Metal Toad's CEO Talks Future of eCommerce at Alibaba.com Seminar
On July 26th, Metal Toad’s CEO and Founder Joaquin Lippincott, spoke at Build-up, an event hosted by Alibaba.com in partnership with the Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce and California Market Center. As the world’s fourth most valuable tech company and a business to business (B2B) goliath, Alibaba.com holds these seminars to aid growing businesses access to the invaluable tools and services they provide.
Moderated by John Caplan, Alibaba.com’s President of North America B2B and previous CEO of OpenSky Inc., Lippincott addressed questions concerning the rapid shift to a digital market and what that entails for the future of business.
Below are his written insights on how eCommerce is increasing efficiency for all while emphasizing the importance of businesses adapting to a modern market:
A recent B2B study conducted in February 2019 by Sapio Research on behalf of Sana Commerce. found that while 30% of business buyers would prefer to buy at least 90% of products online, only 19% are currently doing so. What’s your take on these stats?
The data greatly downplays the imminent opportunity for growth. Had you asked people before Amazon implemented next day or same day delivery options for all kinds of products, people would have said they don't much care for eCommerce. The reality is that anything enabling us to save time will be widely adopted. People aren’t factoring in how much time it takes to source products while simultaneously building relationships through trust We purchase from Amazon because we’re confident items will arrive in a way we didn't with eCommerce before. Alibaba brings that experience to B2B globally.
What do you see as the biggest obstacles and opportunities confronting B2B businesses today?
Converting any analog process to a digital experience creates huge savings in time. The opportunity for disruption is vast and pervasive: Uber, AirBnB, Amazon, etc. are examples of digital infrastructure compressing activities that used to be highly analog while maintaining client trust. These changes present a massive challenge to incumbents who need to alter their ways of working and present huge opportunities to the companies, both new and established, who adopt them.
How have you coped with the challenges or capitalized on the opportunity?
As an AWS Advanced Consulting Partner, we live on the edge of what's possible in the digital realm. Several years ago we were working on an IoT project and purchased some highly specialized electronics for client work on Alibaba. We ordered the products and used them to exceed our client’s expectations — it worked like a charm.
What is the advice you'd give yourself from 5 years ago?
I would tell myself to buy Alibaba and Amazon stock!
How do you see communities like the Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce and SCORE playing a role in assisting companies like yours to thrive in today’s environment?
As a proud Board Member of the Los Angeles Chamber, I know the Chamber is a vital convener of business. We are here because the Los Angeles Chamber is providing this platform. I am here because I was invited by the Chamber — no other organization has the powerful ability to bring like-minded people together in the same way.
How do you see companies like Alibaba.com play a role?
Alibaba is the most aptly positioned company to bring to B2B as Amazon has brought to B2C. Ecommerce is immensely more effective at transacting, especially on a smaller scale. This smaller scale (and large scale) facilitation of intra-business commerce will drastically reshape business cost structures. Some businesses will survive, thrive and build market share, others will not.