Office Depot and Alibaba.com partner to create a B2B marketplace for SMBs

By Dale Benton
Office Depot and Alibaba.com have entered into a strategic partnership designed to “change how US small businesses do business”. The two companies...

Office Depot and Alibaba.com have entered into a strategic partnership designed to “change how US small businesses do business”.

The two companies announced the collaboration in a joint statement and will look to tap into the US $23.9trn global B2B e-commerce market. As part of its initial phase, the two companies will provide a co-branded, online B2B destination that will offer exclusive discounts to some of the most essential products and services for small-and medium-sized businesses (SMBs).

“Leveraging Office Depot’s trusted brand, local presence, and national distribution network with Alibaba’s global supplier network and well-known capabilities in serving SMBs, 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,” said Office Depot CEO Gerry Smith.

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Together, the two companies will connect 10mn US business customers, a supplier network that can access close to 99% of US businesses and more than 150,000 global suppliers and manufacturers. During its initial launch, “Office Depot on Alibaba.com” has been created to give US SMBs access to Alibaba.com’s global supplier network and product catalogue. The collaboration will also offer advanced sales and US-based customer support and drive SMB adoption of platforms and services such as online and offline advertising and in-store signage.

Following its initial launch, the two companies will look to add cross-border and local logistics services to its offering, leveraging a network of more than 1,000 private trucks, 9mn square feet of distribution and fulfilment capacity and over 1,000 retail locations.

“If you’re a business in Detroit, we can help you reach customers in Los Angeles or New York or Miami, reach customers in Mexico City or Toronto or, frankly, around the world because ours is a global platform with both global supply and global demand,” said John Caplan, head of North America B2B at Alibaba Group. “With collaborations like this one, we will be able to offer SMBs more choice, greater access, and further opportunities to grow,” Caplan said. “We’ll accomplish this by leveraging Office Depot’s local relationships, capabilities and expertise alongside Alibaba’s global platform, technologies, and proven marketplace model. Businesses no longer need to choose between local and global, or online vs. offline—it’s all part of one experience.”

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