Chinese e-commerce giant, Alibaba.com is opening its platform to manufacturers, wholesalers and distributors in the US to help them access the USD 23.9 trillion global B2B e-commerce market.
The move enables Alibaba, which until now was China-focused on the supplier side, to further compete with global e-commerce giants, specifically Amazon.
Alibaba.com was originally created to connect suppliers in China with buyers in overseas markets, largely those in the US. But with its new programme aimed at US small and medium businesses (SMBs) these companies will now also be able to sell on the platform.
That newly opened channel, along with a new network of industry partners and a nationwide tour to meet with business owners to raise awareness about Alibaba.com, is part of a broader push to enable what Alibaba says are 30 million SMBs in the US to better sell and source by using the site.
“Alibaba aims to empower entrepreneurs and help them succeed on their own terms,” said John Caplan, head of North America B2B at Alibaba Group.
“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 US SMB companies to compete and succeed in today’s global marketplace.”
Alibaba.com, Alibaba Group’s original business, launched in 1999. The site serves 10 million active buyers on the platform from over 190 countries and regions, as well as about 150,000 sellers.
Alibaba.com has launched a series of new features to support the onboarding and marketing efforts of new US suppliers. The company says these sellers will get an easy-to-use interface for building and managing a digital store on the platform, CRM and communications tools for customer-relationship management and digital-marketing tools to target likely customers, as well as online payments from 25 July. Alibaba.com has also created what it calls a Customer Success team in the US to support SMBs as they join the platform.
Alibaba highlights that consumers also benefit from the move, as more sellers arrive on the platform buyers get greater choice across a range of categories for their sourcing needs, including both ready-to-ship and customised goods.
“That will boost the platform’s overall value proposition while also attracting and benefiting more SMBs globally,” Alibaba.com says.
To further support the entry of US SMBs on the platform, Alibaba.com says it is building an ecosystem of industry partners to provide the goods and services that these businesses need to succeed in global trade.
The ecosystem consists of “anchor sellers,” such as Office Depot and Robinson Fresh, the produce division of logistics company C.H. Robinson, both of which launched stores on Alibaba.com last week. “The two companies, their name recognition and extensive product inventories will bring increased in traffic to the site, which in turn should serve to drive traffic to smaller sellers as well,” Alibaba adds.