Alibaba Challenges Amazon For B2B Customers

In a challenge to Amazon and its business-to-business operations, Alibaba.com has opened its platform to permit companies in the United States to sell their products to millions of Alibaba.com buyers in the U.S. and around the globe, with special emphasis on B2B enterprises.

The retailer has targeted small and medium-sized businesses in the U.S. for participation, especially manufacturers, wholesalers and distributors. Those companies can better access the $23.9 trillion global B2B e-commerce market through its platform, according to Alibaba, an opportunity that is six times larger than the global B2C virtual market. Alibaba also is launching an enhanced ecosystem of participants including anchor sellers and B2B service providers who share Alibaba’s mission to make it easier for small and medium sized businesses.

Alibaba has been increasingly active in the U.S. The company announced a strategic collaboration with Office Depot in March and, now, the addition of Robinson Fresh, a division of produce supplier C.H. Robinson. The goal of the Alibaba collaboration with Office Depot on Alibaba.com is to empower U.S. small business growth through participation in the global B2B e-commerce marketplace. The initiative includes the launch of Office Depot on Alibaba.com.

To help U.S. businesses access the B2B e-commerce opportunity, Alibaba.com is co-producing a series of Build Up workshops and webinars with local chambers of commerce and B2B organizations across the country, including SCORE, a non-profit network of volunteer, expert business mentors.

Among the features Alibaba is offering U.S. businesses:

  • Streamlined ability to build and manage a single virtual store on the global Alibaba.com platform.
  • Valuable transaction capabilities, including online payment across the U.S. except Nevada and New York.
  • CRM and communications tools to facilitate direct ownership of customer relationships.
  • Enhanced digital marketing tools to help reach targeted B2B sectors.
  • The option to access Alibaba’s U.S.-based Seller Success team.

For B2B purchasers, Alibaba will provide access to a growing number of U.S.-based supplier options on the us.alibaba.com landing page in addition to thousands of global suppliers and expanded product selection ranging from ready-to-ship to fully customized. It also will offer a more robust inquiry function enabling buyers to begin purchasing discussions as well as improved product and supplier search capability to allow buyers to quickly identify merchandise that best fits their needs.

“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 U.S. small and medium sized business companies to compete and succeed in today’s global marketplace.”