Two of the largest Internet companies in existence have made forays into the business-to-business online space: Amazon.com and Google.com.
Amazon.com debuted Amazon Supply – www.AmazonSupply.com – in April 2012.
Google.com debuted Google Shopping for Suppliers – www.google.com/shopping/suppliers/ – in January 2013.
Read on and I’ll explain briefly how the two are different.
AmazonSupply.com allows users to buy products directly at their website. It aims to fulfill the parts and supply needs of the business, industrial, scientific and commercial markets. Buyers can shop for items by product, material and brand across 14 categories, including Lab & Scientific, Test, Measure & Inspect, Occupational Health & Safety, Janitorial & Sanitation, Office, Fleet & Vehicle Maintenance, Power & Hand Tools, Fasteners, Power Transmission and more.
Google Shopping for Suppliers returns search results for products and connects users to suppliers form the U.S., China and Germany to make purchases. Suppliers that have passed a verification process and have paid a $1,000 fee, appear at the top of the search results page and are labeled with a blue badge.
In the business-to-business world, many transactions include a high level of complexity or customization. Google wants to create a better shopping experience for b-to-b buyers, giving them improved confidence thanks to the verified supplier program.
It’s a fact – B2B buyers are also B2C buyers who are exceedingly familiar with shopping via Google’s search engine. For this reason, I expect Google Shopping for Suppliers to do splendidly well. I make the point again, as I did in my January 2013 blog post with this tongue-in-cheek title: “We Don’t Use Our Website To Develop Leads” ~ Really?: Industrial buyers and B2B buyers start at Google.com (or Yahoo! or Bing), and have done for years now. Therefore, it’s important that a manufacturer’s website is search-engine-friendly and find-able at Google and other search engines.
I personally hope that both Google’s and Amazon’s B2B shopping engines greatly succeed, in order to help U.S. manufacturers get a whole lot healthier. It’s not surprising that two of the main concerns of manufacturing CEOs are the U.S. economy and the global economy. They need all the help that they can get.
The improvement of the U.S. economy depends upon its manufacturing sector improving. My own venture, Net Site Marketing, plays a part in helping manufacturing companies grow and succeed. I am in full support of whatever ethically helps manufacturers see increased revenues and profits. The advancement of manufacturers is something that is sorely needed in this economy.
Google Shopping for Suppliers is currently in beta and only offers results for the electrical and electronics industries. I’m interested to see which industrial category Google will choose next. Which big Internet player will enter the space with an exclusively B2B twist … Ebay perhaps?
Google’s goal for the space is leaning towards lead generation, as opposed to transactions. AmazonSupply.com, on the other hand, offers transactions, on more than 600,000 products. Plus free two-day shipping on eligible orders of more than $50, and a 365-day return policy! AmazonSupply.com has some crossover with Inventables.com, an online marketplace for designers, technical materials and hardware.
Forrester Research predicts that the B to B e-commerce marketing industry will reach $559 billion in U.S. sales in 2013 – that’s nothing to sneeze at.
We here at Net Site Marketing will be watching closely as these two major competitors gain market share in the business-to-business space. If you are in the business-to-business market, don’t hesitate to contact us for more advice and insight!