Ina Steiner EcommerceBytes Blog
News and insight focusing on ecommerce.
by Ina Steiner, Editor of EcommerceBytes.com
Sun Feb 9 2014 21:48:09

Exclusive: Alibaba Subsidiary to Launch eBay Rival in U.S.

By: Ina Steiner

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eBay's rival in China is backing a new marketplace set to launch soon in the U.S. Alibaba's new subsidiary 11Main.com has been onboarding third-party sellers since the fall with the help of Auctiva and Vendio, two eBay listing tools acquired by Alibaba almost 4 years ago. Through those acquisitions, Alibaba gained 250,000 eBay sellers that accounted for an estimated 5 - 10 percent of eBay listings.

Alibaba and 11 Main declined to comment for the story in tomorrow's Newsflash newsletter, but EcommerceBytes has spoken to some sellers who are participating in the pre-launch. One such seller said he was excited about the new marketplace because it could be a viable competitor to eBay, "When I hear that the biggest internet presence in China is behind this, that's an attention getter. That makes it real and different from all the other competitors. They have the money and time to make it work."



Alibaba benefits when sellers use its product sourcing marketplace to sell on eBay.com. The fact that its subsidiary has chosen this time to launch a marketplace in the U.S. may say something about how those sellers are faring on eBay, which has chosen to focus on large brands and retailers.

Smaller sellers have found it increasingly frustrating to sell on eBay as management shifts its strategy to focus on the sale of new goods by retail giants. While many eBay sellers sell on multiple channels, eBay could take it as an affront to learn that one of its largest partners, Auctiva, is helping power a rival marketplace.

The biggest challenge new marketplaces face is gaining access to shoppers. 11 Main and its merchants have an edge over most startups since they can promote the site to their existing customers.

You can read the full story in Newsflash, along with a pre-launch screenshot of the homepage. Let us know what you think of the 11 Main marketplace, which is set to launch soon in a special invitation-only preview before its official launch. Would its lower fees (3.5% including shipping & handling) entice you to try it?

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Readers Comments

Perminate Link for Exclusive: Alibaba Subsidiary to Launch eBay Rival in U.S.   Exclusive: Alibaba Subsidiary to Launch eBay Rival in U.S.

by: Susan Averello This user has validated their user name.

Fri Feb 21 10:31:58 2014

It's going to take a lot to trust an Alibaba backed company but either way I don't think it is going to bring Ebay down any more that Amazon did.
I don't like the idea of them claiming to be "boutique" but encouraging sellers to discount prices. WTF?
I can understand why they would use paypal. It has infiltrated the market - a large percentage of people have an account, people are more likely to complete a transaction if they can pay easily and fast. Alipay? Never heard of it, I sure wouldn't be signing up for it. Ebay doesn't lose by having Paypal on 11Main - they win because they make a bit on every transaction.

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by: sickandtired This user has validated their user name.

Fri Feb 21 15:33:12 2014

I personally don't see how a ''boutique'' site is going to be any threat to ebay or an opportunity for the huge number of small and medium sized sellers looking for an alternative.

I wish all those who are accepted the best of luck but I don't think that throttling the site by limiting categories and only having sellers with a very large inventory is a recipe for achieving the critical mass of users (both buyers and sellers) necessary for a site to be a real presence.

Sounds pretty much like a more upscaled and controlled version of Ruby Lane. Lovely site but very expensive.

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by: nsc This user has validated their user name.

Fri Feb 21 15:55:58 2014

Curated sites seem to be an ecommerce trend. It will be interesting to see what sort of merchandise 11Main actually opens with. I applied and was accepted. They mentioned they didn't want anything under $29.99 on the site.

So far, sounds like Ruby Lane, which has been going downhill for the last couple of years. It depends on whether they are really willing to market the site, I think.

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by: nsc This user has validated their user name.

Fri Feb 21 16:01:38 2014

@sickandtired, a boutique site could threaten eBay if it woke them up from their absurd attitude that good sellers can always be easily replaced when they leave due to eBay abuse.

I think eBay is just starting to take the hint, at least in antiques, which is the category I deal with. The 9% flat fvf is a killer for high end antiques. eBay is currently running a promotion to cap their fee at $100 instead of $250 in limited circumstances.

Sounds to me like they are aware they went too far. I hope 11Main increases the exodus of good high-end sellers from eBay.

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by: sells-a-lot This user has validated their user name.

Fri Feb 21 18:21:23 2014

I'm sorry but a boutique site where the price of products has a $29.99 floor just isn't going to cut it with the economy we have right now. Most people are not looking for upscale, they are looking for affordable.

I wish those who got in luck with the site but I think they are going to have to rethink their strategy in the long term. I have seen too many "boutique" sites with high prices come and go. They just cannot drum up enough sales volume at the higher prices. People don't want to pay it.  

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by: mindelec This user has validated their user name.

Fri Feb 21 18:45:25 2014

@sickandtired my inventory is around 1900 books, hardly "large" in the scheme of online selling.

@nsc  they didn't comment at all to me about that and about half my inventory is in the $10-20 range.

i don't think the site will cause an exodus from ebay, most sellers will just have their items on both sites.

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by: OldCrabapple This user has validated their user name.

Fri Feb 21 23:29:49 2014

I deal in vintage costume jewelry, and was accepted today. I spoke to a rep who was very nice, but she said I will need to provide photos with a white background because they want to present a uniform look. This was very disappointing to me because I am a perfectionist with my jewelry photography and I get the most beautiful results with colored backgrounds. People are always complimenting me on my photos and wanting to know how I achieve the look I get.
If they hold me to the white background requirement, I may not be able to comply. Jewelry is very difficult to shoot, and white (or black) plays havoc with my camera and gives unsatisfactory results.
She also said they are not currently accepting anyone with negative ratings on ebay. For vintage items, they are looking only for high-end quality. They're also looking for handmade items.  

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by: Sherie This user has validated their user name.

Sat Feb 22 23:33:19 2014

I put in for an invitation. Just because I did does not necessarily mean I'm over optimistic about it. Really, they are asking for good info on me as a seller, but they are not giving me much visualization on what to expect at their site.

In going to their site to put in for the invite, it just does not look like it is for Mom and Pops to me. Hopefully they are not using these words lightly.

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by: JenM This user has validated their user name.

Sun Feb 23 04:39:09 2014

I was accepted and will be calling in on Monday to get information.

I sell floating charms and lockets. I am unsure if it was my ''retail store'', wholesale store, or my blog post that they are interested in but I am definitely curious.
 

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by: Sherie This user has validated their user name.

Sun Feb 23 18:28:13 2014

Congratulations JenM and OldCrabApple.

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This user has validated their user name. by: The End

Sun Feb 23 23:12:58 2014

The American market is already saturated with this selling format.
We need Ebay 1999.  

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This user has validated their user name. by: The End

Sun Feb 23 23:17:26 2014

P.S.  White Background on your photos makes it EASIER for someone to ripoff your photo and your product.
Your personal background insures that We are getting Your special  product and not a knock off.

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by: Patricia This user has validated their user name.

Wed Mar 5 23:57:35 2014

My shop is almost ready yo go.  They are being so careful...not only about who they invite to sell but also what they will sell.  Items are approved before they can be listed.  I'm very optimistic at this point.

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by: PowerSeller2007 This user has validated their user name.

Thu Mar 6 01:11:46 2014

Congratulations to all 11.main sellers.

JD & Omidyar, last one out turn off the lights!

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by: PowerSeller2007 This user has validated their user name.

Thu Mar 6 01:16:15 2014

Icahn, hurry up.  You need to breakout Paypal from ebay NOW... before JD & Omidyar sit on the self-destruct BUTT on.


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by: Patricia This user has validated their user name.

Thu Mar 6 21:23:57 2014

An awful lot of sellers must be listing their fingers off.  I listed all day but my shop is small and the descriptions are all different so it takes me time.  I couldn't get my last listing to go thru...site seems to be stalled...or down :-(

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by: Mr. Me This user has validated their user name.

Wed Mar 12 00:40:23 2014

So far so good, My invitation was accepted, I set up a shop and created a logo / banner in Photoshop (easy), I'll list a few items and see how things go.... one concern......
They should be promoting the heck out of 11 Main .... creating a buzz for the "grand opening", but I dont see much promotion so far.

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by: Mr. Me This user has validated their user name.

Mon Mar 17 11:01:16 2014

Alibaba's HUGE US-based IPO ( http://money.cnn.com/2014/03/16/investing/alibaba-ipo/ ) is an interesting development, perhaps eBay is just "noise" to them and next year Donahoes salary will be minimum wage. No-matter what , eBay and Amazon will take a hit ......

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by: pfft!! This user has validated their user name.

Mon Mar 31 02:39:56 2014

I was accepted and hearing from them daily up until about 2 weeks ago.  I got up to almost 200 items in my store and they were supposed to be working on a banner for me.  I've been updating my listings but also having to delete some as they've sold on other sites.
Anyone know what's going on with the site?

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by: Mr. Me This user has validated their user name.

Fri Apr 11 10:07:53 2014

Its been 2 months since 11 main's big announcement, not much since then. .... search google for "11 main" and results are all over 2 months old .
11 main is in some sort of limbo Beta mode, where sellers only can see listings. Listing is a clunky process.... eCrater is much smoother, and as far as I can tell, there is no Google feed at this time.
After 2 months, my hopes are fading.
Internet attention span is way less than 2 months, why no ad campaign about this coming marketplace, to be a success, "11 main" needs to be a Household Name.
If they have deep pockets, why arent they spending $$

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