Chinese Ecommerce giant Alibaba is planning on expanding into the US with a new marketplace for US online sellers.
The new platform called 11Main.com will target other marketplaces like eBay and Amazon on their own turf. Alibaba acquired eBay listing firms Auctiva and Vendio back in 2010, and with them gained access to over 250,000 eBay sellers. These sellers, at the time, were responsible for processing over $7 billion annually and listed 5%-10% of eBay’s listings.
The name “11 Main” is intended to create a connection to main street shopping, as most of the sellers will be private “mom and pop” retailers, rather than large brand names. Alibaba has devised a 3.5% fee with a $50 cap for every item sold. These fees will be waived for printed books, DVDs, and music CDs. Alibaba is also encouraging sellers to lower sales prices given its fees are lower than eBay’s.
11 Main is also promoting incentives for both sellers and buyers to lure them to the new platform with sales and special offers. In addition to buyer incentives, any seller who brings in a first time buyer to 11 Main will not pay any transaction fees with said buyer for 2 years.
Ripping a page out of Japan’s Rakuten online stores, 11 Main will incorporate seller backgrounds and stories for a more personalized shopping experience.
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“As an 11 Main shop owner, you are far more than a username. Your brand identity is associated with every item you sell. Every connection with a buyer is a personal one. Shoppers love hearing shop owners describe their journey, passion and point of view. Your identity shines through in your shop at 11 Main, through your products, your content, your logo and your story.”
eBay sellers using Auctiva’s listing tools will find it exceptionally easy to list on 11 Main. Listings can be exported through the listing tool to 11 Main and will keep the listing available on eBay if the seller chooses so. Current categories on 11 Main include Fashion, Home, Jewelry, Baby, Collecting, Tech, Sporting Goods, Toys and Entertainment.
Recently Alibaba opened offices in San Francisco. It is not sure if the offices are intended to head the new venture or for the firms rumored upcoming IPO.