If you purchase your inventory from suppliers based in China, you should know about a new free service launched by Alibaba.com, a global eCommerce platform for small businesses.
The service is called Alibaba Trade Assurance. And it is designed to provide small businesses with more security when trading with Chinese suppliers through the site.
Available now to Alibaba.com’s millions of global clients, the service provides buyers with features and protections designed to help ensure that suppliers will honor important contract provisions regarding date of shipment and product quality.
The Alibaba Trade Assurance service vets suppliers based on past performance and Alibaba.com trading history.
Under the Trade Assurance program, small business owners can claim a refund when products aren’t shipped on time or if a product’s quality is lacking. In cases where a settlement can’t be reached in 15 days, Alibaba.com will provide a full refund of the Trade Assurance Amount to the buyer.
The service also enables small business buyers to access a seller’s transaction history.
In an official press release posted on the company’s site, Wu Min Zhi, Senior Vice President of Alibaba Group, explains:
Building trust has always been a hurdle to overcome in international trade and Trade Assurance from Alibaba.com is a data-based way to help buyer and supplier build trust. Even small inventory investments for a small business can have serious repercussions if their order isn’t delivered promptly or doesn’t meet their expectations in terms of quality. We are committed to them and the many other businesses missing out on the benefits of international trading due to trust concerns over product quality or payment security.”
Online sales from global suppliers is on track to increase significantly in the coming years, as is the migration to online eCommerce platforms such as Alibaba.com from legacy platforms.
Business-to-business online sales are slated to reach nearly $25 trillion by 2020, making up about 27 percent of the total global manufacturing trade, according to a recent Frost & Sullivan report. In it, the research firm noted:
Business-to-business (B2B) online retailing has been witnessing strong growth due to the rapid migration of manufacturers and wholesalers … to open, online platforms. … B2B models will continue to move towards ubiquitous online platforms that allow buyers and sellers from anywhere in the world to transact goods and services with ease.”
Buying online from global suppliers offers numerous benefits. Buyers, for example, can access a wider range of products at more competitive prices. Small businesses may not be realizing these benefits however, due to historical concerns about payment security and product quality.
The free payment protection service is currently available with participating suppliers in China, though Alibaba.com plans to expand the service to global suppliers over the next few years.
Alibaba will refund up to 100 percent of the Trade Assurance Amount. That could be the amount that was agreed upon between the buyer and supplier on a contracted purchase if an order is not shipped by the date specified. It could also apply to products that do not meet quality requirements.
There are other limitations on the service. For example, Alibaba Trade Assurance currently only covers payments made via telegraphic transfer, an electronic method for transferring funds used primarily for overseas transactions. Alibaba.com plans to eventually expand the Trade Assurance program to include other kinds of payments, however.
For more information about Alibaba.com’s new service, see the Trade Assurance User Guide.