Shelley Salomon, Global Vice President of Amazon Business

Shelley Salomon, Global Vice President of Amazon Business

Ahead of Amazon Business Exchange (ABX) 2024 in London, Procurement Magazine sat down with Shelley Salomon, Global VP of Amazon Business

With the Amazon Business Exchange (ABX) held in London, Shelley Salomon, Vice President of the Global Amazon Business, sat down to talk about Amazon Business’s evolution, outlined its priorities and what it will look to focus on as it continues to grow.

Shelley manages teams across ten countries. With over 20 years at Amazon, she specialises in enhancing business procurement, helping businesses reduce costs and improving productivity with advanced analytics. Shelley has led a variety of Amazon teams, including Consumer Electronics and Softlines, integrating technologies like augmented reality and AI to elevate customer experiences. She also founded Amazon Shipping, a logistics service for third-party e-commerce firms.

Shelley previously worked on Intel Corporation's Finance team. She holds an MBA from the University of California, Berkeley, and a B.A. in Psychology and Economics from Tel Aviv University.

The company aims to bring the same shopping experience that customers enjoy on Amazon to their work setting, as it looks to make procurement work for SMB to large enterprises. 

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Can you please talk us through Amazon Business, including focus areas?

Amazon Business takes what we built for customers over 25 years and translates it into a business setting. So, in all of those elements of the customer experience, our selection, price, convenience and focus on speed, we take the best of Amazon and tailor it for businesses.

We hear from our customers is that they love the buying experience on Amazon, but when they’re buying during their workday, the experience is quite different. By offering Amazon for businesses, we aim to bring that experience to their work setting.

Why was it established and what is its importance to Amazon?

Amazon takes a three-step approach to evaluating business opportunities. First, we look at whether this is a meaningful opportunity for us. Globally, Amazon Business has almost endless opportunities across all segments so it’s a significant opportunity for us.

Secondly, we consider if Amazon is well positioned to serve this opportunity and segment. With Amazon Business, we feel very well positioned, because everything that we already do for customers translates very well, including our transportation capabilities. We excel at delivering fast, consolidating packages and importing for our business customers. 

The third is considering whether customers are well-served with the provider they have today. We believe our digital and science-first mindset will really help to bring innovation and convenience, meeting and exceeding our customers' needs. 

What role does procurement play, how is it evolving and how are you utilising your procurement process to grow and succeed?

We serve all companies from your neighbourhood salon to large universities and government entities. Everyone needs to purchase products, whether it be office products, IT equipment or janitorial supplies.

We've come out of a few challenging years where companies, government bodies and other organisations have really looked to optimise where they spend their time and resources.

As a result, procurement leaders are eager to explore and understand the benefits of technology in procurement so that they can save time and resources to help its core mission.

Shelley Salomon, Vice President of the Global Amazon Business, onstage at Amazon Business Exchange

Can you share some of Amazon Business’s success stories?

Last year, Amazon Business reached US$35bn in annualised sales. We have over six million customers in 10 countries, and we've expanded and successfully grown the business in Europe. Our compound annual sales growth rate since 2020 has been 25% and our largest customers have increased their spending with us by 60% year over year.  

What I am most excited about is the support which Amazon Business offers to small businesses. Last year, our Amazon Business customers increased their spending with small businesses by more than 50% over the past year. The ability to support small businesses is a great opportunity for Amazon Business.

How does Amazon Business help small businesses and sellers?

There are two mechanisms. Firstly, small businesses are our customers. Everything that we do, including selection, price and convenience, makes it easy for small businesses to be more efficient. Last year, we launched Prime Duo, which allows business owners to leverage their personal Prime account for their business needs at no cost – essentially a dual account as a business user. 

We further enable our customers, large and small, to delineate the type of purchases they want their organisation to use. They can filter for products that are socially responsible or environmentally friendly, are locally sourced, or come from small or minority-owned businesses and so on. 

Why do you view that as something that's so important to offer?

Amazon Business has a strong commitment to small businesses. A key part of Amazon’s overall goal is that we can service and support smaller organisations as well as large enterprises.

We’ve always worked back from our customers’ needs to build all of our services, from the traditional Amazon store, to AWS, to Amazon Business. For us, that not only means empowering SME sellers to tap into new markets with B2B customers, but making it easier for those customers to find SME sellers, while also offering smaller buyers tools that help them to get what they need, when they need it, at the price they need.

Amazon Business Exchange returned to London, held at the Hilton on Park Lane this June

What announcement are you making at ABX?

We're launching several new features, including a new app centre for third-party procurement services. If you think about Amazon Business’ large enterprise customers, they need to use many different types of e-procurement software and integrations to service their organisation and, ultimately, their customers.

The app centre is a destination where you can select, set up and then configure your Amazon Business account with over 25 different apps that could be in accounting, taxes, supply chain, etc. It's a great way to support the SMBs and smaller business populations. 

We're also iterating on existing tools such as budget management. This feature has the ability to set budgets for the likes of schools or government entities that have quarterly budgets, allowing these organisations to reset them, and provide reminders to users when their budget is running low, offering greater flexibility. Furthermore, our guided buying or curated catalogue solutions allow the administrators to set the parameters on the items being purchased, ensuring a streamlined procurement process whilst ensuring buyers adhere to company policies.

Why is Amazon Business Exchange 2024 important to you? 

I think ABX is an important occasion for us to meet with our customers and for customers to meet with each other. We strive to give our customers the opportunities and events where they can interact not only with us, but with each other. This year has some exciting presentations focusing on extremely important topics like ESG, AI and procurement. It’s also an honour to be joined by Baroness Karren Brady CBE and to hear about integrity and ambition in business. 

I'm so excited to have been given this opportunity to lead such a new and innovative part of the business for Amazon, and this is just day one! I look at all the opportunities and really think we've just begun to scratch the surface of what we can achieve.

What is Amazon Business hyper focused on addressing in the procurement space?

ESG is essential globally but European companies and government entities are more focused on it. This is why we’re dedicated to accelerating our progress in this region. 

Another area we’re focusing on is AI in procurement. We believe AI will provide immense opportunities to help optimise the purchase paths, what people purchase, how they receive it, and much more. Specifically in Europe, this is a multi-year journey where you'll see Amazon Business continuing to launch and iterate. 

Lastly, our European customers often manage orders across multiple locations, creating complexity in cross border shipping and so on. Therefore, continuing to build the capability to give our customers consolidated cross-border invoicing is another crucial focus area for us. 

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