Alibaba and Office Depot have teamed up to sell Chinese goods to small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) growth.
The partnership aims to leverage the companies’ respective strengths to serve US SMEs. Office Depot’s will leverage a network of relationships with more than 10m US business customers, a dedicated sales force of approximately 1,800 sales professionals, a marketing demand engine that drives more than 450 million combined store, mobile and website visits annually, one of the largest ecommerce platforms in the US a robust supply chain network that can reach nearly 99% of US businesses with next day delivery, and approximately 1,350 Office Depot and OfficeMax retail locations. Alibaba.com will bring their global network of over 150,000 suppliers, a vast catalogue of product listings and manufacturing capabilities, and an end-to-end technology platform that provides SMEs with a range of tools and services to grow their businesses.
The collaboration will focus on several key areas:
A new co-branded online destination, “Office Depot on Alibaba.com”: Office Depot and Alibaba.com have launched a new online destination, that provides US SMEs access to Alibaba.com’s global supplier network, offering a wide product selection, as well as exclusive online and in-store offers for some of Office Depot’s best-in-class products and services.
Enhanced sales and US-based customer support: Members of Office Depot’s sales force are reaching out to a number of relevant SMEs – leveraging their relationships with over 10 million US business customers – to introduce them to the benefits of the products and services the companies are providing. Alibaba.com’s US-based team is also working with Office Depot’s trusted customer support staff to provide US business customers with local support and a direct line to sourcing experts who will help them engage with Alibaba.com’s global supplier base.
Driving SME adoption: Office Depot is leveraging their 33 years of experience in serving SMEs and using both online and offline marketing to reach their more than 10m US business customers and prospective customers. Alibaba.com is focusing the promotional firepower of their March Expo – a month-long online promotional event that helps SMEs discover new products, services, and business opportunities on Alibaba.com – as well as future marketing initiatives, to similarly drive engagement with US SMEs online and in Office Depot and OfficeMax stores.
After a successful initial launch period, Office Depot and Alibaba intend to expand their collaboration to develop the following additional business customer offerings:
Faster, more transparent and cost-effective distribution and fulfillment. The companies aim to improve the cross-border distribution and fulfilment they can offer US SMEs. This is expected to shorten delivery times by connecting Alibaba’s global logistics capabilities with Office Depot’s integrated B2B supply chain and distribution network of more than 1,000 private fleet trucks, 9 million square feet of distribution and fulfilment capacity, approximately 1,350 retail locations, and dozens of third-party logistics partners.
A new sales channel for US SMEs. Over time, the companies intend to help US SMEs sell their products to buyers in the US and around the world through Alibaba.com.
“Leveraging Office Depot’s trusted brand, local presence, and national distribution network with Alibaba’s global supplier network and well-known capabilities in serving SMEs, US businesses can now access a wide array of products and services through Office Depot and Alibaba.com’s collaboration, which will empower them to compete and thrive.”
– Gerry Smith, chief executive officer of Office Depot
“American SMEs – who account for 99.7% of all companies in the United States – need more ways to grow and compete in today’s economy and take advantage of the enormous opportunity in B2B e-commerce. Since our founding, Alibaba’s mission has been to make it easy to do business anywhere. With Office Depot, we will be able to offer SMEs more choice, greater access, and further opportunities to grow. We’ll accomplish this by leveraging Office Depot’s local relationships, capabilities, and expertise alongside Alibaba’s global platform, technologies, and proven marketplace model. Together, we see great opportunities to empower our customers and help them tap into the $23.9 trillion global B2B e-commerce market.”
-John Caplan, head of North America B2B at Alibaba Group