B2B sales on Amazon came as a surprise and they keep growing

Stephan Harpeng
Assistant to the CEO and Quality Manager, TIGA-MED
Based in eastern Thuringia (Germany), TIGA-MED was founded as a completely offline company, selling medical products and disposables to hospitals and nursing homes. The company is now aiming to offer medical products at affordable prices to a very wide and diverse range of customers. In face, it has noticed strong demand for this type of product outside of professional care services (among private buyers, gloves in the catering sector etc.) The company's online channel has grown significantly in recent years and currently represents around 50% of its business. Amazon is the main online store that the company uses.

The Covid pandemic created significant challenges for the medical products sector. Supply chains faced disruption and delivery times became significantly longer, while demand increased unexpectedly and could not be met. Retaining B2B customers was particularly difficult, as they appreciate continuous product availability and do not want to switch to other manufacturers. However, the sector has now returned to normal and the supply chain has stabilised again.

How we get lots of new customers on Amazon Business

Originally viewing Amazon as a pure B2C marketplace, the company “noticed that B2B demand went up a lot and that customers like medical practices, out-patient care services and retirement homes were buying on Amazon, which was a surprise at first”. TIGA-MED now has numerous B2B customers on Amazon Business ranging from the restaurant sector to building management companies. Stephan Harpeng, Assistant to the CEO and Quality Manager at TIGA-MED, notes that B2B activities on Amazon currently represent 20% of the company’s business: “This 20% is already more than we expected and the B2B segment is continuing to grow rapidly”.

The most exciting thing about Amazon Business for Stephan is that B2B customers can shop their products “with the same convenience that they are used to from Amazon and in good conditions. With the business offers, B2B customers can cover their needs very well, just as easily as they would when shopping privately on Amazon, which makes it very attractive for customers — and therefore a very good business market for us”. He also notes that customers can be retained on Amazon Business: “The majority of our products are disposable, so when we have good offers and customers are satisfied with the product, it’s very likely that they will buy the same product again immediately after using up the first delivery”.

Originally founded as an offline B2B business, TIGA-MED expanded its customer base by selling its products on Amazon to both B2C customers and new B2B customers.
We have gained a lot of new customers by selling on Amazon. We’ve been selling on Amazon for 11 years now and still we’re adding a huge number of new customers every day.
Stephan HarpengAssistant to the CEO and Quality Manager, TIGA-MED

Amazon Business tools to help grow your B2B orders

Manage Quotes was the first tool used by TIGA-MED on Amazon Business. Thanks to this tool, the company received an increasing number of enquiries from potential customers. “When we started using Business Prices and Quantity Discounts, we saw a big increase in B2B sales”. Stephan estimates that B2B orders have increased by at least 40% since starting to use Quantity Discounts. “If I imagine myself looking for a product, I would probably do the same: I know my quantities, I know my demands, so of course I would look for a bulk package to get a better price. I consider Business Prices and Quantity Discounts the most efficient tools for attracting B2B customers, because everyone is looking for discounts, B2C and B2B customers alike”, he says. Stephan finds Quantity Discounts especially important for the medical sector — due to the large proportion of single-use, disposable products, the quantities are very high. For the same reason, bulk products are also very useful in the medical sector.

TIGA-MED appreciates the advantages of the VAT Calculation Service (VCS) that the company uses with an external partner (VCS Lite version):
As B2B customers on Amazon ourselves, we appreciate receiving our invoice immediately after the goods are dispatched. Seeing prices without VAT is also a very good feature for B2B customers — you don’t want to have to take out your calculator and work it out yourself!
Stephan HarpengAssistant to the CEO and Quality Manager, TIGA-MED

Successful collaboration with B2B customers

TIGA-MED shares some insights on its experience with B2B customers: “With B2B customers, it’s always ‘less of a struggle’ than with B2C customers. They know the product well, they know exactly what they are looking for and they know how to use it, so it's a big advantage, and the return rate is extremely low”. Stephan notes that shipping companies report that deliveries are much smoother and easier with business customers as they generally don’t omit contact information and provide precise delivery instructions. “Shipping companies much prefer B2B customers!”

Advice for sellers: Don't let your business miss out on potential B2B sales on Amazon

“I recommend offering significant discounts to B2B customers as this boosts B2B sales. As a result, B2B customers will buy the same products over and over again very quickly, as their demand is greater and more consistent than in the B2C area. With regard to quantity discounts, it makes sense to align them with the quantities of products in a box or shipping unit. You’ll be able to reduce delivery costs, while the customer always receives full boxes, which are less likely to be damaged during delivery. So it's a win-win for both sides: you save on extra boxes while reducing shipping costs”, explains Stephan.

He emphasises the following point in particular: “You should never underestimate the potential share of B2B customers on Amazon. We made that mistake. We never imagined that the B2B share would increase so quickly. B2B customers appreciate fast, convenient shopping experiences just like everyone else. If you have a good product and you can meet the need of B2B customers, you should just give it a try — after all, there’s nothing to lose but plenty to gain.”

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