What are the purchasing needs of SME businesses?

Behavioural Insight


Electronic commerce and cloud computing company

The Challenge

To understand how procurement departments in different sized businesses in Germany managed their purchases and transactions in local and global markets. The study needed to provide key comparisons between the United States and Germany before launching in overseas EU markets.


An ethnographic research study explored the working practices of 10 businesses ranging from start-ups to SMEs. The team observed, recorded and analysed the entire procurement cycle from receiving payments, managing invoicing, VAT, to delivery. Pain points and workflow workarounds were identified and mapped out with the filmed material bringing to life working practices in each location.


The insights uncovered opportunities to develop new features on the Amazon Business platform to help accounts payable better manage invoicing and VAT for international suppliers.