The entry of Amazon Business has undoubtedly changed the way distributors approach order fulfillment, pricing and customer experience. Not only do customers have a higher expectation for speed of delivery, low prices and great buying experiences, the e-marketplace has enabled smaller distributors to access markets that they were unable to before. This creates a highly competitive industry where distributors of every size can now compete for the same customer. What can they do to survive in this disruptive landscape?

Many decision makers view Amazon Business as a threat to their survival. Some are ramping up efforts to create their own e-marketplaces to become closer to Amazon’s playing field, but there are simpler ways to address and overcome this disruption. While the e-commerce giant has dramatically raised customer expectations by promising hard-to-beat fulfilment and price, easy automation solutions exist to help distributors to turn this challenge into an advantage.

Reducing order cycle times and fulling orders with 100% accuracy are crucial for distributors who want to elevate their existing sales platforms for success. Automation of incoming sales orders for example, ensures fast processing speed and accuracy for every purchase, which ultimately accelerates order fulfillment. With the agility and flexibility to process large order volumes, distributors are better positioned to scale and grow. Particularly as this now frees up time for customer service representatives to offer what is not Amazon’s core value proposition—live customer service.

Automating document processing also allows businesses to provide a similar transaction experience as Amazon as customers can be confident about the quality and speed of every purchase. The elimination of manual data entry tasks for sales and customer service reps can drive their attention towards providing true customer service and product knowledge. This means they are allotted more time to build solid relationships with existing customers while showcasing deep product knowledge to retain customer loyalty.

Distributors can also embrace Amazon Business and use it as an additional sales channel. This new route gives businesses the opportunity to sell excess inventory or products that don’t require a lot of customer service and product support. To take full advantage, the transaction requirements set forth by Amazon must be met. Document automation can also support orders placed through this channel without manual intervention and deliver them into ERP systems for pack and ship in minutes. Once order acknowledgment is received, distributors can log into Amazon and retrieve the order details.

In an era of disruption and change, unexpected opportunities can arise when decision makers shift their perspective and become creative when approaching challenges. Rather than seeing it as a risk, Amazon can be used as an effective sales channel for excess inventory. At the same time, document automation solutions enable greater customer satisfaction with customers ordering through existing sales channels like email, web portals or e-commerce.