Office Depot, the well-known American office supplies retailer, announced on Monday that it is joining hands with China’s Alibaba Group to launch a co-branded e-commerce website to serve the needs of small and medium businesses in the United States.
The partnership will ensure that Office Depot’s business customers will get access to Alibaba’s global network of over 150,000 suppliers to find more product options or a reputed manufacturer to produce their goods, Reuters reports.
The deal is aimed at shortening delivery time, besides giving small and medium US businesses opportunities to sell beyond the United States through Alibaba.com.
“This is a great catalyst for growth for small and medium businesses in the United States. We believe it is going to save them time, it is going to save them money,” Office Depot CEO Gerry Smith told Reuters.
As for Alibaba, the Office Depot deal marks the Chinese firm’s first business-to-business collaboration with a major US company.
The partnership will give Alibaba access to Office Depot’s 10 million customers and 1,800 sales agents.
Alibaba would also be able to take advantage of Office Depot’s distribution network that offers next day delivery in the United States, the companies said in a joint statement.
The partnership comes as Office Depot struggles to boost sales amid severe competition from e-commerce giant Amazon.
The US retailer is now focusing on selling business services to its customers, rather than relying on its traditional business of selling office supplies.
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