Alibaba.com, the B2B e-commerce platform of Alibaba Group, is the latest online giant to offer new services to small business, in an effort to expand the category’s e-commerce activity. The three initiatives will address shipping, payments and trade shows for U.S. small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs), which have been considerably impacted by COVID-19.
Since entering the U.S. market in July 2019, Alibaba.com’s platform has seen gross merchandise value (GMV) increase by over 85%, and the U.S. has become its fastest-growing market for both new buyers and sellers. As one of the largest B2B e-commerce marketplaces in the world, Alibaba.com has a large existing infrastructure that it will now extend to SMBs.
“Doing business online is the bridge for American small businesses through this crisis and into the next decade,” said John Caplan, president of North America and Europe for Alibaba.com. “We are accelerating our transformation to provide the critical tools required for growth: access to supply and demand, shipping and logistics, and working capital. Ultimately, our goal is to give SMBs greater access to the $23.9 trillion global B2B e-commerce opportunity, which is six times the size of the B2C e-commerce market.”
Alibaba.com will address cash flow with its Payment Terms solution, which allows qualified buyers to delay payment for up to 60 days after their goods are shipped. Traditionally, payment has been requested upfront for cross-border commerce.
The Online Trade Shows USA solution will provide live-stream experiences for brands to showcase product to buyers, while in-person buying is restricted due to the pandemic.
Finally, SMBs will be able to utilize Alibaba.com Freight for their shipping needs. The average order size for Freight is $2,000 and the service will extend bulk shipping support to companies, powered by digital freight marketplace Freightos. This digital platform lets SMBs compare, book, manage and track ocean and air freight in real time, replacing the analog systems that many businesses still rely on for cross-border shipping.