How Small, Diverse, Certified Sellers Achieve Growth with Amazon Business

Ravenox is an American rope manufacturer and certified small business owned by a disabled veteran. Founded in 2012 by Gunnery Master Sergeant Sean Brownleea special operations navy with more than two decades of continuous service, Ravenox now has one of the best selling strings in the USA.

In addition to its dedicated staff and loyal customers, Brownlee attributes Ravenox’s success to its online sourcing strategies. Brownlee said, “Amazon Business has helped us find new buyers, expand into new product areas, improve our customer service, and sell more products. Ultimately, the partnership has made us a better and more profitable business. »

By embracing digital procurement, Ravenox has moved to Top 1% of all Amazon third-party sellers in 2019 and remains one of Amazon Business’ top selling partners. With Amazon Business, Ravenox spends fewer resources on time-consuming offline sales efforts, and more time on things crucial to building a better business in 2022, including product innovation and improving customer service. In turn, buyers can boost their sourcing-related corporate social responsibility initiatives by supporting more diverse small businesses like Ravenox.

Digital procurement helps Ravenox reach consumers, businesses and government buyers

Although Ravenox has always sold directly to consumers, a significant portion of its current business comes from working with commercial and government buyers.

Last year, the US federal government spent $145.7 billion in procurement exclusively with small businesses, according to the US Small Business Administration. Supply spending on certified companies increases also in the commercial sector, according to data from Amazon Business. Selling to large government and B2B customers is an important way for smaller vendors with diverse ownership to secure large, recurring contracts. As the numbers in this area grow, more companies are following in Ravenox’s footsteps and establishing digital sourcing deals to attract new revenue streams.

There is a good reason. As a certified small business owned by veterans with disabilities, selling offline requires Ravenox to seek out and champion related sourcing opportunities. Brownlee says, “As a US Marine, I was responsible for procurement in Afghanistan. When I first started with Ravenox, I found it extremely difficult to sell to the public sector, even with my in-depth knowledge of the buying process.

Fortunately, digital procurement eases the burden on Ravenox and other small businesses. Instead of creating custom proposals for every public sector opportunity, sellers can create a profile page detailing all of their product listings and certifications. Buyers can then use advanced search and filtering capabilities to connect with products and suppliers of any certification status.

“Amazon Business has helped us get on the radar of so many other business and government buyers,” Brownlee says. “The biggest benefits of e-sourcing are the improved visibility, awareness and brand recognition that Ravenox has earned.”

Another benefit of digital sourcing is that it mimics the way shoppers already shop in their personal lives. For B2B organizations that also sell their products in retail spaces, like Ravenox, the same customer reviews can be populated for commercial and government buyers. Shoppers in all industries benefit from access to a familiar store with extensive reviews, and Ravenox benefits from increased visibility with current and future customers.

Indeed, Ravenox has converted several individual buyers into professional buyers. Many of its customers purchased products for personal use, then upon learning of Ravenox’s certification status, made larger purchases for their organization. The Amazon Business Sourcing Portal helps shoppers connect the dots in this way, and then easily make purchasing decisions consistent with their unique goals.

3 takeaways for certified sellers

Digital Sourcing with Amazon Business gives sellers the tools, resources, and audiences to grow their businesses. But it’s up to the sellers themselves to step in and take advantage of these opportunities. Brownlee has a few tips to help other diverse small sellers maximize their investments in digital purchases:

  1. Pursue certifications. “While pursuing and maintaining certifications takes time, it is worth it. It helps you identify more sales opportunities and set higher standards for the way you do business,” says Brownlee.

    In addition to leveraging the resources of your online sourcing partner, Brownlee recommends contacting your local Small Business Development Center (SBDC) and your local Procurement and Technical Assistance Center (PTAC) for additional guidance. .

    He adds, “Thanks to Amazon Business, Ravenox is now certified in six different categories, including several that we would not have known about or requested without the Amazon Business Resource Center. It facilitated quick sorting of information on dozens of different references.”

  2. Understand and embrace high standards. “If you are diligent and follow the best practices and policies set out by Amazon Business, you will be successful. The growth potential is limitless,” says Brownlee.

    To provide the best possible customer experience, digital procurement channels establish specific policies for customer service responsiveness, delivery times, and more. Ultimately, these standards set clear expectations for buyers and sellers, minimizing friction between the two groups.

    “Amazon Business has very high standards for itself and its business partners. These settings are just smart business practices,” he adds. “The Amazon Business Guidelines have ultimately made us a better business and standardized our digital experiences, helping to improve our overall customer retention and loyalty rates.”

  3. Take advantage of data. Brownlee said, “Thanks to Amazon Business’ strong reporting and analytics capabilities, we’ve discovered new customer niches and new product offerings for our business.”

Leveraging online sourcing means vendors can reach a more diverse audience than they could target through offline sales. This allows sellers to develop a broader picture of demand for their products and for similar products that they don’t currently offer, and then quickly adjust business decision-making accordingly.

“Through selling online, we’ve uncovered a lot of untapped customer demographics and niche product lines that we never would have dreamed of on our own,” Brownlee adds. “When I started this business, we only sold rope. Now we sell gear, pet products and more.

Both Sellers and Buyers Win with Digital Sourcing

Ravenox is just one of many small business success stories happening every day on Amazon Business. Ultimately, digital procurement helps sellers improve their visibility to commercial and government buyers to grow their organization. And it helps buyers easily find and help certified sellers meet internal D&I goals or external federal requirements.

If you want to learn more about how to boost your business through online sales and gain access to over 1 million B2B buyers, visit Amazon Business.