What Sort of Threat is Amazon to B2B Organizations?

June 5, 2020

This article is included in these additional categories:

B2B | Customer Experience | Customer-Centric | Financial Services | Industries | Pharma & Healthcare | Retail & E-Commerce | Technology

Episerver Amazon Threat or Opportunity for B2B Jun2020As the undisputed leader in global e-commerce, Amazon’s reach poses a threat to the growth of other online B2C retailers. But, does Amazon pose the same kind of threat to B2B businesses? Here’s what a recent report [download page] from Episerver reveals.

Past research shows that, for many B2B companies, e-commerce has its advantages — including the ability to reach more customers, offer self-service opportunities for customers, and reduce overhead costs. But while Amazon has impacted the growth of B2C e-commerce companies and changed the expectations of some B2B buyers, Episerver’s survey of 600 B2B decision-makers — three-quarters (78%) of whom work in IT — found that only one-quarter identified Amazon as a threat to their company.

Indeed, about half (52%) of the respondents viewed Amazon as an opportunity for their company, while 28% saw Amazon as both an opportunity and a threat. But this does contradict earlier data from Elastic Path which found almost the opposite. In that study, half (52%) of the B2B e-commerce decision-makers stated that Amazon’s B2B service (Amazon Business) posed a threat to their company.

Although Episerver’s survey indicates that the largest share of B2B companies views Amazon as more of an opportunity than a threat, it also found that 52% of those surveyed report that the company they work for is losing revenue to Amazon.

Added to that, some industries are being hit even harder than others. An above-average share of respondents from distribution (65%), healthcare (63%) and commercial services and supplies (64%) companies report losing revenue to the e-commerce giant.

Other External Threats Exist

Amazon is not the only external threat in the eyes of B2B decision-makers. When asked what they considered to be their organization’s biggest external threat, the largest share cited either the increasing costs to acquire new customers (27%) or increasing digital expectations from their customers or partners (27%). To a lesser extent, other respondents cited digitally native startups disrupting their industry (17%), competitors that are investing in digital experience solutions more than they are (14%), channel conflict preventing them from selling online (12%) and digital fatigue (5%) as their organization’s biggest threat.

Increasing costs to acquire new customers and increasing digital expectations are consistently the biggest threats identified across B2B industries, except when it comes to healthcare businesses. For this industry, digitally native startups disrupting their industry was the biggest external threat cited by the largest share of respondents (29%).

The full report can be downloaded here.

About the Data: Results are based on a survey of 600 B2B decision-makers employed by healthcare, financial services, commercial services, manufacturing, distribution and high-tech organizations across 5 global regions. More than three-fourths (78%) were employed in IT.

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