Alibaba.com may not always be the first marketplace suppliers in the United States consider for building sales, but one supplier finding success selling through Alibaba is Gett Clean, a manufacturer of cleaning products.
As a start-up, Gett Clean realized that a marketplace had to be part of its business model if it was to successfully compete against larger suppliers, as it lacked the resources and sales staff to achieve a global reach. What drew the company to Alibaba was that the marketplace charged a member fee, as opposed to taking a percentage of the sale, which reduces margins, and Alibaba’s willingness to share more buyer data than competing marketplaces. “Protecting our margins and intelligent marketing automation is important to us and Alibaba offers us that,” Evan Gettinger, co-founder of Gett Clean, said in a presentation at B2B Next 2019 today in Chicago.
Tracking buyer behavior
One feature of Alibaba’s intelligent marketing services Gett Clean successfully uses, he said, is the marketplace’s ability to track buyer behavior patterns. For example, it can identify for target-marketing buyers that looking at large quantities of cleaning supplies.
“This allowed us to identify more serious buyers and, as a result, our inquiries became more serious as buyers asked specific questions about products, delivery time, etc., as opposed to more general questions,” Gett told his audience at B2B Next. “As a result, we started seeing larger purchases.”
While Gett Clean still had to vet potential buyers contacted through these inquiries, which meant hiring additional staff, it was worth the cost because of the increased sales being generated, Gett said. “We are getting data that distributors typically don’t share with suppliers.”
While Alibaba is thought of as a marketplace primarily serving China and Asia, 75% of the buyers that Gett Clean interacts with through the marketplace come from the United States. That’s is no coincidence. As a member of Alibaba.com, Gett Clean is able to prioritize the regionality of the buyers that see its store on Alibaba.com. “We prioritized U.S. buyers primarily because it makes sense for us from a fulfillment standpoint,” Gett said.
In addition to buyer behavior patterns, Gett Clean also sees data around requests for quotes from buyers. The company receives between 10 and 100 requests for quotes weekly that are recommended by Alibaba. “They may not always be a fit, but the ones that are, are hugely valuable to us,” Gett said. “We get about a 50% response rate on bids, which is great because this is passive selling that we’d otherwise need a salesforce to do, which we cannot afford right now.”
Peter Lucas is a Highland Park, Illinois-based freelance journalist covering business and technology.
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