Daily Archives: November 18, 2023

Amazon: Resistance May Be Futile — But It’s Growing in the Masses!

Note: This content was originally posted on LinkedIn on November 15, 2023.

On November 15, 2023, Jason “the prophet” Busch of Spend Matters noted on LinkedIn that

Resistance is Futile.

[because] Amazon Business Reshape (in Chicago) is “the new Ariba Live” according to multiple people I’ve spoken to this week.

And stated that what struck him was:

how Amazon seemingly has one obsessive goal: drive usage, volume and value so customers keep coming back.

and that:

If it’s not already, I’m guessing Amazon Business will soon be a Fortune 500 P&L lurking inside a Fortune 5 company (and it’s going to be high on the list itself in the years to come).

among other things.

And while Usage, Volume, and Value will drive companies to try Amazon Business; without good SERVICE levels, when the contract ends, or even worse, if there’s no contract, when “Amazon” fails them spectacularly, will those customers actually return? (Remember that they see Amazon, not the vendor behind Amazon where the spectacular failure may actually occur.)

And, more importantly, if their service in their customer segment, where many of these business leaders will first experience Amazon is poor, will they trust Amazon Business for their business? (Is it not reasonable to expect service levels are the same across the board?)

I say this because I personally experienced Amazon customer service levels in Canada go from stellar (and the best of all the online merchants) to what I would consider the exact opposite of stellar in a very short amount of time in 2021/2022. I’m not the only person I know who cancelled Prime, which meant I went from buying, from a quick estimate, 600+ a month (for close to a decade after being a regular customer in North America for over 20 years) and a plan to move more business spend to Amazon to absolute ZERO (0) over a year ago (and my spend has stayed at that level since then).

This was also at roughly the same time complaints in the US skyrocketed to the point that the FTC stated that “Amazon has allegedly used dark patterns to trick millions of users into enrolling in its Prime program and trapping them“. (See this link.)

I know it’s different business units, different programs, different options for legal recourse, and different amounts of money at play, but my point is this.

1) the largest market for Amazon Business by far is the small business market — hundreds of thousands of companies that can’t afford a fancy (and expensive) Procurement solution (and would love a “free one” handed to them on an AWS platter)

2) the small business market is a market where ONE person usually makes the decision, not a team, and the decision is made as much on emotion as it is made on numbers; if that person had a less than stellar experience with Amazon personally, will they trust them for their small business if there is any other option available to them?

(Basically, while the doctor agrees that everything the prophet said might be true in the Mid-Size and Larger Enterprise market, we need to note that there are only thousands of large global enterprises [The Fortune 1000/Global 3000]; only tens of thousands of mid-size enterprises; but millions of small enterprises. Millions. That’s where the volume is!)

In other words, Amazon Business Reshape might have the excitement (after all, what else is new? the answer is, sadly, not much), but will it last? And will the excitement lead not just to an uptick, but sustained momentum and growth for Amazon Business?