Office Depot is launching a co-branded e-commerce website in collaboration with Alibaba Group Holdings Ltd as it is looking for ways to capture the opportunities to sell its products to small and mid-sized businesses in the United States.
Though Alibaba is already in partnership with U.S. companies like Kroger to provide its online platform Tmall.com to sell their products in Chinese market, but the current deal with Office Depot will be its first business-to-business collaboration deal with a larger U.S. company, which will provide Chinese e-commerce giant an access to 1,800 sales agents and 10 million customers of the Office Depot.
Distribution network of Office Depot offers a next day delivery service in the United States and that network will also be available to Alibaba as an advantage, the companies said in a joint statement.
While customers of Office Depot will be getting access to 150,000 suppliers on Alibaba’s global network enabling them to choose from vast product options available but also help them to find reputed manufacturers to produce their desired goods.
A cutlery maker will be able to find a factory to make a specific design and further sell that product to retailers as well as restaurants across the globe through the platform of Alibaba.com, illustrated John Caplan, head of North America B2B at Alibaba Group.
Deal is aiming to reduce the delivery time as well as providing opportunities to small and medium business of the United States to sell their product outside the country using Alibaba.com platform.
Reducing its reliance upon the traditional business of providing office supplies, Office Depot is now focusing to provide its customers with business services to bolster its sales as it has been facing tougher competition from e-commerce giant Amazon.com Inc.
In the last two years, Office Depot saw its retails sales remained declining whereas sales from its B2B grew to be contributing largest share in company’s total revenue in 2018.