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B2B E-Commerce: Alibaba's Role
B2B e-commerce has been relatively disappointing over the past decade. With the dotcom boom, experts predicted the B2B e-commerce sector to skyrocket—with some estimates expecting a growth of $4 trillion by 2005. However, in 2014, the market is at a mere $500 billion. But why? With most merchants still ordering products and supplies from wholesale retailers with paper forms and checks, why is B2B e-commerce not booming? The answer may simply be that no one has found a system efficient enough yet. However, the arrival of Alibaba may just change that.
What is Alibaba?Alibaba is a Chinese e-commerce giant that is just making its way onto the global stage with a massive US initial public offering. Deemed one of the biggest and most successful US IPOs in history, Alibaba has acquired the tools it needs to challenge retailers like eBay and Amazon on the world stage. Describing what Alibaba does is a bit of a challenge. On one hand, the company functions like Amazon—it is the number one online resource for buying and selling goods in China. On the other hand, however, Alibaba has also delved into other arenas, such as its own email service, cloud-computing platforms, and more. While Alibaba dominates the e-commerce market in Asia, it has yet to make a significant impact in the United States or Europe.
What about B2B E-Commerce?One of the things Alibaba does extremely well is B2B e-commerce. It provides a platform for business owners in China to connect with wholesale retailers, factories and other distributors to find goods for their stores, all from one easy-to-use online source. It eliminates the need for lengthy paper order forms, wait times, and binding contracts that plague the B2B network today. The introduction of this new B2B e-commerce powerhouse could change the way businesses buy and sell merchandise from each other worldwide. While it seems Alibaba has no immediate desire to expand globally as of yet, it shows positive signs for B2B e-commerce as a whole. At the very least, it will prompt competitors and new start ups to provide a comparable service, giving the industry the boost that was expected ten years ago.
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About the Author
Dylan Freni is a copywriter at Instabill. He writes articles for the company’s nine websites, including three articles per week for the Instabill blog. Frequent topics include merchant services, payments industry news, e-commerce tips and merchant account how-tos.
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