Linda Kozlowski heads marketing and customer experience globally for Alibaba.com the world’s leading business-to-business (B2B) e-commerce platform. Alibaba.com is headquartered in Hangzhou, China with operations in more than 240 countries and 23 million users worldwide. I asked Linda what are the top e-commerce trends we should watch in 2012. The following is her response:
“E-commerce is booming in China, but I believe we are about to see even more dramatic growth in the sector this year. There are already about 500 million Internet users there, according to a 2011 CNNIC report, this represents about 37.7% of China’s population. Alibaba.com has been at the forefront of building trust in online commerce in China, through safe payment and shipping arrangements. Now we are seeing real momentum building as online shopping is boosted by people’s use of social media and mobile phones. Chinese consumers are very keen to read and write online reviews of products and shopping experiences – much more keen than US consumers – and this encourages others to engage in online shopping. In the US, though, I do think we will increasingly see social media driving e-commerce acceptance and usage.
Globally, it will be interesting to see how traditional businesses can better leverage e-commerce. For example, in the UK, Domino’s Pizza frequently takes online orders worth more than £1m during the course of a single day – with almost 13% of this coming from mobile devices. As the penetration of mobile devices continues to accelerate, the time is now right for companies to really start using e-commerce to make life easier for consumers.
Finally I think we are entering an era of greater cooperation between companies, fueled by e-commerce. Even small companies will increasingly be able to combine products, or products and services, and pool marketing resources to win more sales in a more competitive online world. This is going to require a new level of trust and understanding between what may even be traditional competitors and so the right environment – the right marketplace – is crucial.”