Amazon.com (Nasdaq: AMZN) is hoping to make a splash in the senior housing procurement world—and it’s teasing that there’s more to come, as far as its role in the senior housing space is concerned.
The Seattle-based e-commerce and cloud computing giant had a palpable presence at the 2018 Argentum Senior Living Executive Conference in San Diego, with several company representatives on hand to demonstrate and pitch Amazon Business as a useful purchasing solution for senior living providers.
Amazon Business, which launched in 2015, is “simply nothing more than a unique type of account that allows you to access the Amazon Business marketplace,” Aimee Corso, healthcare marketing lead at Amazon Business, said during a presentation at Argentum.
Through Amazon Business, Corso explained, senior housing communities can order various products and supplies that they may already be ordering through an employee’s personal Amazon account. With Amazon Business, though, communities can use analytic tools to evaluate, track and manage their spend, and the platform provides an “easy way” to implement any purchasing and procurement policies at a particular community.
Corso also pitched Amazon Business as a great tool to have for companies that want to recruit and retain young talent.
“Newer generation folks come in with different expectations,” she said, citing millennials who want to order very specific products online, and then receive them in two days or less.
“That level of expectation does translate into the business environment… Our ability to recruit and retain talent and young professionals in the industry is important,” Corso said.
As of summer 2017, Amazon Business had about 1 million customers. This figure includes health care and senior living customers, though a company representative said Amazon does not publicly break down its customer base by specific industry.
Amazon Business is likely far from the last foray Amazon will make into the senior housing world. In fact, interested parties should stay tuned for future Amazon announcements related to senior housing in the coming months, Chris Buker, senior business development leader for Amazon Smart Home Services, told Senior Housing News.
Through its technology, Amazon has already made its way into many senior housing communities. Some senior housing providers have dipped their toes into voice-command technology, including Amazon’s Alexa. Other providers, like Glendale, California-based Front Porch, have completed pilots that demonstrated residents’ enthusiasm about the device.
Still, Amazon is not without its critics in the senior housing space. Moulay Elalamy, vice president of information technology at Waltham, Massachusetts-based Benchmark Senior Living, for instance, has qualms about Amazon Echo devices being used by senior housing residents.
“Amazon is a commercial platform. They want to sell you things,” Elalamy recently said. “The very essence of Amazon is not making seniors’ lives better or taking care of them, it’s just selling them things. It’s a fundamental issue that I have with them versus Google.”
Written by Mary Kate Nelson