The new Corporate Accounts Program allows institutional purchasers to create a managed account with a payment method other than credit card, by which they can buy books, software, videos and other goods online, the company announced Wednesday.
"Whether it is local librarians ordering hard-to-find titles, corporate librarians purchasing training materials or small businesses buying software printers, these customers will now be able to use purchase orders as a method of payment at Amazon.com," Jason Kilar, vice president of media products at Amazon.com, said in a statement.
Under the new program, Amazon is also offering online account management tools designed for corporate and institutional buyers. Account holders will have access to an online order history for all account purchases; a consolidated, line-item bill for all account activity; and the option to receive an e-mail notification every time a purchase is made.
"This is a good move to make," said Martha Bennett, an analyst at Giga Information Group. "If they can tie into a customer base that can buy using an easier method that already exists, like through a purchase order, it means they will get that customer base to buy from them and not others."
Bennett said that the library and school market holds promise for Amazon, because teachers and librarians use much more than books to teach. "They use DVDs, videos and other tools," to which Amazon will provide access, she said.
Corporate accounts have already been established at Amazon by institutions such as Johns Hopkins University's Sheridan Libraries, the Northwestern University Law Library and Stanford University Libraries, and by corporations such as Oracle and 3Com.
The company is also offering corporate purchasers a promotional credit of up to $125 based on account purchases made through Oct. 15. Customers can apply that credit to future Amazon orders.