Alibaba.com is Alibaba Group’s International B2B platform is more than just a marketplace but focuses on bridging the gap between supply and demand across close and distant countries.
How does Alibaba.com differ from the others?
Alibaba.com looks like a marketplace to most companies, but it is actually very different from other online platforms dedicated to B2B sales due to two main reasons:
- The first, ice-break contact between buyers and sellers happens online, while the actual negotiation between the parts take place in a “traditional”, direct way, to foster mutual discussion.
- There is no fee related to sales volumes, but a subscription fee defined at the registration of the seller on to the platform. The two subscription options given by Alibaba.com differ only on the Keyword Adv sum pre-charged on the Seller’s account and a dedicated account manager.
Alibaba.com works just like a trade fair, with buyers visiting sellers’ at their exhibition booths. These booths are represented in the platform by mini sites, built in landing pages personal to each seller account that can be customized and personalized with information on products, certifications, and all contents useful to make a great first impression on potential business partners.
Sellers will have to put close attention to the design of their mini site product pages as well, including commercial information proper to any B2B platform, such as MOQ and price range to generate business connections
How do Sellers & Buyers come together?
On Alibaba.com business connections and interactions between buyers and sellers can happen in two ways:
- Product search: buyers can search for products on the platform through keywords, just like they would do on Google. In this case, suppliers must be very careful on optimizing their mini site and offers in terms of SEO to achieve a better standing in the research results.
- Announcement: when buyers have already a clear idea of what they are looking for, they will publish specific requests within the platform. In this case, Sellers will have to act fast and send a quotation that best represents the needs of the buyer.
These two different interaction methods correspond to two different set of skills and resources from the Seller’s part: on one hand digital marketing, for SEO and product page optimization, as well as investments in adv, on the other, the personal communication skills of the Seller in perceiving, creating, and nurturing fruitful business connections, as well as creating trust with the buyers online.
Is this platform right for your business?
Alibaba.com serves many industries and product categories, especially Food & Beverage, Agriculture, Beauty & Personal Care and Apparel, and offers market access to a huge number of countries given to the wide array of buyers present on platform.
As of today, the platform goal is just to help companies from around the world to come together and generate business opportunities. For this reason, it functions more like a trade fair rather than a marketplace, leaving not only negotiations to the companies but also complete management of the operations necessary to enable international trade, such as logistics and payments.
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