US small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) refuse to give up in the face of adversity. Despite the various challenges brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic — forced business closures, supply chain disruptions, lack of cash flow, and cancelled networking events — US SMBs continue to fight and adapt by digitizing their operations and pivoting online. Use of ecommerce has seen a positive growth rate over the past few years, but according to the "Post COVID-19 global consumer market outlook and supply chain reshaping" by Kearney in May 2020, ecommerce acceptance has substantially increased in just the past two months.
"Doing business online is the bridge for American small businesses through this crisis and into the next decade," said John Caplan, President of North America and Europe B2B at Alibaba.com. "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."
To better serve the US SMBs looking to transform and digitize, Alibaba.com unveiled three new products and services this past week:
- Alibaba.com Freight to enable US SMBs to secure ocean and air shipping for their orders
- Alibaba.com Payment Terms to provide cash flow control
- Alibaba.com Online Trade Shows USA to connect US manufacturers and wholesalers with business buyers in an engaging and live online format
Alibaba.com Freight — a shockingly simple built-in ocean and air shipping solution
With an average order of US $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. It effectively modernizes the analog, opaque, and historically slow process for arranging cross-border logistics.
It's easy for business buyers with little trade and ecommerce experience to get confused by industry jargon and incoterms, internationally recognized instructions used in the global transportation of goods. Unknowingly, business buyers agree to incoterms determined by sellers that don't meet their needs. John Duman, Owner of CoreUS, experienced this firsthand when his goods got stuck at the port and he had to figure out what went wrong. He then turned to Alibaba.com Freight where he had control and was able to arrange his own shipping, on his own terms.
Alibaba.com Payment Terms — a powerful digitized trade finance solution
Maintaining cash flow and ensuring cash on hand is always top of mind for SMBs, but it has become even more critical during the pandemic. Positive cash flow is essential for businesses to survive.
Typically, the vast majority of cross-border trade between SMBs requires full payment upfront. These business owners could not benefit from the global supply chain financing programs that their larger competitors frequently enjoy. Alibaba.com Payment Terms alleviates some of the cash flow pressures by allowing qualified buyers to order goods and pay for them up to 60 days after they are shipped. Alibaba.com buyer Necia Boston of B.A.A.B.S. Beauty has used the new solution to free up cash flow and get ready for her busy season.
Alibaba.com Online Trade Shows USA — live curated connections between business buyers and sellers
Trade shows have historically been the number one way for sellers to meet new customers and business buyers to explore new products. The COVID-19 pandemic has brought this channel for trade to a complete stop. To continue fueling these interactions, Alibaba.com is launching Online Trade Shows USA, a series of category-specific, live streaming experiences designed to bring quality buyers and sellers together. The events will showcase US-based manufacturers and wholesalers from around the world, bringing global SMBs together over virtual show floors.
The entire sourcing process will accelerate by taking trade shows online. Physical trade shows required a longer sales cycle — from signing up for the event, to browsing printed brochures, to contacting a salesperson to place an order. In comparison, buyers can immediately join the live streaming at online trade shows, browse and compare quotes, visualize the products, and the place orders all online.
The Alibaba.com Online Trade Shows USA feature insightful keynotes from industry leaders as well as top US sellers promoting their products to a select audience of verified business buyers. The first live event exclusively designed to showcase US businesses will run from July 7-10, 2020 with the Supplements & Nutrition category.
With the disruption of COVID-19, US SMBs are facing extraordinary challenges right now. But with these challenges comes the next era in global trade. In response to these market needs, Alibaba.com has developed solutions designed to help these businesses accelerate their digitization with integrated freight, payments, and marketing solutions. The Alibaba.com platform is here to make it easy to do business anywhere and at any time.
Read more recent coverage about our announcement:
- Fortune: Alibaba adds new services to court more U.S. small businesses
- Business Insider: E-commerce giant Alibaba expands its US presence
- MarketWatch: Alibaba adds more digital features for B2B customers as COVID-19 boosts demand for online connections
- American Banker: Alibaba launches interest-free financing for US small business
- FreightWaves: Alibaba.com launches North American freight matching platform
- TearSheet: Alibaba introduces Payment Terms, free trade financing for SMBs
- TechCrunch: Alibaba adds financing tools and online trade shows for US merchants
- Supply Chain Dive: Alibaba integrates freight procurement into B2B e-commerce site
- PaymentsJournal: Alibaba Announces New Products and Services Targeting SMBs
- WWD: Alibaba Rolls Out Tools for U.S. Small and Medium-sized Businesses
- Furniture Today: Alibaba.com adds 3 new ways for businesses to compete online
- Fintech Finance: Payment terms, shipping and online trade shows on Alibaba.com: three new ways U.S. businesses are accelerating digitalization amid pandemic
- Digital Commerce 360: Alibaba launches series of 20 online trade shows
Watch our fireside chat with Daniel Rosenfield, CEO of Totally Products, and Diego Bavaro, Owner and Founder of Angry Supplements, as they showcase their supplement products and discuss how to find new customers through digital channels. You can view our other fireside chats here.
Know your incoterms so you negotiate on a contract that best suits your needs.