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Alibaba takes on Amazon with U.S. invitation-only shopping site

Alibaba will directly take on online retailers in the U.S. by providing the "Main Street" shopping experience online.
By Ananth Baliga   |   June 11, 2014 at 10:50 AM   |   Comments

SAN MATEO, Calif., June 11 (UPI) -- Alibaba is increasing its presence in the U.S. market by launching a a new online shopping website called 11 Main, in order to take on Amazon, Etsy and eBay.

The company will launch a beta site for 11 Main soon and is catered for boutiques and shops offering products like clothes, arts and crafts, and jewelry that aren't available at large retailers, much like niche, online shopping site Etsy. The site has already invited 1000 upscale speciality stores and is looking to bring the "Main Street" shopping experience online.

"Inspired by the local 'Main Street' shopping experience, 11 Main helps shoppers find unique products that express their personal style. Additionally, 11 Main brings greater awareness to burgeoning brands and businesses and gives shoppers a place to learn more about the stories behind the shops and products they love," the release read.

The site seems to have been designed keeping in mind an American design aesthetic. Retailers will be subject to review from time-to-time, possibly an effort to prevent the sale of counterfeit items which has plagued Alibaba's Taobao, the online giant's equivalent of Amazon.

"It's truly exciting to participate in a marketplace that gives me a place to build my brand and sit alongside other shops who share my passion for products and customer experience," says Denise Dent, shop owner, The Jewelry Lady's Store. "I immediately requested an invitation to open a shop and am looking forward to growing my business at 11 Main."

Alibaba already has investments in ShopRunner, Quixey and Fanatics and is looking to expand its footprint in the U.S. ahead of its planned initial public offering sometime later this year. The company, which dominates the e-commerce market in China, has been valued at $168 billion and is bigger than Amazon and eBay combined.

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