Office Depot and Alibaba Group are teaming up for an e-commerce platform geared toward small- and medium-sized businesses, leveraging a relationship that aims to shorten delivery times and help SMBs sell their products worldwide.
The B-to-B marketplace intends to tap into Office Depot’s 10 million-plus U.S. business customers, marrying its 1,350 Office Depot and OfficeMax retail locations, 1,000 private fleet trucks and 9 million square feet of distribution capacity with Alibaba’s global network of 150,000-plus suppliers.
The partnership, which will include a co-branded site at Alibaba.com/OfficeDepot, will also give SMBs access to Alibaba’s catalog of product listings and manufacturing capabilities, as well as specialized online and in-store Office Depot discounts.
Both companies will also provide customer service support to help small businesses engage with Alibaba’s supplier base.
The alliance marks Office Depot’s latest step in focusing on businesses service to find success in a retail environment challenged by Amazon’s dominance. After merging with fellow office-supply dealer OfficeMax in 2013, its attempt to merge with Staples was blocked in 2016.
Office Depot ranked No. 13 on TWICE’s Top 100 CE Retailers Report last year, with $1.07 billion in consumer electronics sales, down 12.5 percent from the prior year’s $1.23 billion.