Publisher’s Letter

Insights from Amazon One

John Pritchard

Early in May, we held IDN Insights West at Amazon’s Headquarters in Seattle, Wash. It was a unique venue in what Amazon calls “Amazon One,” which is one of the main Amazon buildings in downtown Seattle. The day opened with a keynote by Amazon’s Chris Holt, Leader, Global Healthcare, then we moved into our more traditional supply chain discussions.

The attendees definitely wanted to hear what Chris had to say. Some of his insights included:

  1. Fifty-five percent of online buyers start at Amazon; the other 45% go everywhere else.
  1. One of Amazon’s Leadership Principals is to Invent and Simplify.
  1. Amazon is the earth’s most customer-centric company, focused on three tenants; Price, Selection and Convenience.
  1. J-WO (pronounced Jay-Wow) is coming. Just Walk Out technology. It is being piloted with Amazon Go and you can expect what happens in the consumer setting to come to Amazon Business like J-WO, Alexa and Echo dot.

Chris’ presentation was eye opening to the over 125 suppliers in attendance. Very few of the attendees knew Amazon Business could load contract pricing and accept payment on invoices like traditional medical distributors. This may seem disconcerting to distributors, but I don’t believe Amazon is scaling up to target distribution.

Amazon is building a marketplace that has buyers, and is adding sellers, rapidly. Many of the suppliers that are resistant to wanting to collaborate with Amazon need to consider their customer and how the customer wants to buy. Certainly, the millennial buyer of tomorrow is going to want to swipe, swipe, click.

I am not saying this will be fast or easy for Amazon, but I think all suppliers to healthcare will have to change, and quickly, to meet the buyer of tomorrow where that buyer wants them.

For more on Amazon, read this month’s cover story.

John Pritchard