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Flash Report

Alibaba Forms Strategic Collaboration with Office Depot to Serve US Businesses

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Coresight Research

Key Points

  • Alibaba Group’s business-to-business (B2B) trading platform Alibaba.com announced a strategic collaboration with the US business services and supplies company Office Depot.
  • The collaboration will provide US entrepreneurs and business owners with access to a single online destination to access one of the world’s largest catalogs of goods and services across all product categories.
  • The move helps Alibaba to enter the US market, enables Office Depot to better serve its clients, and empowers US small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) to grow by tapping into the global B2B e-commerce market, valued at $23.9 trillion.

Alibaba’s B2B trading platform Alibaba.com announced a strategic alliance with US business services and supplies company Office Depot. Alibaba will gain access to Office Depot’s large network of distributors and 10 million small business customer base, while Office Depot will gain access to Alibaba’s global network of 150,000 suppliers – dramatically expanding its product offering.

Office Depot recognizes that its small business customers want greater variety of products so they can find everything they need in one location, and rapid delivery. During the initial launch period, the companies are focusing on the following areas:

  • A new cobranded online destination: Office Depot and Alibaba.com have launched a new online destination so Office Depot customers can access Alibaba’s global supplier network, greatly increasing product selection, and offering exclusive online and in-store deals.
  • Driving SMB adoption: Office Depot is using both online and offline marketing to reach its more than 10 million US business customers, while Alibaba.com is focusing the promotional firepower of its one-month online promotional event called March Expo to similarly drive engagement with US SMBs online, in Office Depot and OfficeMax stores.
  • Enhanced sales and US-based customer support: Office Depot’s 1,800 sales people are also marketing the new service offering to SMB customers. Alibaba’s US-based team is also working with Office Depot staff to offer customers local support and a direct line to sourcing experts who can help them navigate Alibaba’s global supplier base.

After an initial launch period, Office Depot and Alibaba will expand the alliance to develop additional business customer offerings, including:

  • Faster, more transparent and cost-effective distribution and fulfillment: The companies intend to improve cross-border distribution and fulfillment for US SMBs. The companies say this will shorten delivery times by connecting Alibaba’s global logistics capabilities with Office Depot’s integrated B2B supply chain and distribution network.
  • A new sales channel for US SMBs: Over time, the companies intend to help US SMBs sell products to buyers in the US and around the world through Alibaba.com.

Key Insights

This deal leverages the companies’ respective strengths to strengthen their service offering for US SMBs. Office Depot can provide more choices in the market and an expanded set of products and services to its customers, leveraging Alibaba’s global network of over 150,000 suppliers, vast catalog of product listings and manufacturing capabilities, and an end-to-end technology platform that gives SMBs a range of tools to grow their businesses.

Alibaba will leverage Office Depot’s trusted brand, local presence, and national supply chain distribution network to reach Office Depot’s more than 10 million SMB customers to gain a foothold in the US B2B E-commerce market.

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