With a whopping $27.28 billion merchandise value, Alibaba is leading the pack when it comes to B2B e-commerce. The Chinese giant is currently paving the way in redesigning financial offering with Alipay, its online payment gateway solution.
China has never been new to setting the standard for disruptive technologies. Platforms such as WeChat have been under scrutiny for quite some time. WeChat presents a unified and interconnected ecosystem of services all accessible through one app.
It is no mystery that Alipay rapidly became the most popular means of payment on the Chinese marketplace Taobao, back in 2014. It was more attuned to the Chinese way of transacting. Since then, it has become an interesting piece of reverse engineering by catching the eye of western businesses seeking to set foot in the Chinese markets.
UniCredit, Italy’s major financial institution, like others in Europe, has already started to enable Alipay on most of its merchant F-Pos. This allows Chinese tourists to have the same payment experience as when purchasing online back home.
Redefining payment platforms as vehicles to penetrate into large markets such as China, is just one example of the strategies adopted to build traction. The real meat will lie in the capacity of financial institutions and companies alike to provide direct loans. Instantly and conveniently, during the transaction phase. Again, Alibaba has proven to be ahead of the game by setting up Ant Financial, offering personalized consumer and business loans. While only a drop in the ocean of business loans, it can prove to be a disruptive force as technologies are in place to enable such transactions.
Gearing up to deliver seamless B2B shopping experiences
With B2B sales mirroring the experience offered by B2C platforms, the line between consumers and professional buyers is blurring.
An increasing number of professional buyer demand the same level of service and convenience with placing professional purchases as when doing personal shopping. This implies that B2C channels like web stores, are becoming not only viable but also expected in B2B environments.
With lines blurring, businesses tend to find it easier to embrace direct to consumer sales. Especially if they have consumer-oriented sales channels such as webs stores already in place. It is essential that professional B2B sales gear up. They must deliver an exceptional experience for customers that are more accustomed to cutting edge shopping experiences in their private life.