US

Branching out again, Amazon launches marketplace catering to business-to-business transactions

Millions of consumers buy products on Amazon every day. The e-commerce powerhouse will now make it possible for businesses to buy directly from other businesses on its site as well.

The Seattle company launched Amazon Business, a marketplace specifically for businesses that gives sellers special pricing tools, the ability to list business credentials and offer discounts on bulk purchases. Businesses can also list offers with 45 business-specific categories like IT, office supplies and food and beverage. The marketplace will offer a wide range of goods, including lab supplies, rollerball pens and tractor parts as it seeks to attract a wide array of businesses.

Amazon is offering free shipping on orders of $49 or more on eligible items. Amazon says millions of business customers bought billions of dollars worth of products on the site over the past year and that the new platform will make it easier for businesses to operate.

Amazon has put itself into competition with a growing number of business sectors, from entertainment with its streaming movie and music services, to grocers and cloud storage companies.

The new platform will put Amazon in direct competition with office suppliers like Staples and Costco.

"It's only the beginning for this new marketplace - we will continue to build out features in areas like product support, payments, shipping and pricing," said Prentis Wilson, vice president of Amazon Business.