If you’re a U.S. based business that is looking to expand sales to local, national, and/or global audiences, then launching an Alibaba marketing strategy is something you need to investigate immediately. Launched in 1999, Alibaba.com has become the leading B2B marketplace and eCommerce platform designed for businesses around the world to sell, trade, and transact with business buyers.
Alibaba.com has been known by many in the business community as the China-based platform that’s great to connect with international factories and suppliers. While this is true, there’s also been a misunderstanding about Alibaba and the power that they offer U.S. businesses looking to do B2B trade with both local and global audiences alike. As it stands today, here is a statistic that outlines the opportunity that’s being presented to U.S. businesses:
Fact: Only 1% of the sellers are from the U.S., but 35% of the buyers are from the U.S.
When Alibaba surveyed their top U.S. buyers (business buyers who transact more than $500,000 per year through the platform) they said their largest need was for there to be more sellers and suppliers from the United States. So, as you can see, the opportunity is there and any business who takes advantage of this opportunity, can potentially experience tremendous growth in the years to come. Imagine if you got involved with Amazon 10 or 15 years ago. Where would you be today if you were one of the first Amazon sellers in your industry?
Alibaba is the world’s leading business-to-business platform for wholesale trade, with millions of buyers and suppliers from around the world. While Alibaba has been an incredible resource for businesses looking to source supplies from overseas, more and more US-based businesses are looking to work with US-based suppliers on the platform, rather than locating an international-based counterpart.
The #1 request from Alibaba’s Top Buyers is: “More Products Listed by US Companies”.
This is especially true in the platform’s top categories: Food & Beverage, Agriculture, Beauty & Personal Care, Fashion & Apparel, Consumer Electronics, Vehicles & Accessories, Office & School Supplies, Health & Medical, Minerals & Metallurgy, Home & Garden, Health & Wellness, and Sports & Entertainment
Unfortunately for these buyers, less than 1% of sellers are from the USA. Considering Alibaba’s current network of over 10,000,000 active buyers, the opportunity for U.S. manufactures and suppliers to gain U.S. B2B customers is huge.
Of course, there are many myths being circulated around about Alibaba. As a digital agency who helps clients get listed, advertise, and transact with local, national, and global businesses with great success, I’m here to debunk some of those myths and provide the facts and truths around what is really going on.
eCommerce is just for B2C
The truth is, global B2B eCommerce sales is six times larger than B2C. As consumers ourselves, we think business-to-consumer eCommerce is the end all be all. But the truth is, business-to-business eCommerce continues to rise at a faster rate globally. In the traditional B2B world, manufacturers sell to distributors, who sell to retailers, who sell to the end-customer. But now, because of technological enhancements and the global expansion in the eCommerce supply chain, manufactures are selling direct to the consumer and cutting out the middleman, bringing greater competition, pricing, and profitability to the B2B landscape.
Alibaba is here to sell to businesses and consumers at the same time
From what we’ve seen by leveraging an Alibaba marketing strategy for our clients, Alibaba.com is really your business ally. When it comes to helping sellers engage with and transact with other businesses in the U.S., Alibaba helps U.S. businesses grow on their own terms. Their interests are aligned with those of their customers, and Alibaba does not charge any commissions on product sales like Amazon and other leading marketplaces.
Cross-border trade is complex, dangerous, and not worth it
It doesn’t have to be. With technology and tools built into the platform, Alibaba.com helps reduce barriers related to language and distance, helping buyers and sellers build trust with one another on a global scale.
Selling on Alibaba.com is just selling to Asian or International Buyers
Alibaba.com is a leading global B2B ecommerce marketplace. There are more than 10M active business buyers from all corners of the world. To reiterate the fact outlined above, 35% of the buyers are from the United States, and that percentage is growing every year, but only 1% of the sellers are from the U.S. – so there’s a huge gap in serving a growing population of U.S. buyers. The largest buyers are requesting there be more U.S. sellers, so Alibaba has taken a proactive approach to engaging with a few top U.S. digital agencies, like our team at Hudson, and partnering with them to onboard more U.S. sellers to fulfill the growing demand on the platform. If you search on Alibaba for products in your industry, chances are you will find limited results from U.S. sellers. So, if you’re looking to take advantage of this opportunity and be one of the first in your space, the opportunity is now.
Someone will steal my IP
Alibaba.com takes IP protection seriously. In May 2019, the World Trademark Review named Alibaba Group the “Asia Pacific Team of the Year” for its work in IPR protection, making Alibaba the only Chinese company that has won the award to date. They are now taking this IP oversight and working to bring and support cross-border IP protection.
So now you might be asking, what does this really mean and how can Alibaba help my business? If you’re interested in understanding more about the opportunity, here are some of the benefits of listing your business on Alibaba.com:
Build your Brand
Building a custom online storefront is simple within Alibaba.com - no design or coding necessary.
Advertise and Find New Customers
Increase visibility to active buyers from the U.S. and abroad through an Alibaba marketing strategy that includes paid traﬃc, promotional events, and keyword optimization.
Partner with an Expert
Get US-based support from their short list of U.S. Agency Channel Partners to help optimize your store, list your products, run advertisements, and navigate new markets.
Own your Customers and Data
Interact with customers on your own terms and get insights to help you optimize your sales. Any customer acquired through Alibaba.com becomes your customer and you have access to their information, unlike the limited customer data offered by Amazon.
Improve your Margins
Pocket more on each sale with low transaction fees and zero commissions compared to the 15-30% industry standard on platforms like Amazon.com.
Capitalize on the Opportunity
List your products on Alibaba.com and gain access to 10M active buyers, 90+ countries and regions, and 300k daily product inquiries.
Of course, there are other B2B platforms out there but the difference between Alibaba and other marketplaces is as follows:
100% of your sales belong to you. Alibaba does not take a percentage of the transaction or sale. There’s an annual membership fee, a cost to run ads, but all transactions incur 0% in commission fees.
On your Terms
You own your customer relationships and data, to interact on your terms. Once you acquire a customer through Alibaba.com, you now gain access to their information and can market and advertise to them like you would any other customer outside of the Alibaba marketplace.
Built for B2B
Flexible product pricing, in line with common B2B practices. Other popular seller marketplaces, like Amazon, are not built around serving the B2B market. They might offer B2B pricing options, but in terms of simplifying your MOQs and offering different pricing tiers, this is not possible or easy to control like it is on Alibaba.
Alibaba is not a Wholesaler or Retailer
Alibaba.com does not sell products to compete with its sellers. If you’re a seller on Amazon and get frustrated when Amazon Basics launches new products in your space, this will never happen on Alibaba. The only competition you need to worry about are the companies who are already listed on the platform - you don’t have to compete with the platform itself.
No need to create multiple storefronts or join country-wide marketplaces. Receive global reach with one Alibaba storefront – simple and easy to target different regions locally, nationally, or across the world with one marketing strategy.
Alibaba B2B E-Commerce Strategies
With so many companies on Alibaba looking for U.S. products, the platform has seen a 145% growth in GMV (gross merchandise value) for current US-based sellers YoY (year-over-year). The growing trend is a positive sign that U.S. buyers are gaining more trust through the platform by transacting with fellow U.S. businesses.
The best B2B e-commerce selling strategies on Alibaba help position U.S. sellers in front of active buyers who are new to the brand. Having said that, popular U.S. brands are also seeing the value and listing with Alibaba. In the future, it will be like what’s happened on Amazon, and most brands will be listing on Alibaba out of necessity like is what has happened with the Amazon-effect. When becoming a new seller, it is best to partner with an expert to help find those new wholesale customers, run advertising campaigns, and optimize sales on your behalf.
Benefits of Working with an Alibaba B2B Expert
Targeting almost 200 countries and regions worldwide, Alibaba’s B2B e-commerce platform provides wholesale opportunities that can’t be matched by other B2C-focused sites. Alibaba is commonly referred to as the “Amazon of China,” but with the average transaction size of $5,000, this platform is for serious wholesale opportunities.
With a trained Alibaba Channel Partner, manufacturers and wholesalers find the U.S.-based marketing support needed to build a custom online storefront, list all your products, MOQs and pricing tiers, run successful advertising campaigns, and navigate Alibaba’s B2B e-commerce platform to build sales and even improve margins.
Alibaba is the world’s largest B2B online marketplace positioned in over 190 Countries. With 10 million active global buyers, 3.5 million active U.S. buyers, but only 1% of active U.S. sellers, the opportunity to tap into the growing list of buyers is tremendous. If you’re wondering about the size of transactions that happen through the platform, there is an average sales transaction of $5,000, which remember, Alibaba doesn’t take a % of the transaction like other competing product marketplaces.
When working with an agency partner like Hudson, Alibaba reports that sellers drive 40% more revenue. As Alibaba’s U.S. Channel Partner, Hudson brings you the digital marketing, branding, eCommerce solutions, and seller marketing strategies that you need to reach millions of new potential customers from across the country and around the world. Powered by the strategic insights of our team, we create eCommerce selling solutions that encompass both the creativity and technology that you need to stand out on the world’s leading B2B marketplace.
Contact us today to get started with your Alibaba B2B Selling Strategy Services.