A new Alibaba “invitation-only” online-shopping website

March 13, 2015 Blog
In s few months Alibaba's new baby will celebrate its 1-year birthday. It is time to talk about how it was created and look at the cute photos. The eBay-Etsy hybrid does look nice, but does not it remind you something? In s few months Alibaba's new baby will celebrate its 1-year birthday. It is time to talk about how it was created and look at the cute photos. The eBay-Etsy hybrid does look nice, but does not it remind you something? In 2014 Alibaba created 11 Main, a new online market platform, where only top-quality products can be sold. It is supposed to become as popular as its main competitors Etsy and Bonanza. About several thousands US companies have already registered with the site. Naming a brand is similar to naming a baby: the best thing to do is to first think of all the strange ways it could be interpreted. Alibaba executives raked their brains and came up with 11 Main since they hoped it would become an online version of the main street shopping experience for American customers. The products fearured on the website are different from Aliexpress website. Unlike the latter, 11 Main items are either made in the USA (not China), were real brand names, not copycats or handcrafted/homemade. The main page is a eye-candy, with pictures of retro bikes and candy in glass jars. Alibaba plan to win over the customers who start to loath all the noise on the Amazon or Aliexpress website. According to Alibaba, the main reason why 11 Main was created was the demand in the platform for small businesses that sell unique items. The websites already on the market were not suitable and interesting for them, because they could not satisfy their needs. The core of 11 Main is a cleanly designed web store with product categories like baby, fashion, home, and toys. A high-class sibling for Aliexpress. The company’s model can be potentially disruptive for the existing market. It can radically change the marketplace pricing model. It is all to do with a low commission rate of just 3.5 percent, several times less than its main competitors. Smaller businesses are hesitating before jumping the 11 Main bandwagon. It is still unclear what the future holds for the new site, whether it will be a success or failure. This reminds the situation when Amazon.com completely changed the face of retail vertical markets like Consumer Electronics. Now, there can be also a radical change on the market. If 11 Main grasps a big piece of that, Amazon might be obliged to come up with new models to earn money. The biggest issue with Alibaba.com and aliexpress.com was counterfeit merchandise. But, if you visit it now, you will find out that it became cleaner and you can not search for “Gucci” anymore, for example. It is some success in copyright protection by the Chinese company, in comparison to another similar site, iOffer.com, where there are a lot of China-based products, which are still advertised as the authentic brands. Whether or not 11 Main achieves anything close to that scale, Alibaba hopes to at least gain valuable intelligence about the needs of American store owners. For the same purpose, Alibaba invested $15 million in 1stdibs, an online store for luxury goods like furniture and jewelry. Side note: The design of 11 Main is so simple that it looks like the Wordpress theme of an ordinary webstore that you can created just by using Wordpress and plugins that can import all Affiliate products or rearrange your own products available for dropshipping. The fact that affilliate websites are sometimes less stuffed and simpler is one of the reasons behind their popularity by customers.