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Amazon Creates COVID-19 Supplies-Only Section for Businesses

By Rich Duprey - Apr 16, 2020 at 12:38PM

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Inventory remains very limited though it is signing up thousands of businesses to participate.

Amazon.com (AMZN -0.26%) is creating a special COVID-19 supplies section on its Amazon Business platform so first responders can gain access to hard to find equipment.

While it says it is "currently onboarding thousands of accredited hospitals and government organizations," Amazon also notes inventory is currently still limited.

Woman first responder wearing protective mask

Image source: Getty Images.

Focused on first responders

Amazon Business is just like the consumer-facing e-commerce site most people are familiar with, but it's geared toward the needs of businesses with users having access to business-only pricing, multi-user accounts, tracking and monitoring of spending, and more.

As the country responds to the coronavirus pandemic, hospitals, first responders, and other front-line workers are finding the necessary protective equipment often out of stock. Amazon is prioritizing the stocking of N95 masks, facial shields, ventilators, digital thermometers, exam gloves, and hand sanitizer. Amazon says all available COVID-19 supplies are being made available on a first-come, first-served basis.

Importantly, Amazon also notes it won't personally be profiting off the transactions, pointing out,

"We designed COVID-19 Supplies as a service for our communities and will not make a profit. We are investing in significant supplier recruitment and logistics to locate and expedite the delivery of this critical inventory across the globe. We will also waive all standard referral fees for third-party sellers who supply products for this effort."

Amazon Business was created in 2015, and within three years it was producing $10 billion in sales. The e-commerce giant set up a Getting Started Guide for approved businesses to begin accessing the dedicated site, which starts with identifying employees authorized to make purchases.

Buyers must have a registered Amazon Business account to shop, but it's free to set one up.

John Mackey, CEO of Whole Foods Market, an Amazon subsidiary, is a member of The Motley Fool's board of directors. Rich Duprey has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Amazon and recommends the following options: short January 2022 $1940 calls on Amazon and long January 2022 $1920 calls on Amazon. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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