While online stores remain an important building block in e-commerce strategies, they are increasingly being eclipsed by marketplaces in terms of sales. Moreover, the aftermath of the pandemic is reinforcing the trend, as more companies are now establishing a presence on online marketplaces, making the offering more attractive to customers.
With the help of industry representatives and exhibitors such as Amazon, eBay, Samsung, HomeTiger, Allegro, gominga, Kaufland Global Marketplace, E-Commerce Expo Berlin (EBE) and GFM Nachrichten took a closer look at where online marketplaces are headed and what developments to be prepared for in the coming years.
The figures speak for themselves: in 2021, more than one in two e-commerce euros in Germany was spent on marketplaces, with gross sales of €50.5 billion (source: bevh). This represents a further significant increase in sales compared with 2020 (€42.1 billion). EHI and Statista arrived at even higher figures in their study E-Commerce-Markt Deutschland 2021, estimating the gross volume of goods in 2020 for Amazon Marketplace alone at €35.4 billion. They were followed by eBay (€11.8 billion) and Otto (€5.5 billion).
Starting point for the customer journey
Thanks to extensive portfolios, the greater convenience, more standardized logistics, and other aspects, increasing numbers of consumers are now tempted to start their customer journeys on marketplaces when they are looking for certain products. What’s more, they often buy products immediately on the respective platform.
Retailers must therefore extend their marketing and customer service efforts much more to marketplaces if they do not want to miss out on potential new clients and retain existing ones. According to Miro Morczinek, founder of HomeTiger (active in Germany as moebel24.de), advanced marketplaces focus not only on the entire buying process but also on product and brand presentation. They enable sellers to portray their offerings in numerous media, supported by:
- live streams
- meaningful reviews
- mobile-first experience
- branding stages
Therefore, sellers should work together with professional service providers in order not to lose an overview and to maintain a professional image.
Review management on marketplaces, for example, opens up completely new options. It provides authentic insights into the customer perspective, facilitates dialog with buyers, and is also highly interesting for other areas.
By systematically evaluating reviews, product management and marketing were brought closer to customers – explains Marcus Nessler, Head of Customer Experience at Samsung.
The company relies on the gominga Review Manager, which can focus on marketplaces and the increasing number of other touchpoints. They know that no matter how modern the possibilities are, the basis must be right – after all, even the best PR cannot fix a bad offer.
For Arnaud Gueutal Valion, Head of Central Europe Advertising GTM at eBay, compliance with sales standards is an essential prerequisite for selling well on the marketplace: This includes reasonable shipping costs, friendly communication, accurate item descriptions, good prices, and so on. But, of course, it’s just as important that all listings are of an excellent standard, meaning they need high-quality photos, a meaningful title, and a good item description.
Own marketplaces as an opportunity
Small merchants may also find it worthwhile to open their own marketplace, despite the presence of big competitors. This is especially true if they serve a particular niche where other products may also be in demand. For example, a specialized supplier of charcoal may be able to lure customers with proper barbecues, spices, or cookbooks, without having to keep these in stock themselves.
One can also take an example from beauty retailer Douglas, which offers additional products of smaller brands but only on its marketplace and never ordered directly to physical stores.
In addition, the EBE exhibitor supplements its usual standard range with thematically appropriate offers from the areas of:
- nutritional supplements
- more recently, medications
Focus on international expansion
Miro Morczinek, founder of HomeTiger
You can see a video of Miro Morczinek’s speech at EBE here.
To avoid leaving interesting revenue sources, retailers should not only focus on the national level if possible. According to a study by Juniper Research, global sales in cross-border e-commerce will rise from the current $1.9 trillion to $2.1 trillion in 2023. Internationally operating marketplaces help reduce the complexity of selling in other countries and offer localized service to customers there.
This does not have to be limited to eBay or Amazon: Kaufland, for example, is launching its Kaufland Global Marketplace for 2023, enabling it to reach not only German but also Czech and Slovakian consumers in an initial step.
The popular Polish online marketplace Allegro has also recently taken a more international approach. The company now allows merchants to ship to 25 countries in Europe through its current four-language site (Polish, Czech, Ukrainian, and English).
Companies selling on marketplaces need to make sure they stand out well by taking full advantage of each marketplace’s unique capabilities, supporting a variety of content and data formats, and optimizing their sponsored media campaigns with marketplace-specific goals – said HomeTiger founder and E-Commerce Berlin Expo spokesperson, Morczinek. Briefly summarizing some of the most important aspects for successful marketplace commerce – If marketplace selling is a real priority, then sellers need to sell on all available marketplaces in all relevant regions.
What else needs to be considered, and what individual services and conditions do the individual marketplaces offer to interested sellers? You can learn about it at the upcoming E-Commerce Berlin Expo (February 23, 2023) from exhibitors, partners, and speakers such as Allegro, Amazon, Douglas, and MediaMarktSaturn.
In our additional interviews, Marketplace Uni founder Valerie Dicht gives important tips in advance regarding current developments, Dr. Markus Schöberl describes successful strategies for the Amazon Marketplace, and Julia Lehnkering explains the qualities of the Kaufland Global Marketplace.
Want to learn more about marketplaces and what to look out for? Do you want to establish business relationships with some of the most popular payment providers worldwide or deepen existing ones? Then mark your calendars now for February 23, 2023 – on this date, numerous exhibitors and speakers await visitors to the E-Commerce Berlin Expo (EBE) in Berlin.