Alibaba’s 11 Main Fails Miserably in the USA – while American Small Business Conquers with E-commerce

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AliBaba and the Forty Thieves - originalAlibaba is a classic character from a classic story that discovered the secret den of the forty thieves. He discovered how to access the thieves’ treasure. The thieves then tried to kill him and he ultimately gave his own slave girl to his son to marry along with a gift of the secret to the theives’ lair with the password “open sesame”

Ironically today – Alibaba is a Chinese web site that allows access to Chinese manufacturers. While Alibaba has no inventory or products it makes or ships, US businesses can “open sesame” and deal with a number of Chinese manufacturers of products. In this case – the treasures are cheap products of notorious reputation.

But as Americans grew weary of cheap products of a notorious reputation. So Alibaba set its sights on creating a new website targeting American business. 11 Main was born. American makers could sell directly to American consumers with their American quality products. And Alibaba takes a cut off the top back to China.

Considering that half of American small businesses (small business is defined as less than 500 employees) do not have a website – and most of American businesses who do are stuck with websites that are highly inadequate – 11 Main was a brilliant idea. So thought Alibaba.

However, Alibaba’s 11 Main has failed miserably. Why? Simple in our mind. But why split hairs in this article.

While that foreign giant fails completely in an attempt to tap into the USA – many American businesses have already found the secret of succeeding with e-commerce. It all begins with professionals who have the experience, expertise and understand what works in America.

20th century telephoneThe big question should be:

Why do half of American businesses not have a website?

Isn’t that fact the same as a business in the 20th century not having a telephone?


However – it is better to not have a website than to have a bad website.

Shamefully true. But that does not alter the fact that a business must have a website.

The main problem is why small businesses do not have a website is the huge resource gap between big businesses with the ability to afford mega-dollar websites and in-house IT professionals on the payroll and small business who have the need but many times must rely on a nephew with an internet hobby.

Looking out across the advertising hype landscape it appears at face value that the only choices are inadequate templates that will negatively reflect on your business, “free” websites that cost more than they are worth or going into debt with high priced uptown studio nerds who know nothing about real business.

TSENET logo Technical Service Engineering tse.netThis is simply not the case with businesses who utilize –

With and the new technology tools we use on a daily basis as we actually participate in real world e-commerce – even the smallest businesses can benefit and compete with even the largest players in business. With real value and quality that pays for itself.

An article in the Los Angeles Times about the foreign giant Alibaba that failed in America gives a great hint about what really works for American small business with e-commerce. It is something we have been working successfully for nearly two decades. It is because of our unique abilities and experience.

However, in that LA Times article – even a distinguished professor of business can be slightly incorrect in his analysis. Classroom theory is not the same as real world business. One mistake in the article states that a small business can’t compete with an “amazonian” website with shipping costs. Small business can compete just as well as the “amazonian websites” out there. We do it on a daily basis.

To read (with a grain of salt) about the great “ali-boo-boo” failure in the Los Angeles Times article – CLICK HERE

While most of the distinguished UCLA business professor’s comments are correct, we don’t agree with his comments about competing with shipping costs. However, he is correct in how a small business can compete with a big amazonian business.

Also, it is quite fair for the professor to state that Alibaba does not understand the American business marketplace. One must understand culture as well as the marketplace.

When restaurant giant McDonalds built its first restaurants in China – the Chinese customers would drive their cars to the drive-through, take possession of their food at the pickup window, then park their cars and enter the restaurant to sit at a table to eat.

Chevrolet failed years ago to market their Chevy Nova model car in Latin America. They never considered that “Nova” means the equivalent of “doesn’t go” in Spanish.

In business, logistics and marketing cannot succeed without understanding the market. However, when components come together properly, success follows.

We invite you to contact us at to discuss what could work for you in your own unique business situation. We would be honored to explain why we are the best to help you rise and conquer the modern challenge of 21st century business.

At we know e-commerce and what makes a website successful.


NOTE: As mentioned – the definition of small business is something that irritates a lot of business people. To read an interesting article about the definition of what a small business is at Forbe’s Magazine – CLICK HERE