Amazon’s New ‘Business Prime’ Could Give Small Businesses Even Greater Speed to Market

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With the launch of Amazon Business Prime Shipping, small businesses have potential to reduce costs and increase speed to market, making them even bigger thorns in traditional retailers’ sides.

The roll-out service from Amazon Business is a paid annual membership program for registered multi-user business customers in the U.S. and Germany that offers unlimited free two-day shipping on eligible items for all users on an Amazon Business account.

Prentis Wilson, vice president of Amazon Business, said Business Prime Shipping “enables businesses with multiple users to further simplify their procurement procedures and increasingly rely on Amazon Business to deliver,” adding that “customers can now get unlimited fast delivery across their organization on a vast selection of products while maintaining increased visibility on their business purchases.”

Amazon Business customers can sign up for an annual Business Prime Shipping membership based on the number of users on their business account–$499 for up to 10 users, $1,299 for up to 100 users, and $10,099 for over 100 users.

Any new user added to an existing Amazon Business account with Business Prime Shipping will be automatically enrolled in this membership.

“Business Prime Shipping combines the wide selection of products available to Amazon Business customers, with the speed and convenience that customers have come to know and love from Amazon Prime,” said Greg Greeley, vice president of Amazon Prime.

Greeley said Amazon Prime “will continue to innovate on behalf of customers to make business purchasing even easier.”

[Read more about Amazon: Amazon Steps Into Delivery with Seller Flex, Acquires 3-D Model Business]

Amazon Business is a marketplace that provides easy access to millions of products–from IT and lab equipment to education and food-service supplies. Amazon Business customers also enjoy a variety of benefits, including business-only pricing and selection, a multi-seller marketplace, approval workflow, purchasing system integrations, payment solutions and dedicated customer support.

On Wednesday, Amazon announced another new service, Amazon Key, for Prime members that radically improves the convenience of receiving deliveries. Amazon Key enables in-home delivery and secure home access for guests and service appointments.

With Amazon Key, customers can have their packages securely delivered inside their home without having to be there. Using the Amazon Key app, customers can track their delivery with real-time notifications, watch the delivery happening live or review a video of the delivery after it is complete.

This state-of-the-art technology doesn’t simply replace a key with a digital passcode. Each time a delivery driver requests access to a customer’s home, Amazon verifies that the correct driver is at the right address, at the intended time, through an encrypted authentication process. Once this process is successfully completed, Amazon Cloud Cam starts recording and the door is then unlocked. No access codes or keys are ever provided to delivery drivers. In-home delivery is backed by Amazon’s Happiness Guarantee.

Prime members can pre-order the Amazon Key In-Home Kit, which includes Amazon Cloud Cam and one of several compatible smart locks by leading lock manufacturers Yale and Kwikset. Customers can install the In-Home Kit themselves or take advantage of free professional installation. Amazon Key In-Home Kit starts at $249.99.

Amazon Key will be available on Nov. 8 in 37 cities and surrounding areas across the U.S., with more locations rolling out over time. Delivery is available on tens of millions of items sold on Amazon.com and the delivery is available at no extra cost for Prime members. Amazon Key works with same-day, one-day, two-day and standard shipping.

“Amazon Key gives customers peace of mind knowing their orders have been safely delivered to their homes and are waiting for them when they walk through their doors,” said Peter Larsen, vice president of Delivery Technology for Amazon. “Now, Prime members can select in-home delivery and conveniently see their packages being delivered right from their mobile phones.”

The service also offers keyless access for family and friends. Customers can set the frequency and length of time a person has access, and add or remove contacts as they see fit. And, in the coming months, Amazon Key will provide customers with easy and convenient professional service scheduling with thousands of providers. This includes integrations with some of the leading service brands, including home cleaning experts from Merry Maids and pet sitters and dog walkers on Rover.com, as well as more than 1,200 services from providers across 60 professions via Amazon Home Services.

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