Bigcommerce, Alibaba roll out custom app for site integration

The app is designed to make it easier for Bigcommerce merchants to source cheap parts, products and components from Alibaba.com's enormous catalog of Chinese wholesale suppliers

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Last October, Bigcommerce and Alibaba.com, the flagship site of the Alibaba Group, announced a site integration that would allow Bigcommerce merchants to source wholesale goods directly from Alibaba.com through its platform.

Today, that deal finally takes shape.

The companies have rolled out a custom built application to the more than 70,000 small merchants running an online storefront through Bigcommerce.

The app is designed to make it easier for Bigcommerce merchants to source cheap parts, products and components from Alibaba.com's enormous catalog of Chinese wholesale suppliers, while at the same time enabling those suppliers to sell more products internationally.

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At launch, the app allows Bigcommerce merchants to choose from around 30,000 products from a list of 300 designated "gold suppliers" from Alibaba.com, although executives from Bigcommerce said that list of suppliers will grow over time.

The app is also considered phase one of a much larger vision for the partnership between the companies.

Melanie Kalemba, SVP of sales and business development for Bigcommerce, said in addition to increasing the verified supplier network, the companies plan to enable drop shipping between sellers.

Drop shipping is a method of supply chain management in which a retailer does not physically stock goods themselves, but instead transfers shipment details to the wholesaler once an order for one of their products has been placed.

In this scenario, Bigcommerce merchants would select products they wish to sell from Alibaba.com suppliers, and then that product would automatically appear in their online store. The seller in China would then send any orders out on behalf of the merchant.

"For many of our merchants, Alibaba.com represents a tremendous opportunity to tap into the world's largest supplier network -- whether to start selling or expand an existing business -- without taking on unnecessary risk or sacrificing margins," Bigcommerce co-founder and CEO Eddie Machaalani said in a statement.

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