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Alibaba Readies Friends and Family Preview of 11Main.com

We brought you the news that Chinese ecommerce firm Alibaba was launching a new marketplace in the U.S. through its subsidiary Auctiva.com. 11 Main continues to ramp up and next week will host a private “Friends & Family” preview.

Next week’s trial will include a group of VIP shoppers invited to come and make purchases before the marketplace is launched. When asked for an update, 11 Main spokesperson Abbygail Reyes said, “We’re continuing to make progress on 11Main.com. We do not have any additional news to share at this time.”

Sellers have received an email containing a “Quick shop setup checklist” advising them to set up their shop’s identity and brand; enter their shop policies; enter their shipping, payment and billing information; and manage their listings – including making sure their items are in stock and up to date.

Many readers who were accepted to sell on the marketplace are excited about the potential. In a selling guide, the new marketplace wrote, “At 11 Main, shop owners are hand-selected for their great selling history, interesting mix of quality products and compelling business story. Shop owners who excel in these areas really get to stand out at 11 Main.”

Rejection letters varied, but most sellers who were not accepted shrugged it off. As noted in our last update, 11Main is restricting the marketplace to U.S. sellers only, a sticking point for international sellers.

Some sellers fit into an intermediary category: they were accepted to sell at 11 Main, but many of their listings are being rejected. “To have to put work into writing up the listings just to have them rejected because they don’t meet their “standards” doesn’t sit well with me. I tried to find specific information on exactly what items they are looking for and everything is just very vague.”

So far sellers trying out 11 Main have clocked few complaints – though one worth noting was the following comment about shipping: “One thing I noticed that I didn’t like, was that you have to get all the way to checkout before you can see what the shipping cost is going to be if you use their calculated shipping.” Most sellers are giving rave reviews about customer service.

Selling at 11 Main is completely free during the beta trials period, and it will remain free until the site is out of beta later in the year.

Comment on the February 9th EcommerceBytes blog post.

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Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner is co-founder and Editor of EcommerceBytes and has been reporting on ecommerce since 1999. She's a widely cited authority on marketplace selling and is author of "Turn eBay Data Into Dollars" (McGraw-Hill 2006). Her blog was featured in the book, "Blogging Heroes" (Wiley 2008). She is a member of the Online News Association (Sep 2005 - present) and Investigative Reporters and Editors (Mar 2006 - present). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to ina@ecommercebytes.com. See disclosure at EcommerceBytes.com/disclosure/.