Is the end of eBay as we know it at hand? What if I told you a Chinese company larger than eBay and Amazon combined has decided to launch a site to compete directly with eBay? Well, that’s exactly what is going to happen and it’s called 11main.com.
According to this article on ecommercebytes.com: “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.” Ouch
In case you don’t know who Alibaba is, here’s what an article in the Wall Street Journal says about them: “By one measure, Alibaba is the world’s largest e-commerce platform: The total volume of merchandise handled last year by Taobao and Tmall, the company’s two main shopping sites, topped one trillion yuan ($160 billion), larger than last year’s totals for Amazon.com and eBay combined.” Double Ouch.
And their payment system also completely out paces Paypal. In this Reuters article we find out that: “The payment affiliate of Alibaba Group Holding Co., China’s biggest e-commerce company, said on Saturday it completed more mobile payment transactions in 2013 than U.S.-based PayPal and Square Inc. combined.” Triple ouch.
So if you thought the title of the article was a bit alarmist, think again. a true global eCommerce juggernaut is coming to town and it’s going to get ugly.
What 11main.com Means for eBay Sellers
What it means to you as a seller depends on what kind of seller you are. If you’re happy with eBay, then this is bad news because things are about to get a bit rocky in the months ahead. Your sales may drop as you loose customers to a new marketplace.
However, if you’re one of the sellers that is not entirely happy with the selling experience on eBay, then there might be something to gain by moving to 11main. Reportedly they will only be charging 3.5% seller fees. They will also allow sellers to upload banners and logos to establish their own brand identity.
I suspect 11main is aware of the growing number of sellers who have become unhappy with eBay’s large fees and policy changes over the years. Now they’re going to capitalize on the situation by offering those disgruntled sellers a considerably lower fee structure and a more open seller policy in order to beat eBay at its own game.
As a result, we sellers now face a future of an even more splintered marketplace. It adds complexity as some of us will have to sell multi-channel instead of in just one venue. That’s more time and more paperwork. However, having some real competition in the marketplace may force eBay to lower its fees and make its policies more seller friendly which we can all benefit from. Whichever side of the fence you’re on, change is coming. And you better get ready for it.