline B2B business, TIGA-MED expanded their customer base by selling on Amazon both to B2C and to new B2B customers.
“We gained a lot of new customers by selling on Amazon. We’ve been selling on Amazon for 11 years now and still we’re adding a huge number of new customers every day.”
Stephan HarpengCEO Assistant and Quality Manager, TIGA-MED

Amazon Business tools help to grow our B2B orders

Manage Quotes” was the first tool TIGA-MED used on Amazon Business, with that tool they were receiving more and more enquiries from potential customers. “When we started adding Business prices and Quantity discounts, that led to a good raise in the B2B sales” – Stephan estimates that since using the Quantity discounts, the size of B2B orders increased by at least 40%. “If I imagine myself looking for a product, I would probably do the same: I know my quantities, I know my demands, so of course I would look for a bulk package to get a better price. I consider the business prices and quantity discounts the most efficient tools to attract B2B customers, because everyone is looking for discounts, privately or in B2B.”- he says. Stephan finds quantity discounts especially important for the medical sector as due to the large proportion of single-use, disposable products, the quantities are very high. For the same reason, the large packs are also very useful in medical sector.

TIGA-MED appreciates the advantages of the VAT Calculation Service that they use with an external partner (VCS Lite version):
Being also B2B customers on Amazon, we appreciate high importance of having our invoice right after the goods are dispatched. Seeing the prices without VAT is also a very good feature for B2B customers, because you don’t want to take your calculator and calculate it yourself.
Stephan HarpengCEO Assistant and Quality Manager, TIGA-MED

Enjoying working with B2B customers

TIGA-MED shares some insights on experience with B2B customers: “With B2B customers it’s always “less struggle” than with B2C customers. They know the product very well, they know what they are looking for and they know how to use it, so of course this is a big advantage and the return rates are very, very low.” Stephan marks that the feedback from the shipping companies is that delivery is much smoother and easier with business customers, less missing contact details, precise delivery instructions. “The shipping companies prefer B2B customers!”

Advice for sellers: don’t miss B2B potential of your business on Amazon

“I would recommend giving a significant discount for B2B customers, because it will lead to increasing B2B sales and as a result, B2B customers buy the same item again very quickly, because their demand is greater and more constant than in the B2C area. In case of quantity discounts, it naturally makes sense to align them with the quantities of products in a box or shipping unit, so you can save shipping costs for yourself and the customer always gets full boxes, which are not likely to get damaged when getting shipped. So, this is an advantage for both sides: you save for extra cartons and you save for extra shipping costs.” – says Stephan.

He especially emphasises: “I think you should never underestimate the potential share of B2B customers on Amazon, that was what we did. We never expected the B2B share to rise that quickly. The B2B customers appreciate a quick and convenient shopping experience as everybody does. If you have a good product and you can meet the need of B2B customers, you should just give it a try, after all there’s nothing to lose but a lot to gain.”

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