It’s no surprise that the procurement experience for small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) looks much different in 2023 than in years past. SMBs still face balancing the ongoing short-term response to supply chain challenges with long-term strategic objectives, placing stress on teams to meet today’s sourcing demands while keeping business moving forward.
But what if there was a way to easily manage budgets and supply continuity, while simplifying the buying experience during the busiest and most crucial season of the year for SMBs? The good news is there is a way, and it starts with unlocking procurement efficiencies.
Control What You Spend this Holiday Season
For SMBs, the holiday season can be a make-or-break moment, reinforcing the need to take procurement just as seriously as any other element of running a business. One way to do this is by leveraging tools like Budget Management from Amazon Business. SMB owners can use these tools to build confidence in the purchasing process and create budgets—two pivotal areas for ensuring holiday success. For example, SMBs can set spending limits for buyers and easily track purchasing activity; efficiently managing both tasks can also help SMB owners focus on other key priorities. Similarly, creating budgetary transparency and leveraging control checkpoints like pre-purchase approvals can help SMBs operate more effectively when it matters most. Finally, options like buy now, pay later can provide flexible payment options, enabling your shoppers to pay in installments with no hidden fees or surprises. This valuable option will help your customers make budget-friendly purchases during the rush of the holiday season.
Expand Your Knowledge of Procurement Products
But procurement offerings do not begin and end with budget management tools. There’s a bevy of options available for SMB owners—the key is educating yourself on which tools make the most sense for your business and at which stage. In addition to tools like Budget Management, SMBs can leverage features that simplify the buying experience while increasing organizational compliance. Take, for example, an option like Amazon Business, which provides business-relevant selection, innovative tools, and features that can help SMBs of any size simplify buying to drive toward their next stage of growth.
Another option is investing in spend-intelligent solutions, which can provide SMBs with insightful analytics to drive compliance with purchasing policies and optimize cash flow. And again, while some of these tools may not be top-of-mind for every SMB owner during the holiday season, they can be just as critical to the bottom line as other business functions like sales and marketing.
Join the AI & ML Revolution
It should be no surprise by now that artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) continue to dramatically impact many aspects of how we live and work And while unlocking procurement interacts with procurement deliverables, AI and ML ultimately provide more seamless processes, a greater understanding of buying habits, and even reduced prices.
While some elements of the technologies can be daunting, the emergence of large language models, for example, can create simplified procurement shopping experiences—yet another critical component to help SMBs thrive during the holiday season. By leveraging new AI procurement features, SMBs can automatically analyze data for timely insights to support key decisions—and identify what has been spent and where. AI has also come in handy, helping procurement by assisting with some back-office activities associated with the procurement lifecycle. Using AI for these types of tasks not only saves time and money but also ensures that SMB owners can prioritize other components of their businesses during peak moments like the holidays.
The holidays are nearly here, but it’s still not too late to unlock your procurement efficiencies ahead of the rush. And while procurement may continue its role as the unsung hero in business, it can be the difference-maker when it matters most. To learn more about procurement options for your small business, visit here.
Todd Heimes is the director and general manager of Amazon Business.