Alibaba.com, a leading platform for global business-to-business (B2B) e-commerce and part of Alibaba International Digital Commerce Group (AIDC), will launch its latest Smart Assistant features powered by artificial intelligence (AI) at CES in Las Vegas, NV from January 9-12, 2024. The Smart Assistant, an AI-powered global sourcing tool, caters to both newcomers and seasoned entrepreneurs in the dynamic world of global commerce.
As a one-stop B2B sourcing platform, Alibaba.com remains committed to delivering innovative solutions to help buyers and suppliers streamline operations to more efficiently reach their goals and continue to grow. The Smart Assistant updates unveiled at CES will help business owners adeptly enhance their supply chain and solve complex sourcing needs and challenges as they seek to stand out in today’s competitive marketplace.
“Today’s small businesses face a variety of headwinds, but with the right technology and support, they can feel confident that they will overcome obstacles and help their business thrive, which is why we’re expanding the features of our new Smart Assistant tool to better serve today’s entrepreneurs,” said Chris Lu, General Manager at Alibaba.com North America. “With advances in AI, we are ushering in the next generation of sourcing and empowering small businesses to succeed with our Smart Assistant at their side.”
The Smart Assistant: Shaping the Future of Sourcing
Alibaba.com developed the Smart Assistant as an AI-powered, intuitive personal guide to sourcing that helps small business owners discover new opportunities, stay up-to-date on trends, seamlessly track orders and more in a single, efficient touchpoint.
First announced at CES and coming soon to the Alibaba.com Smart Assistant is the Instant Help feature, which leverages an AI-powered chatbot to answer basic inquiries and offer real-time insights and resources, regardless of time zones or language barriers. The Instant Help feature provides buyers with essential knowledge and industry insights about a variety of verticals and product types, as well as offer tips to elevate their communications with suppliers. It will help ensure small businesses can increase efficiency, purchase smart and keep up with trends by leveraging AI to increase competitive advantages.
Since their launch in September 2023, the first two features of the Smart Assistant – Upgraded Image Search and Smart Request for Quotation (RFQ) – have already provided significant benefit to entrepreneurs using the Alibaba.com desktop platform. Based on Alibaba.com’s internal study since September 2023, buyers using the Upgraded Image Search have seen a 28% higher deal closing rate than those only using traditional text search. Buyers who used the Smart RFQ tool saw 29% more quotes from suppliers, while suppliers saw a 21% increase in buyer responses to quotes as compared to the original RFQ process.
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“Developed from buyer-supplier feedback and embedded with profound industry knowledge, we are excited to demonstrate how the Smart Assistant rapidly and accurately produces product requests and images aligning with buyer needs,” Lu said. “Smart Assistant helps buyers embrace their creativity, improve the efficiency of matching buyers and sellers, while making sourcing more accessible for all.”
Alibaba.com will provide a showcase of Smart Assistant features at their booth on Wednesday, January 10, 2024 at 11:00 AM PT, hosted by smart sourcing expert Stella Shenshen. The Alibaba.com booth is located at the Las Vegas Convention Center’s Tech East in the AI and Robotics section in North Hall’s Grand Lobby on level 1, Booth 9017.
Visitors to the booth will also have the opportunity to network and connect with 20 top-rated suppliers in-person, personally experiencing the ways Alibaba.com offers buyers advanced sourcing solutions and AI-powered tools to take their business to the next level.
Tech and AI Power the Future of Businesses, E-commerce and Sourcing
In addition to announcing new Smart Assistant features at CES, Alibaba.com leadership will discuss the evolution of e-commerce and sourcing, as well as how sourcing has been influenced and improved by AI and other technological innovations.
Rah Mahtani, Head of Marketing for North America at Alibaba.com, will be participating in the panel “Reshaping Retail – AI Creating Opportunity,” discussing how industry leaders like Alibaba.com are helping entrepreneurs and small business owners harness the power of AI to streamline processes in B2B e-commerce and across the retail workflow. This session will take place on Wednesday, January 10 at 1:00 PM PT on Level 4 at Marcello 4404.
Going “Entreprenuts” to Support Small Business Innovation
To complement its presence at CES, Alibaba.com is also debuting a new campaign celebrating entrepreneurial spirit and innovation. The Entreprenuts campaign highlights how entrepreneurs are willing to bet big, as well as maintain persistence and boundless creativity, against daunting odds. In other words, they can go a little “entreprenuts” to achieve their dreams and create new products – just like the products showcased each year at CES.
Throughout the Entreprenuts campaign, which will run from January 8 through February 8, 2024, Alibaba.com will encourage buyers to share stories of their craziest entrepreneurial moments, utilizing the most “nuts” stories in a video highlight to showcase what it means to be an Entreprenut. Buyers can also earn their Entreprenut badge and profile by answering a questionnaire that will determine their unique Entreprenut characteristic. At the end of each quiz, buyers will be provided with exclusive tools and services to help them achieve their goals as they kickstart 2024.
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“This campaign demonstrates Alibaba.com’s continued support of small and medium-sized businesses in the United States and helping them realize their entrepreneurial dreams and push beyond what others might believe possible,” said Rah Mahtani, Head of Marketing for North America at Alibaba.com. “As buyers share their experiences, Alibaba.com will offer innovative new resources and products to help these ‘Entreprenuts’ succeed on their journey.”
The campaign debuts at a key crossroads for small business owners. The US has seen a surge in the number of newly registered businesses, which hit record highs in both 2021 (5.4 million) and 2022 (5.1 million). Sadly, 20% of these new businesses face failure within the first two years, and a staggering 45% of startups do not surpass the five-year mark due to challenges such as market volatility, supply chain disruption, shifting consumer demands, and inventory management. This makes the tools and capabilities Alibaba.com offers, which are designed to help entrepreneurs level up their sourcing and supply chain operations in the increasingly competitive small business arena, more valuable than ever.
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