Back in 1994, no one could've predicted that Jeff Bezos' fledgling organization would transform the retail space. These days, however, their every move is met with anticipation and trepidation. When the e-commerce giant announced their new Amazon Business service back in 2015, responses were predictably speculative. Could Amazon really compete with Industrial Supplies distributors?

According to Source One's Michael Croasdale, the conversation still continues nearly three years later. He joins the Source One Podcast to offer his insights. The Senior Consultant and recognized MRO Strategic Sourcing expert is skeptical. "Personally," he remarks, "I think it's going to take quite some time before [Amazon] cracks the list of top MRO distributors."

Relationships with MRO distributors are formed over years of successful collaboration. Buyers are unlikely to transition away from relationships that have proved fruitful for years. This is true when the transition is from "like-to-like," and Croasdale expects it to prove doubly true when Amazon Business is presented as the alternative.

"Ease of ordering," Croasdale suggests, is Amazon Business' primary selling point. What the service lacks, however, is the hands-on attention that MRO distributors typically provide. He concludes by noting that MRO is a uniquely relationship-driven spend area. Large companies, he believes, are unlikely to take Amazon Business seriously unless the organization refines its services and provides the personal touch that MRO buyers have come to expect.

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