EcommerceBytes-Update, Number 375 - February 08, 2015 - ISSN 1528-6703     10 of 14

Sellers Choice 2015 Marketplace Ratings: 11Main

By Ina & David Steiner

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In January 2015, EcommerceBytes surveyed over 12,000 online sellers and asked them to rate the marketplaces on which they had experience selling. An introduction to the Sellers Choice survey along with a summary of the overall ratings can be found here, along with links to results for each of the 12 online marketplaces included in the survey.


Profitability:

Customer Service:

Communication:

Ease of Use:

Would you recommend:

11 Main
Year Established: 2014
Description: Heavily curated marketplace with an emphasis on the kind of fashion and home goods found at specialty boutiques.
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Summary:
EcommerceBytes broke the news last February that ecommerce giant Alibaba was about to launch an online marketplace called 11 Main. A lot has happened in the last year - 11Main.com launched and made it through its first holiday shopping season, while its parent Alibaba went public on the New York Stock Exchange.

11Main.com came in eighth overall in this year's Sellers Choice Awards, with sellers giving it an overall score of 5.01. It got middling reviews in all 4 criteria.

Despite having the resources of a well-established publicly traded company behind it, 11 Main continues to have the same problems we identified early on - and some respondents said they had never heard of the marketplace. The biggest problem reported was a lack of traffic - although some sellers said they participated in promotions offered by the company, which helped with sales.

There were bugs and technical issues upon launch, and according to sellers taking the Sellers Choice last month, the backend and seller interface still need improvement. Another issue - some sellers said the category structure remains disorganized. Customer service got mixed reviews, some were pleased with the support they received, others were dissatisfied.

Most frustrating for some respondents was the time they spent readying listings and preparing their shops only to be rejected. One seller was particularly frustrated saying it was 11 Main that had pursued them in the first place only to reject them after spending hours investing in the site.

Merchants approved to sell on the site said there were also significant delays because the site manually approves each new product.

11Main.com received a 4.1 in Profitability; a 5.43 in Customer Service; a 5.4 in Communication; and a 5.09 in Ease of Use. It received a 4.89 from sellers when asked, "How likely are you to recommend 11 Main as a selling venue to a friend or colleague?"

Reader Comments:The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

Love 11 main. Even though they are new, they are delivering on promises. My items show up at the very top of search and i am getting decent sales. I am looking forward to a bright future with 11 main.

It is a new site and they are still trying to figure it out the best that they can. I recommend any selling platform that has potential.

Still getting up to speed with traffic but customer service is outstanding. Still have to wait for approval when listing but they are doing a much better job of getting things approved and in your store quickly than initially.

Fantastic customer service. Sellers are listened too. They provide discounts fees low and on and on. No regrets selling there when we were invited.

Easy to use. Good customer service except no phone access.

Regular sales, good experience.

Excellent, timely help, both by phone and email. 11 Main LISTENS to my complaints and suggestions and has made changes directly related to problems I have told them about. (They acted, even if I may have been the only one who alerted them to the problems.) They simplified things. They walked me through things. They improved their FAQs. They have striven to help sellers sell with promotions for which 11 Main has footed the bill. From the beginning they vetted sellers - my hope is that they are continuing to make a great effort to prevent sellers who are duds from ruining the reputation of the marketplace.

They are kind of a niche market but the seller interaction is good.

Love it, people awesome, great items...I just don't have time to work my shop to be more profitable, I'm a teacher by day, do more during holidays/summer.

11Main is the finest customer service venue I have ever encountered. If and when they get the traffic I feel they are going to be the next BIG opportunity.

Outstanding customer service; 11 Main wants sellers to succeed without cumbersome rules and worrying about defects (eBay); allow customers and sellers to work out issues on their own without interference. Great promotion (emails and Facebook) and exposure.

A few glitches getting started up but they were just coming out of beta mode so somewhat understandable. Overall they've been very good and are seem to be getting us a lot of traffic. I don't like however the two weeks delay in getting paid. We have to pay our warehouses up front on each order so it means we have to float the cash which can be a problem with a lot of orders.

I like the portal but right now I receive very little traffic. Less than 5% of my sales come from this marketing channel.

It is a good site, there is always room for growth. It keeps us up to date with the latest trends in communication.

They have a lot of bugs to work out. Like not being able to make partial refunds, or have sales reports that could be generated. As well as the occasional shipping bug that won't allow for extra-long address names. Small things that will be fixed over time I'm sure.

Takes forever to get a product posted for sale - has to reviewed etc. while they are selling on all other sites

I didn't feel there was as much exposure as with other venues.

Not enough traffic/buyers.

I have sold a few items and had some items that I were charged a fee for that were cancelled sales. It took two emails and letting you know I would get PayPal involved to resolve the issue. Also I do not like the fact that you can not speak to anyone about your issue you have to rely on email.

It is not easy to figure out how to update your webstore. I always have to go looking for it. Also, it tends to list things as available for sale when they have already been sold on eBay - after I thought things were updated.

They are not truly available to Canadians yet and although we did open a shop we could not get in to make adjustments to any of our descriptions, we had to upload all of our stock and could not even get in to remove items we had in our sold archive...it was not a good experience...perhaps later on they will get better.

They supposedly imported our products from another ecommerce site which resulted in less than 30 out of over 2,000 items being listed. Repeated inquiries and requests did not resolve the issue although multiple promises were made that they would import our inventory again.

The traffic amount and volume of sales is pretty disappointing. I only use this site in addition to eBay and Amazon, and I can't remember the last time I made a sale on it. It is synced to my accounts though and I update my booth, so items are constantly for sale with Superior Advertising.

I think the site still needs a little work on functionally. I needed to void a shipping label and was unable to. I had to purchase another one without voiding the one I mistakenly purchased.

Can't get an immediate answer from customer service on even the simplest things. You have to wait until your rep calls you back.

I listed over 200 items on site, 2 weeks later, they told me that none of them qualified for listing. Then they sent me an email telling me the only thing I could sell was "sporting goods". Not the home & garden, candles that I had originally listed.

The only support I received did little to help. I still do not have email notifications when I sell something. I must log into my account everyday which is futile if no sales are happening.

I began in May of last year. At first, there were people ready and willing to help. I have experienced a lot of trouble in uploading items and even I am successful at it, they sit there for eternity. I was so excited .. but very disappointed.

It is hard to find detailed instruction for sellers and it is not easy to understand.

WAY too much trouble to set up. Not all categories that I sell in (i.e. books) are represented at the site.

It is too new and they want too much financial info for a new site. And finally, they are in China.

You can't even browse site unless you sign up, not enough visitors to site, they don't allow many items to be sold.

Email only tech support and waiting for emails with order csv files to arrive is not very efficient. Also having to reactivate a listing is confusing and seems unnecessary for items that we have quantities of for sale.

This website need a lot more works on backsite management for sellers.

Do not care for their "approval" process. After 20 years selling online I feel that if the traffic is there so should my sales. Sold $15 million in retail sales at brick-and-mortar and 1/4 million online, so find their approval process a bit childish - either let me list and let's get going or go away.

Very limited categories. I sell sport optics mainly riflescope and these weenies shy away from anything connected with firearms.

11main is not a viable venue, it is not promoting products, it has a category structure that is completely disorganized and irrelevant for instance items for wedding are under the parent category Toy's nobody will look there. The merchandise just sits we do sell an item we do not get our payment for weeks because our items are customized and have a ten day handling time.

I love 11main, but there is not yet a way to copy listings, so I have to type in a bunch of color choices and so I am not spending much time there.

I find the site difficult to navigate as a seller. It is not user friendly when listing, deleting, changing listings, etc.

11Main is new and upcoming. Should do well once it becomes popular to buyers.

11Main pursued us as one of the sellers they wanted on their site. After many hours getting our store setup, they actually had NO category for us, so we were basically MIA.

Very picky about the photos you provide for your listing, absolutely zero traffic.

There was a lot of hoopla about 11Man when it first started. We just went straight through Christmas with zero sales and 500 items listed.

11Main stays out of my business (unlike eBay) and lets me deal with my sellers. I would prefer it was not curated. They have great promotions.

Early stumbles requiring Auctiva members to log in both places, etc... made listing and workflow very undesirable. Moving the listing directing to the 11main account and the incremental improvements for shipping and item management a big plus. Description HTML and formatting and accounting details still need improvement.

One sale in 7 months, can't upload and list without waiting for individual item approvals from marketing. Does not seem to lend itself well to collectibles.

I was accepted to 11main just to go through the hassle of csv files, only to be told AFTER hours of work that because I was in Canada I was not acceptable...

I was one of the first sellers when they started testing. I gave up with them after I found that they need to approve every single item and after tweaking over 700 of my items for them, they only took about 100. You have to do the work and wait to be approved. Not worth all the time spent for me so I quit before the stores went live.

I was originally invited to sell on this site before it opened. I got everything set up and was ready to go, then I received a letter telling me that my pictures were not good enough and I was now unable to be a member of the site. Talk about a slap in the face. Won't even try to get in this site!!

I'm surprised this site was up with so many unresolved issues. Customer service is very responsive, but the site isn't seller-friendly, i.e., payment methods, shipping tools, communication tools...the list is long. Since every listing has to be reviewed, the listing process is sluggish - can take a day or 2 to get a listing up and running.

It is difficult to use their site! They can spend more money for the engineers to make this easy to use, like come on this is 2015 and 11 main. Who uses a CVS file anyway? Too much of my time invested to have to be annoyed with all their rules...I'll stay with Etsy.

11Main nags you with annoying phone calls after set up. There is no way to track stats. Frequenting the forums made me tenuous about continuing to have a shop here.

11Main has rules that require sellers to use their payment processor and the site is very difficult to maneuver or understand.

My friends and I sell in antiques and collectibles and I found this site much more for the trendy up-scale modern items... a very sophisticated Etsy.

I've had 200 vintage listings up for about 8 months. No sales at all.

11Main I guess has potential. They have a very strange business model and so far I have only one sale. It is definitely a bit of a pain to get on there, having to apply. The biggest thing will be having to pay to list after the promotional period runs out, I for one will most likely stop listing. It doesn't matter if it's only a nickel, it still adds up, especially with no sales.

You asked about profitability but not volume. Right now, there are no fees other than credit card processing charges, so it is very profitable but sales (for me) are negligible. Also, announcements to changes are haphazard. Sometimes, I find a change to the way of selling by studying my account page and finding something new on there. Third, you must supply a checking account and social security number or tax ID number regardless of your sales to date. And last, until recently, every item listed must be uploaded and then vetted by someone in California. This takes time and some items have been rejected because I was not approved for sales in the category. Overall, though, most of the changes have been for the better except having to use only their payment system (hence the required personal information requested).

I've been listing on 11main for months without a single sale. I'm listing the same products that have sold on every other venue I've listed them on. 11main just doesn't seem to be bringing in buyers and I won't continue it past the free listing period, which ends 3/31.

I signed up but cancelled my membership ... the set up as a seller was way too complicated.

Sellers Choice Awards:
We thank all readers who took the time to rate the marketplaces. If you have comments about the survey results or the survey itself, please feel free to post them in the EcommerceBytes Blog.


About the author:

Ina and David Steiner are publishers of EcommerceBytes.com and have been writing about ecommerce since 1999.


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