Alibaba.com has launched its latest initiative to support B2B businesses in the U.S., creating a series of weekly events that will offer them the tools and skills necessary to grow both at home and overseas.
With the global B2B e-commerce market at $23.9 trillion and growing, Alibaba’s B2B online marketplace said that it wants the new initiative – called B2B Tuesday – to position these businesses to capture the expansion in that market and give them the resources they need to navigate what is a slow but steady move toward more digital operations in the sector.
“There is an enormous opportunity for U.S. small businesses to digitize and grow their businesses globally with ease,” said John Caplan, head of North America B2B at Alibaba Group. “B2B Tuesday is one more example of how Alibaba.com is here to help.”
WATCH: Alibaba.com Launches B2B Tuesday
The first B2B Tuesday event kicks off today with a Build Up open-house workshop at Alibaba.com’s New York office, where participants will have a chance to network and talk with leaders from the cross-border e-commerce platform about ways to grow their businesses online. The event also features a panel discussion with Chad Michael, chief technology officer of LTA International – which made $1.4 million in sales on Alibaba.com in 2019 – and Owen Franklin, founder and CEO of Blue Summit Supplies, who has expanded his margins and international supplier base by buying online.
The weekly initiative will continue with activities such as educational videos, hands-on training, sharing of success stories, in-person events, platform enhancements, new partnerships and more. Also at the B2B Tuesday events, Alibaba.com will share insights and analysis from its inaugural U.S. Small and Medium Business (SMB) Confidence Survey, which sampled 5,000 small to medium-sized businesses working in the sector. According to the research, conducted by independent research firm Lucid, decision-makers at 62% of U.S.-based B2B companies were optimistic about the economy and opportunities for growth. Other key findings from the survey showed that:
- 72%of sellers expected increased revenue and 60% of buyers expected increased procurement budgets.
- 57% made hires to support their online B2B business; among the 46% of companies that expected online growth over the next year, a further 80% planned to hire at least one employee as a result of their online activity.
- While email and web order forms still accounted for most of the online activity conducted by those surveyed, 54% of companies recognized the impact that e-commerce platforms such as Alibaba.com could have on their businesses.
- Sellers cited the top advantages of selling online as: increased customer reach (59%), finding customers more quickly (47%) and higher profit margins (44%).
- Buyers cited the top benefits of online sourcing as: finding suppliers more quickly (53%), reduced need for travel (44%), greater purchasing power (38%) and higher profit margins (38%).
- U.S. B2B businesses are globalizing, with 59% of companies surveyed reporting doing some cross-border trade.
While most of the companies surveyed have adopted digital sales and sourcing only within the last five years, Caplan said, they’ve rapidly embraced online tools and modes of business. According to the report, nine out of 10 companies now conduct at least some of their businesses online.
“Strong small business confidence among American business owners and entrepreneurs, plus the growth from the digitizing of their business and doing business globally means the future is bright for U.S. small businesses,” said Caplan. “With hundreds of events in the pipeline, we are eager to have face-to-face conversations to share our understanding of the global B2B e-commerce opportunity and provide real, hands-on support from Alibaba.com experts in accessing growth globally online.”