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Alibaba, Amazon Exemplify Different E-Commerce Models

Amazon concentrates on building up consumers for itself, Alibaba on enhancing retailers' sales.

By Zhang Qingchen Updated May.18

According to Xinhua news site www.sike.news.cn, one of the ways to compare e-commerce in China and the West is to study the success of e-commerce giants Amazon and Alibaba. 

Amazon pioneered online retail, maintaining its own inventory and a steady, solid customer base. Most Amazon customers know what they want to look for, and its site provides a better experience than Alibaba's in combining search, recommendations, and reviews, as well as in easy payment and distribution. Amazon has also successfully expanded into other fields ranging from the Kindle e-reader to original TV programs. 

In contrast, Alibaba, which doesn't maintain its own inventory, functions as a virtual mall. It builds a platform to join wholesalers and retailers in a bid to carve out a place for its own brand via creating online experiences and business relationships.   

When it comes to data, Amazon improves its products and services based on its customers’ buying patterns, and it shares data with sellers, helping them list competitive items and prices and better manage its stock.

Alibaba concentrates on providing a wide range of data about consumers’ behavior to press sellers to change their marketing methods and enhance the conversion rate of digital stores. For instance, the data shows page views have a significant increase in the evening, meaning that promotional activities are better carried out at that time.  

Moreover, Alibaba's approach to the personalized shopping experience is quite different from Amazon's.  Amazon gives suggestions in line with consumers' searching and purchasing history, whereas Alibaba prefers to recommend new brands or sales the consumer might not be aware of.