Alibaba.com (NYSE: BABA), the largest B2B trading platform in the world, has just introduced Source Now, an innovative sourcing tool that can help level the playing field for small retailers — and ecommerce businesses.
Your larger competitors have long had a buying advantage on you, with their bigger budgets (for travel and attending trade shows), experienced buying teams and global network.
A Peek at Alibaba Source Now
But using Source Now, enables you to source products with a few click strokes on your computer. Right now, Source Now only works using Google’s Chrome browser extension, but expansion to more browsers and mobile apps are planned for the near future.
Finding merchandise to sell in your stores or online is literally as simple as taking a picture. It’s a quick four-step process:
- Download and install the free Source Now extension from Google Play or the Apple App Store. (If you don’t have Google Chrome, you need to install that as well — it’s also free.)
- Shop the web, checking out department store and other ecommerce websites, social media, online videos — any website that has images of products you’re interested in selling.
- Once you find something you like, you click on the Source Now extension to capture the image — and hundreds of similar products offered on the Alibaba.com website will pop up — instantly.
- You can compare the different suppliers selling the items, contact them and start ordering your merchandise.
Small retailers are always on the hunt for tools that save time and make them more efficient and productive. As I played around with Source Now, I was amazed at how fast it found my wish list of products, including sneakers, tote bags and even a dining room table. It’s so quick — you see it, save it and source it — it’s really that simple.
Source Now has other benefits for small retailers:
- If you’re not already doing business with overseas suppliers, it’s a great way to meet those who produce exactly the types of items you want to sell.
- It helps you stay current. If you sell fashion accessories, for example, you can quickly find suppliers for the trendiest goods, and start selling them yourself before the craze fizzles.
- It makes it easier to communicate with overseas suppliers and manufacturers, without struggling to come up with just the “right words” to describe the products you’re looking for. All you need to do is capture the image, using Source Now, and you’ll find the sources of those goods.
- Source Now can also be used to source business equipment (computers, phones, cash registers, etc.), business signage and more.