World Footwear


World Footwear Voices: interview with Kubilay Genckan from

Mar 6, 2024 World Footwear Voices
Today we bring you a conversation with Kubilay Genckan from Watch the new episode of the World Footwear Voices dedicated to discussing some of the pressing issues around the business of B2B platforms

World Footwear: We are in Istanbul at the World Footwear Congress, and I have Kubilay from Alibaba with me here. Kubilay, thank you very much for this opportunity. In recent years, we have faced many changes due to COVID-19. How do you think the e-commerce platforms, such as Alibaba, have been dealing with these challenges?
Kubilay Genckan:
First of all, thank you very much for the opportunity. I’m really glad to be with you today at the conference. As you know, it was a pretty challenging time that we passed through COVID-19. Platforms like provide huge efficiency and enable all the suppliers to travel all around without really traveling by plane. So, in one click, you can reach any supplier from anywhere in the world and find any goods that you are looking for, making your trade easy, efficient and fast; that’s not only related to the COVID challenges, it allows you to overcome many challenges that you may face during your business development. So, platforms such as provide a huge efficiency, and this efficiency is not only limited to the COVID period: after, before, the entire life, full of challenges, and the e-commerce is here to make our life easier.

World Footwear: And so, in your view, what are the biggest challenges that B2B platforms are facing today?
Kubilay Genckan:
Actually, the biggest challenges are the business environment, the unlimited demands of the buyers, especially the buyers looking for change and sustainability, every day. They are looking for customisations, they are looking for something that doesn’t exist yet. As we say, sometimes even buyers do not know clearly what they are looking for, but they desire. So, those desires must be fulfilled by the producers. This is the main challenge that we are trying to overcome every day with the support of AI tools that help our buyers create their images in the real world. At the same time, we are helping our suppliers to meet directly with the buyers to understand their real desires and fulfil them with the production capacity. So, that is an unlimited or long-term journey, it will never end: because customers will keep asking for new demands and the suppliers will be looking for new solutions to fulfil those demands.

World Footwear: And how can businesses improve their relationship with their suppliers?
Kubilay Genckan:
It is again an endless effort. Suppliers must listen to their customers clearly, they need to communicate directly with the customer and then understand their demands. Not to try to sell the product they have, but first to understand the buyers and their demands and try to modify their product with the demand coming from the buyers. That’s the main solution in the B2B business environment. Every day, we receive over 400 thousand inquiries from our buyers to suppliers. Every buyer comes with a different demand. They are knocking on the doors of the producers in Alibaba every single minute and asking for some product that they are imagining. So, if you are only trying to sell your own product, this is the product, buy it or leave it, it will not work. You need to listen, you need to provide the same services to every type of customer and listen to them, fulfil their demands, and then make a long-term sustainable business relationship.

World Footwear: And how is the new trend regarding the end consumer looking for more sustainable products impacting platforms such as Alibaba. I know the end consumer is not your client. But do you feel this is reflected in your business?
Kubilay Genckan:
Of course, I mean this is a highly trended topic nowadays in all trade ecosystems, not only e-commerce but every buyer, including me, looking for sustainable suppliers to fulfil their demands. That is why Alibaba is also taking into consideration those demands and is trying to fulfil them, together with all suppliers from all over the world, not from one country only, but we have diversified our suppliers from Europe, Asia Pacific, the United States. All those suppliers are there to provide those sustainable solutions.

World Footwear: And a final question. What role do you think innovation and technologies can play in helping to develop trade and commerce in general?
Kubilay Genckan:
As I told you, first of all, our job is to make B2B businesses anywhere possible. That is where AI plays the key role in clearly understanding buyer demand, trying to make it real life by only giving small tips to AI tools and letting your dream come true through an e-commerce platform and their availability. This is what Alibaba stands for, trying to develop new tools every day for their buyer desire to be clear and their suppliers to reach those buyer demands in the most efficient way from anywhere in the world.

World Footwear: Thank you very much. These were some insights from Alibaba. Continue to follow the World Footwear for more updates about the footwear industry.

This interview was conducted in Istanbul in November 2023 during the World Footwear Congress

Check some of our previous interviews HERE