eBay rebuffed Alibaba in 2006 despite the fact many of its sellers used the Chinese platform to source the products they sold on eBay. Some believe that was a mistake on eBay’s part.
Now Alibaba has found a new channel to attract US businesses and gain sales leads: Office Depot, which has approximately 1,350 Office Depot and OfficeMax office-supplies retail locations.
In covering the news of the Alibaba-Office Depot collaboration announced today, the Associated Press said Office Depot sees the deal as furthering its goal of becoming more of one-stop shop for businesses. “For example, a toy manufacturer that was buying office supplies from Office Depot could now be steered by Office Depot to Alibaba.com to get access to the most cost-effective producers of toy parts that it’s looking for. It can also help them get quick access to loans.”
The deal will help familiarize US businesses with Alibaba as a supplier, and eventually as a marketplace on which to sell their goods in the US and around the world.
To start, the companies launched a new co-branded online destination, Office Depot on Alibaba.com. In its announcement, the companies said, “Alibaba.com will bring its global network of over 150,000 suppliers, a vast catalog of product listings and manufacturing capabilities, and an end-to-end technology platform that provides SMBs with a range of tools and services to grow their businesses.”
Here are two of the various ways the companies will work together:
- “Members of Office Depot’s sales force are reaching out to a number of relevant SMBs – leveraging their relationships with over 10 million U.S. business customers – to introduce them to the benefits of the products and services the companies are providing.”
- “Alibaba.com’s US-based team is also working with Office Depot’s trusted customer support staff to provide US business customers with local support and a direct line to sourcing experts who will help them engage with Alibaba.com’s global supplier base.”
Note that visiting the special landing page Alibaba set up for Office Depot customers, you can find your way to some interesting information about Alibaba China-to-US shipping services.
Alibaba offers a premium service called Alibaba.com Parcels: Global shipping from China with delivery in 3-5 business days; and a standard service called Alibaba.com Air Express: Shipping from China to the US with delivery in 5-7 business days.
You can find the full announcement on the OfficeDepot.com website.