Retailers Getting Into B2BCom
Yesterday Office Depot announced an intriguing partnership with the Asian eComm giant Alibaba. The idea behind the strategic initiative is simple. Alibaba will now provide back end fulfillment of orders from its 150,000 suppliers to Office Depot’s 10M US business customers. In the arrangement Office Depot will be able to leverage Alibaba’s free shipping, low prices and sprawling selection to improve its online B2Bcom offering.
Yesterday’s news helped Office Depot’s stock jump 11%, as investors pounced on the idea that Alibaba could provide OD with a competitive alternative to Amazon. While Amazon is dominant on the B2C side of eComm they’ve yet to organize a B2B specific offering. The hope is with Alibaba powering their back end, Office Depot will get a leg up in this sector.
I wouldn’t be surprised to see other business focused retailers (I’m look at you, Staples), try to run the same play. Stay tuned.