AWS Startups Blog

How to Set up Purchasing That Scales with Startup Growth

how to use amazon business to scale your startup

Simplified, agile buying practices can help startups adapt to uncertainty and scale business growth.

Successful startups design for rapid growth, which requires agility from the get-go across all parts of the organization, including purchasing. The way you buy for your startup can help your company respond faster to changing market conditions, whether they are caused by an influx of funding, a surge in demand for your product, or the uncertainty of global crises.

Amazon Business can help startups get what they need faster and devote fewer resources to managing purchasing. Below, learn how to implement a buying process that will help you:

1.     Get set up fast and save money in the early stage of product development

2.     Stay in control and optimize costs when you’re facing rapid growth

3.     Pivot your strategy to get through the current crisis

What is Amazon Business and Business Prime?

Amazon Business is designed for buying for work. With a free Amazon Business account, you can shop from hundreds of thousands of sellers who offer business selection and business-only prices. Plus, you get access to a host of features designed to help businesses save time and money, like Quantity Discounts, Recurring Delivery, Reorder Lists, and flexible payment options.

Business Prime is a membership program for businesses and only available on Amazon Business. It offers additional benefits such as expedited shipping on millions of items, flexible delivery options, Progressive Discounts, account management features, and advanced analytics that give you the control and insights you need as your business grows.

Early stage — Get set up for growth

Early stage startups want as much of their time and resources as possible to go to product development and securing investors. During this stage, besides evaluating your company for product-market fit, investors are looking for startups that have the machinery in place to scale quickly. Amazon Business can help you get set up fast, save money now, and build a process that will scale when your sales take off.

Quickly set up your workspace and keep it stocked. AI-powered features like personalized search and recommendations can save you time setting up your workspace. Simplify the process by buying everything you need from one source for office furniture, IT peripherals, office supplies, and breakroom products. As you’re shopping, set up Recurring Delivery on the products you’ll use most so you won’t have to think about keeping supplies in stock, plus you’ll save up to 10 percent on eligible items.

Get supplies faster and more conveniently. Business Prime members get expedited shipping on millions of items and consolidated shipping on eligible large orders so you can receive your items in the fewest packages and deliveries.

Maximize cash flow with flexible payment options. Eligible customers can pay by invoice with 30-day payment terms and no interest or fees. With a Business Prime Membership, you can apply for longer terms. An Amazon Business Line of Credit gives you net 55-day billing terms with no interest, or a Revolving Credit line option allows you to pay your balance in full each month or make monthly minimum payments with interest.

Growth stage — Control and optimize

Once you’ve secured funding and your energy shifts to bringing your product to market and building up your customer base, you don’t want any cumbersome process to slow you down. Amazon Business with Business Prime gives you access to the same technology that streamlines purchasing for enterprises, because that’s where you are headed.

Effectively manage a growing team. At this stage, you’re doing a lot of hiring. Salesforce reports that 82% of business buyers want the same experience as when they’re buying for themselves.1 Amazon Business has the familiar shopping experience of Amazon, so new hires can onboard faster. With more employees making purchases, you can add multiple users to your existing Amazon Business account that has built-in features to help you stay in control. You can:

1.     Create purchasing groups, set permissions, and add administrators.

2.     Set up multi-tiered workflows so you or your group administrators can easily approve team members’ purchases.

Set in motion a cost optimization flywheel. As your startup grows, so do your costs. Since nearly 20% of startups fail due to cost issues2, it’s important to keep your team’s spending in check. Business Prime Members get access to three innovative tools—Spend Visibility, Guided Buying, and Progressive Discounts—that are each powerful on their own, but when used together form a flywheel that can help you continually optimize costs.

1.     First, use Guided Buying to steer employees toward preferred products or sellers and products that qualify for Progressive Discounts to achieve your spending goals.

2.     Next, use Spend Visibility (cloud-based analytics with data visualizations) to check how you are progressing toward your goals, see how much you’re saving with Progressive Discounts, and identify opportunities to save more.

3.     Finally, based on your progress, you can update your Guided Buying policies as needed. The more qualified products your team buys, the higher the discount you’ll unlock.

Each tool enhances the power of the others to lower your costs over time and serve as an effective lever for growth.

Crisis — Get what you need to keep building

Crises can hit businesses hard. Simplified buying can help you adapt in the short term and prepare for the future.

Get the supplies you need. Unpredictable demand and supply shortages are making it hard to get what you need. Your usual suppliers may be out of stock or may have closed their doors. The more you can consolidate suppliers and buy from one source, the more time you’ll save. Since Amazon Business’ online store brings together hundreds of thousands of sellers, buyers deal with fewer stock-outs and can quickly compare products and prices.

Increase cash flow. Uncertainty and reduced revenue may be forcing you to cut costs and reallocate resources. If you need to save money and increase your cash flow, try the following approaches:

1.     Access deals for businesses like business-only pricing and discounts on Recurring Delivery

2.     Take a look at your spending patterns. With a remote workforce, you may be seeing irregular and unpredictable spending. You can better stay in control and identify where to cut costs with Amazon Business Analytics, available with a free Amazon Business account.

Get time back to plan for the future. As you face increased demands on your time, now is a good time to automate recurring processes so you can spend less time shopping, ordering supplies, and managing purchasing. Amazon Business can help with Reorder Lists, which let you reorder a list of supplies with just a few clicks, and with Recurring Delivery, so you get eligible supplies automatically.

Whether your vision is securing funding, IPO, acquisition, organic growth, or simply surviving the current crisis, your startup has a higher chance of success if your buying practices can flex with changes in demand and sustain rapid growth.

Learn more about how Amazon Business works for startups and small businesses


1.     Salesforce, “State of the Connected Customer,” 2nd Edition

2.     CB Insights, “Top 20 reasons startups fail,” 2019