Alibaba.com is introducing new tools targeted specifically at U.S. merchants.
It sounds like the Chinese e-commerce giant has already been making inroads in the United States. John Caplan, the North American and European president of Alibaba.com (the B2B marketplace that serves as the core business of Alibaba Group), said at an online press briefing that the United States is Alibaba.com’s fastest-growing market — U.S. buyers on the platform have increased 70% year-over-year, while transactions involving U.S. businesses increased 100%.
The new features include Alibaba.com Payment Terms, which will allow buyers to wait up to 60 days before paying for goods that they’ve purchased. Alibaba is offering this financing in partnership with MSTS.
Caplan noted that previously, most cross-border commerce required upfront payments, which meant that “small businesses could not benefit from global supply chain.”
As an example, Alibaba pointed to Necia Boston of Greenville, N.C.-based B.A.A.B.S. Beauty, who said that beauty company’s finances are often tied up in inventory costs.
“With Alibaba.com Payment Terms, we’ll be able to keep our costs competitive with larger beauty brands, plan for our future product lines and stock up far in advance of the back to school and holiday seasons,” Boston said in a statement.
Alibaba is also announcing Alibaba.com Freight, which will allow merchants to compare, book and track ocean and air freight through a partnership with Freightos.
Lastly, Alibaba announced that it will be hosting a number of live-streamed, industry-specific trade shows through its new trade show hub.
There are 20 shows scheduled for the next 120 days, starting with an event focused on nutritional supplements. (In a memorably off-script moment during the call, a representative of a nutritional supplement company declared himself a “big fan of trade shows” but went on to note that they’re “the worst form of birth control.”)
“This is a massive opportunity for small businesses in America, and people are talking about this as a pivot in how small businesses connect and engage with one another,” Caplan said. “You’re not having to invest three days and thousands of dollars to travel.”