Office Depot, the well-known American office supplies retailer, is joining forces with China’s Alibaba Group. Alibaba.com will create a new online destination to access the business’s network and serve the needs of small and medium businesses (SMBs) in the United States. The goal is to improve cross-border distribution and shorten delivery times.
“As a trusted partner to millions of businesses, our customers tell us they want more choice in the market and need an expanded set of products and services to help their businesses grow. We believe our collaboration with Alibaba.com is exactly what they are asking for,” said Gerry Smith, CEO of Office Depot, Inc.
Through partnering up with Alibaba, Office Depot hopes to boost sales amid severe competition from e-commerce giant Amazon. Rather than solely relying on selling office supplies, the U.S. retailer is now focusing on selling business services to its customers.
The benefits of the deal are mutual with both parties benefiting from the partnership. Alibaba will gain access to 10 million business customers and 1,800 sales agents, and allow smaller businesses to connect with Alibaba.com’s global network of over 150,000 suppliers.
“With Office Depot, we will be able to offer SMBs more choice, greater access, and further opportunities to grow.” John Caplan, head of North America B2B Alibaba Group, said in a statement “We’ll accomplish this by leveraging Office Depot’s local relationships, capabilities, and expertise alongside Alibaba’s global platform, technologies, and proven marketplace model. Together, we see great opportunities to empower our customers and help them tap into the $23.9 trillion global B2B e-commerce market.”