The $ 1.8 trillion global apparel industry had already seen recent changes, and the 2020 global pandemic put even greater pressures, challenges and accelerations on an already fragile system.

Faced with product shortages, vendor bankruptcies, and ongoing uncertainty, retailers need to find new suppliers and they look further afield to discover them.

With the promise of COVID-19 vaccines and the easing of security restrictions, traders are preparing for a surge in sales. In the US alone, spending on clothing and shoes rose 8 percent in January 2021 after three months in a row, according to the US Bureau of Economic Analysis. This trend is expected to continue, leaving retailers to stock up on the latest trends.

However, the lack of in-person fairs around the world at this time and the inability to travel to factories have made it difficult to find and source. While some events have tried to switch to digital formats, the online B2B marketplace Alibaba.com has emerged as the ultimate global connector and has already been a pioneer in virtual space. The March Expo 2021 – an annual online trading event that brings together millions of buyers and suppliers around the world in over 190 countries and regions – is currently in full swing, offering myriad solutions for a changing business world. The month-long event spans more than 40 major product categories (apparel, accessories, textiles, to name a few) with both customizable and ready-to-ship options to meet the growing immediate needs of business shoppers.

“We want to help Alibaba.com buyers, both existing and new, take inspiration from millions of new products and trends to start their own business in 2021,” said John Caplan, president of Alibaba.com North America and Europe. While buyers can access numerous on-site supplier discounts, from 5 to 20 percent off, the month-long event is not just about business. “With more than 50,000 suppliers from around the world in every concentration, not to mention more than 4,000 new livestream product launches, it’s all about discovering new products, new supplier relationships and new opportunities for business customers.”

A huge marketplace is needed here more than ever. In the ever-changing global puzzle board of the industry, companies of all sizes – be they retailers, e-tailers, manufacturers, importers, suppliers, and everyone else in the chain – are looking for new partners to build a more resilient and diverse supply chain.

This can be a daunting process, but Alibaba.com global B2B marketplace is using its vast scope, experience, and expertise to help.

Speed-to-Market Consideration has proven to be essential for those who need to react quickly to social media and influencer trends. The industry insights and data-driven top ranking lists from March Expo will help you. The ready-to-ship filter also helps March Expo 2021 attendees to find immediate goods quickly. To make it even easier, Alibaba.com recently launched an Elite Partner Event where shoppers can find quality products and suppliers in one place. This verified group of global suppliers offers innovative, new technologies and products in different categories to improve your competitive advantage. On the textile side, Alibaba.com Elite Partner Enerup has driven the health and wellness trend with new performance materials that ensure greater health security.

“Our Copper Shield line of textiles is embedded in copper, an advanced technology that provides antimicrobial properties for everything from T-shirts to bed linen,” said Joy Xu, general manager of Asia-based textile manufacturer Enerup Harvest SPF. “Increased wear and tear due to a reduction in bacteria also means saving water when washing, so there is also an element of sustainability. As Alibaba.com’s elite partner at March Expo, we were able to get this important message across to a huge global audience. “

A treasure trove of insightsThe March Expo 2021 offers a comprehensive shopper experience on many fronts and limits the millions of offers into useful information. Alibaba.com publishes more than 6,000 data-driven trend sheets featuring style trends and performance textiles in March to meet consumer demand for nature.

Virtual runway shows from brands and textile manufacturers around the world (both live recorded and animated 3D events) bring items to life on models and avatars, all grouped by Everyday Casuals, Comfy Couture and Colors & Patterns. New product launches, factory tours behind the scenes and manufacturing systems as well as live presentations and demonstrations are presented in a live stream feed around the clock.

In addition to sourcing products, Alibaba.com is aware of the weaknesses in global B2B commerce. Against this background, the event offers numerous advantages and shipping offers. U.S. business shoppers can also use the updated Apple Pay, Google Pay, and PayPal payment options to buy now and pay for options later.

To streamline logistics, Alibaba.com offers 37 different air, rail and sea routes for guaranteed on-time delivery of millions of products, including three charter flights to the US per week. The platform can also guarantee door-to-door delivery, including customs and import duties. “We know that small businesses in particular have difficulty sourcing, especially overseas, and that’s where Alibaba.com and March Expo can lend a hand,” said Caplan.

Click here to visit March Expo 2021 and find new ways to grow your business on Alibaba.com.