The Alibaba Group, with their international B2B marketplace Alibaba.com, is introducing new services that are set to help U.S. small and medium-sized business in the United States to conduct their business. After putting together a B2B e-commerce deal with Office Depot earlier in 2019, Alibaba.com is reaching out to millions of U.S. SMEs to help them buy and sell items and services.
With B2B marketplaces springing up all over the business world, this comes at no surprise. This move, together with an expansion of services from eBay Inc. and other marketplaces, Alibaba and others are not giving up the fight against Amazon Business. Amazon Business is showing increasing dominance in the world of B2B.
Amazon Business, launched in 2015, shared it had passed the $10 billion mark in annual sales, with industry analysts projecting sales of over $20 billion within the next 2 years. That's why other big players like Alibaba.com aren't just going to give away that sweet, sweet market share.
From a report by digitalcommerce360.com, John Caplan (head of North America B2B at Alibaba Group) had this to say: "Alibaba aims to empower entrepreneurs and help them succeed on their own terms. With 10 million active business buyers in over 190 countries and regions, we are reshaping B2B commerce by providing the tools and services needed for U.S. SMB companies to compete and succeed in today’s global marketplace.”
Some of the newly launched services on Alibaba.com won't be found over at Amazon Business. Tools for building direct relationships with their marketplace customers are way beyond Amazon Business and their control of the marketing relationships with customers on its e-commerce sites as to whether customers buy from it or from a third party seller.
Alibaba.com doesn't sell its own products like Amazon does. It was launched in 1999 as the first B2B e-commerce portal launched by China-based Alibaba Group. Alibaba now does most of its business through the retail marketplaces Tmall.com and Taobao.com. Combined, they generate $829.7 billion in gross merchandise value of transactions for the year ending on 31 March 2019.
Alibaba Meets Office Depot, Robinson Fresh and C.H. Robinson
Building on an agreement earlier this year with Office Depot, Alibaba.com will be able to sell the whole catalogue of office supplies from Office Depot. Also included with the deal, Alibaba gets distribution, fulfillment and a delivery network of more than 1,000 trucks. These trucks will be available to Alibaba.com sellers throughout the world so they can deliver to U.S. customers.
Alibaba.com is also teaming up with Robinson Fresh and C.H, Robinson in a similar deal, calling both of these companies "anchor sellers". It hasn't been stated yet if Robinson Fresh or C.H. Robinson would provide fulfillment or delivery services.
Many testimonials from SMEs have been shared in the big announcement also. These include Honey Baby Naturals (hair care products for multi-racial families), Vassilaros & Sons (a coffee wholesaler), Gett Clean (a designer and manufacturer of cleaning products and Cabello Coutoure (a designer and retailer of apparel and accessories in coordinated sets for families).
The co-founder of New York-based Gett Clean, Evan Gettinger said: “We recognized the opportunity to expedite global growth through Alibaba.com early on. With the new combination of platform tools available and the addition of major, name-brand sellers, we expect a faster path to our growth targets.”