Marketplace Series: Ecommerce – You Should Never Start Without a Strategy

Marketplace Uni shows how best to sell your products on European marketplaces. Founder Valerie Dichtl gives tips for a good marketplace strategy and on challenges like the current price increases.

>>> GFM News and E-Commerce Berlin Expo in conversation with Valerie Dichtl, marketplace expert of the Marketplace University.

Valerie, what potential do marketplaces hold for manufacturers and retailers?

Marketplaces basically offer great potential for manufacturers and retailers. They have a huge reach and customers who buy. I always recommend brands to sell their products where their customers already are and make it easy for them

Of course, I can say that my customers can buy our brand in their own (online) stores. However, in doing so, you virtually dictate where they should purchase the product. And that’s why it’s better to take advantage of the reach of the major marketplaces and offer your products there. But be careful – you should never start without a strategy and a positive business case.

And what should companies pay special attention to?

Focus and strategy first. It is better to start with one or two marketplaces in a country where you are already established as a brand. Then you can be clear about what you want to achieve with the marketplaces. The objective can be very different, e.g.: 

  • generate reach
  • increase awareness
  • increase sales
  • boost profitability
  • capture online wholesale sales
  • expand
  • test countries for expansion
  • try products in certain markets

Each objective again entails a different marketplace strategy. And after that, please always calculate the business case for it.

Does the case fit with my objectives? Unfortunately, the devil is often in the details. The case usually stands and falls with the return rate and the associated logistics costs.

Valerie Dichtl – Founder Marketplace Uni

What distinguishes a good marketplace strategy?

To know the answer to this topic, I have to ask myself certain questions beforehand:

  • What goals do we want to achieve by selling on marketplaces?
  • On which marketplaces do we want to sell?
  • To which countries do we want to sell in perspective?
  • Could our own logistics do this, or do we need a service provider/service for this?
  • Do we have a team and the know-how we need to start the marketplace business?
  • Do we have the budgets and capacities to implement this?
  • Is our management on board?
  • What is the business case, and does it correspond to our goal?

These questions must be answered to start with a good strategy. Since the marketplace business changes so quickly and flexibly, it is also essential to be able to act flexibly in the plan. Requirements, specifications, prices, and capacities can vary from one moment to the next, which is why a system that is too rigid would be a hindrance.

What developments do you think are important not to lose sight of in 2023?

Prices are increasing continuously, especially logistics ones – and the business case often stands and falls with them. Zalando with ZFS, Amazon with FBA, and also the large carriers such as DHL, etc., have already made price adjustments upwards this year, in some cases several times. In addition, the commissions from the marketplaces have also been increased and adjusted in some cases.

Moreover, integration slots are becoming scarce. Some closed marketplaces are currently no longer accepting brands in direct integration. These are then often referred to as full-service partners. The marketplaces themselves have bottlenecks in terms of staff and technical integration. Therefore, a brand can no longer simply say, “I’ll be selling on marketplace xy from season xy.” It’s more about how you can currently integrate your brand where and who has free capacities.


Would you like to learn more about where the marketplace is heading? Then make a note of February 23, 2023 – on this date, numerous exhibitors and speakers await visitors to the E-Commerce Berlin Expo (EBE) in Berlin.