It is free to join and includes a unique set of features that organizations, entrepreneurs, and startups would find useful, such as multi-user accounts and quantity discounts. Amazon Business also offers a Business Prime membership that, for a yearly fee, unlocks additional benefits for subscribers -- similar to how regular Amazon users have Amazon Prime.
If you're interested in giving your team access to the hundreds of millions of business products on Amazon's marketplace, but with the ability to set spending limits, monitor buying, access price discounts on multi-unit purchases, get pallet deliveries, and more, then you need to become a registered Amazon Business user.
What is Amazon Business?
Amazon Business is a marketplace for businesses of all sizes. It looks and works very much like regular Amazon -- only it offers access to "hundreds of millions" of business products from "hundreds of thousands" of business sellers, according to Amazon. It launched in spring 2015, and by 2018, Amazon said it was already generating $10 billion in annualized sales.
The thing to remember about Amazon Business is it has features and benefits tailored to the needs of businesses. For instance, if you create a free account, you'll be able to browse a wide selection of items that may be available at special pricing if purchased in bulk. You can even create a multi-user account, so your team members can do the buying.
Which businesses use Amazon Business?
According to Amazon, Amazon Business serves the following sort of customers in the US:
- 80% of the 100 largest enrollment education organizations
- 55 of the Fortune 100 companies
- More than half of the 100 biggest hospital systems
- More than 40% of the 100 most populous local governments
Where is Amazon Business available?
Amazon Business is now available to registered businesses in the following countries:
How to join Amazon Business
To join Amazon Business, follow these steps:
- Visit www.amazon.com/business to get started.
- Click the "Create a free Amazon Business account" button in the corner of the page.
- You'll be asked to enter the email you want to use for your account. You can use the one provided by your employer. You'll also need to enter your name and a password.
- Amazon will ask for your business information to help verify it, such as the address shown on your official documents.
- To get verified quicker, you can provide your credit card or tax information such as a business tax ID. But you can skip this step.
- Amazon will then verify you. It can up to 24 hours. View your status from here.
Note: If you try to join Amazon Business with an email that's already connected to a regular Amazon account, you'll be asked to upgrade that account to an Amazon Business account. If you decline this offer, you'll need to sign up with a different email.
How is Amazon Business different from Amazon?
To better understand the primary differences between Amazon Business and the regular Amazon marketplace, which you're likely already familiar with, check out some of the features that are not only exclusive to Amazon Business but also make it unique:
- Business-only prices: You get access to price discounts on more than five million products, including quantity discounts on multi-unit purchases.
- Business-only products: Find specific business products. From IT to janitorial, from office to restaurant supplies, from healthcare to hospitality -- Amazon Business has it.
- Seller credentials: Amazon Business lets you browse and shop from business sellers with specific attributes such as small business, women-owned, and minority-owned.
- Multi-user accounts: Once you create a free Amazon Business account, you can connect your entire team and create purchasing groups to match your organization structure.
- Approval workflows: You can customize order approvals and set spending limits to not only manage your organization's buying but also gain visibility into how funds are spent.
- Purchasing cards: You can share payment methods with a few users or your whole team. You can also get AmazonCorporate Credit, with the ability to pay by purchase order.
- Integrate purchasing systems: Interested in having Amazon as a punchout option for customers? Amazon Business is enabled as a catalog on over 90 systems.
- Business Prime: Subscribers get free same-day, one-day, or two-day shipping on eligible items, as well as some additional benefits (which we've detailed below).
- Consolidated deliveries: If an order qualifies for a consolidated delivery, one of Amazon's carriers will deliver it on a pallet to your receiving dock or doorstep.
- Reporting and analytics: You can track and monitor your spending with handy charts.
- Tax-exempt purchasing: If your organization is eligible for tax-exempt purchasing, enroll in the Amazon Tax Exemption Program.
How does Amazon Business work?
There is no front-facing Amazon Business storefront -- you can't enter a web address into your browser to see it. You must create a free account from here and then sign in to view Amazon Business and all the items available through it. There's also a little-to-no learning curve, as Amazon Business looks and works nearly identically to regular Amazon.
Account and business settings
Sign in to your free Amazon Business account, and from the corner of the page, you can click on your name to access a drop-down menu with your Account settings. Amazon Business users get additional settings, such as business settings (add members, set up approval workflows, manage payment options, and enter tax exemption information), business analytics (see reports, invoices, and line-item details), and the ability to manage suppliers (search for and save your preferred suppliers).
Browse and shop
Once you sign in to your Amazon Business account, you'll see the familiar Amazon search bar at the top. You can enter a keyword or product number to find a specific item. Try searching for something, like a printer, and you'll be able to filter your results on the left -- just like you would on regular Amazon. However, since this is Amazon Business, you also see the option to filter items by Business Prime eligible, seller type (like a business seller), and seller certification (i.e., women-owned).
Place an order
The Amazon Business checkout process is almost indistinguishable from the regular Amazon checkout process: Add an item to your cart, select whether it's a recurring delivery, and then go to your cart to confirm your shipping details, payment method, and place the order. If you'd like to review your order after you've placed it, go to your Account settings and either click the Orders menu option directly or select Business analytics to get a detailed report on shipping, product, and seller information.
What can you buy on Amazon Business?
For a better idea of what you can buy on Amazon Business, check out our round-ups below:
- Best business laptops on Amazon Business
- Best business travel gear on Amazon Business
- Best professional drones on Amazon Business
- Best 3D printers for small businesses on Amazon Business
- Best routers on Amazon Business
What about Amazon Business Prime?
Business Prime is a paid membership program for Amazon Business customers who want free shipping on more than 100 million items, plus other benefits. It elevates your procurement experience, with the ability to analyze spending patterns and create policy rules that guide employees to approved products. There's a 30-day free trial, too.
Note: You do not get Amazon Prime features, like Prime Video, with a subscription.
Business Prime is only available in the US, Germany, and Japan.
The price of Business Prime is based on the number of users per Amazon Business account:
- Essentials: $179 a year for up to three users
- Small: $499 a year for up to 10 users
- Medium: $1,299 a year for up to 100 users
- Enterprise: $10,099 a year for over 100 users
- Public Sector*: $3,499 a year for over 100 users
Once you figure out which plan is best, go here, and click the "30-day free trial" button.
*Public sector is only available to US federal, state, local, and regional government entities, public education organizations, non-profit private universities, and healthcare facilities.
Here are a few of the highlights:
- Spend visibility: Powered by AWS QuickSight, this feature provides visualizations of company spending, making it easier to analyze data and spending trends.
- Guided buying: Account administrators can mark certain suppliers and products as preferred, set specific product category restrictions, and more, to improve compliance and consolidate suppliers.
- Amazon Business American Express Card: Business Prime members can get access to a no-annual-fee credit card. Visit www.amazon.com/businesscard for more details.
- Extended terms for Pay by Invoice: Business Prime members can request "Extended Terms for Pay by Invoice" -- extending their payment terms to 45 or 60 days, depending on their plan, to pay an Amazon Business invoice.
- Business delivery: Choose free same-day, one-day, or two-day shipping on more than 100 million items. Business Prime members can also select consolidated shipping on eligible bulk orders at checkout.
For more about Amazon Business Prime, including how it differs from Amazon Prime, see our in-depth comparison guide here.
For more great deals on devices, gadgetry, and tech for your enterprise, business, or home office, see ZDNet's Business Bargain Hunter blog. Affiliate disclosure: ZDNet may earn a commission from some of the products featured on this page.