Forget the delivery drones and TV deals. Jeff Bezos’ stealthy foray into the unsexy world of B2B distribution is likely his most disruptive move yet — and it has an $8 trillion swath of the economy running scared.
In recent months global Internet retail behemoth Amazon.com has green-lit six new original TV shows, announced an online streaming deal with HBO and tested same-day grocery delivery on the West Coast.
Up next? Possibly a smartphone. And, if billionaire CEO Jeff Bezos has his way, packages dropped off by unmanned drone.
But there’s one thing Bezos hasn’t been talking about: AmazonSupply, an e-commerce site targeting the unsexy but hugely lucrative wholesale and distribution market. His silence is especially surprising as the site has the potential to turn into the most important development in the company’s history since it started selling books. Yet Bezos has uttered only 28 words in public–ever–about AmazonSupply, describing it in passing as “an incredible category” during the company’s 2012 annual meeting.
“You can get industrial motors, flanges, valves, fasteners, materials, janitorial supplies,” he said. And that was it, before moving on to proudly tell shareholders that the world’s largest gummy bear, a 72-ounce sugary beast, was for sale on Amazon.com. Whether the lack of hype is a deliberate part of a stealthy rollout or Bezos just thinks selling rubber gloves to dentists lacks p.r. value, wholesalers are taking the threat seriously, and it’s easy to see why. [read]