Alibaba has announced a new marketplace to launch in the US, 11 Main, aiming to bring together a hand-selected collection of specialty shops and boutiques.
As an invitation-only marketplace, 11 Main carefully selects merchants, making some of the best and most differentiated boutiques available to shoppers. The site, currently in beta, features a wide range of products, including one-of-a-kind items, not available at mass merchants and other large e-commerce sites. 11 Main offers shops in a variety of categories including Fashion & Style, Home & Outdoor, Jewelry & Watches, Baby & Kids, Collecting & Art, and Crafts, Hobbies & Toys.
11 Main is being headed up by Mike Effle, who served at Vendio for some 13 years ending up as Vendio CEO. Vendio was of course acquired by Alibaba and Mike now moves to become President and General Manager of 11 Main, bringing a wealth of marketplace experience with him.
The hand-selected collection of specialty shops and boutiques isn’t a new idea, it reminds me very much of the hugely successful Notonthehighstreet.com in the UK. By limiting selection to the beautiful and unique Notonthehighstreet have prospered. It will be interesting to see if the giant Alibaba is can bring themselves to limit merchants they take on at 11 Main to create a similar shopping experience, or if the temptation to grow will dilute the experience to just another marketplace.