As U.S. small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) try to meet the challenges of the coronavirus pandemic, Alibaba.com, one of the world’s largest B2B e-commerce marketplaces and a business unit of Alibaba Group, unveiled three new products and services on Tuesday to help these businesses advance their efforts to digitize and pivot online.
The products and services include Alibaba.com Freight to help these SMBs secure ocean and air shipping for their orders, Alibaba.com Payment Terms to provide cash flow control and Alibaba.com Online Trade Shows USA to connect U.S. manufacturers and wholesalers with business buyers in a live online format.
“Doing business online is the bridge for American small businesses through this crisis and into the next decade,” John Caplan, president of North America and Europe of Alibaba.com, said.
“We are accelerating our transformation to get both sellers and buyers quickly set up for success and provide the critical tools and services that are required for growth–access to supply and demand, shipping and logistics, and working capital,” he added, “Ultimately, our goal is to give SMBs even greater access to the $23.9 trillion global B2B ecommerce opportunity, which is six times the size of the B2C e-commerce market.”
Noting that maintaining cash flow and ensuring cash on hand have become even more critical for SMBs during the pandemic, the company said. Alibaba.com Payment Terms is the first-ever trade financing solution embedded directly into a cross-border B2B e-commerce marketplace, allowing qualified buyers to order goods and pay for them up to 60 days after they are shipped.
Prior, most cross-border trade between small businesses required full payment upfront. This meant small businesses could not benefit from the global supply chain financing programs that their larger competitors frequently enjoyed. Alibaba.com Payment Terms addresses this problem and gives qualified SMBs an additional way to stay competitive by helping to alleviate cash-flow pressures.
Payment Terms joins Alibaba.com’s suite of financial solutions that provide business buyers the ability to preserve cash for longer while funding their inventory costs.
With an average order size of $2,000, Alibaba.com shipments involve containers and pallets, not parcels and envelopes. The newly launched Alibaba.com Freight, powered by digital freight marketplace Freightos, helps SMBs simplify arranging their bulk shipments with the ability to instantly compare, book, manage and track ocean and air freight in real time online.
According to Alibaba research, trade shows have historically been the most important way for sellers to meet and acquire new customers, and business buyers have benefited by using them to explore new products and suppliers. COVID-19 has drastically limited this critical channel for trade.
In response, Alibaba.com is launching Online Trade Shows USA, a series of category-specific, livestreaming experiences designed to convene quality buyers and sellers to meet and transact in real-time over a preset period of days. These events showcasing U.S.-based manufacturers and wholesalers are part of Alibaba.com’s global online trade show initiative of over 20 shows in the next 120 days to bring the world’s SMBs together over virtual show floors.
These events feature agendas including keynotes from industry leaders, as well as top U.S. suppliers promoting their products to a select audience of verified business buyers. U.S.-based manufacturers and wholesalers are able to showcase their stories, capabilities and products as a way to promote their business, meet new prospects and drive sales during this transition to digital-first trade. Buyers who attend the events can interact and ask questions of the suppliers, schedule one-on-one sessions and place orders through the platform.
“With the disruption of COVID-19, the next era in global trade starts today, from home and online,” Caplan said. “The grit, resilience and needs of American small businesses who face extraordinary challenges right now have inspired and motivate us to re-imagine the trade show experience for our customers. Alibaba.com Online Trade Shows USA will showcase the innovative products and capabilities of U.S. small businesses and connect them to our rapidly expanding community of more than 10 million global buyers.”
The first live event will run from July 7-10, with the supplements & nutrition category. Alibaba.com is hosting the event in partnership with the USA CBD Expo, the nation’s largest CBD industry event, and the United Natural Products Alliance (UNPA).
Additional U.S. shows will take place over the coming months for a variety of categories, including food & beverage, agriculture, and beauty & personal Care.