Comment December/January 2017/18

Here's to a happy & healthy 2018.

There are two big themes in this final OPI edition of the year: Amazon Business – or simply Amazon – and the growing importance of health and well-being in the workplace.

Let’s start with Amazon Business. I’m delighted that we’ve been able to secure a rare interview with the company’s VP Prentis Wilson for this issue. If I didn’t know already, it’s been made abundantly clear to me that customer service and convenience is what Amazon Business is all about – it’s quite simply at the heart of the company.

That said, customer service can be interpreted in many different ways. If you are after desktop delivery and a handshake, a bespoke experience and being able to speak to someone in person to resolve any issues, this is not Amazon Business (or indeed Amazon). 

Unfortunately, in this increasingly PR-dominated and vetted world, more probing questions as to the extent to which Amazon Business is geared up – now or in the longer term – to provide help and advice to customers or about the fear of marketplace sellers of having their data used by the online giant, were roundly dismissed. 

Many of the marketplace sellers are, of course, independent dealers, and while Wilson refers to the opportunities that this generates, it also brings plenty of challenges. And for those not selling via Amazon, they could soon be missing out on billions of dollars, as our news analysis about the ‘Amazon Bill’ shows. The US independent dealer community has certainly leapt into action over HR2511. 

Back to theme two: health and well-being in the office. Everybody by now knows about the dangers of a sedentary lifestyle – in and out of the office. But with the exception of furniture and ergonomics where considerable progress has been made already, I’d argue that the opportunities for resellers are only just emerging. There’s plenty to explore in this issue.

So here are my New Year’s resolutions: eat fewer biscuits and more fruit, try our sit-stand desk in the office, and use my fitness tracker during proper lunch breaks walking the streets of London.  

Have a wonderful festive holiday season (with lots of ‘naughty’ food and drink – there’s a time for exceptions). Until 2018!