Growing Business with Marketplaces in Germany – Taking a Look at the Options

Most marketers think about Amazon or eBay when it comes to marketplace development for any country.  However, there are lots of different marketplace partners and models worth considering in the international arena – especially if you are planning to expand in Germany. Successful marketplaces span the gamut, ranging from generalists to specialists and from brand-relevant to performance-relevant platforms. Identifying and deciding on the best suited partner options before diving into operations and integration is a must.

In general, marketplaces have different positionings and can serve a number of purposes.  Therefore, we like to first look at marketplaces in terms of marketing objectives:

  1. Push Brand – the marketplace has high reach in the product segment and allows for piggybacking as a partner on the marketplace’s own campaigns.
  2. Trust Building – the image of marketplace serves as support for the brand image
  3. Targeted Visibility – target group specific marketplaces let you penetrate specific target groups
  4. Reach – employ well-established marketplaces to spread the word about your brand to as many users as possible
  5. Performance – directly drive sales by executing your own campaigns on the marketplace

While there are marketplaces that serve several purposes, some are only relevant for specific objectives. Especially if you are looking for a mixed purpose approach, potential marketplace partners may greatly differ between your home market and Germany. Here is an example of the marketplace options for a premium childrenswear brand that wants to generate awareness:

 Selected Marketplace Options for a Hypothetical Premium Brand

Once the goals and options are transparent, it is essential to assess the potential of the marketplaces based on the relevant categories, partner and target group volumes in the specific category. As a partnership may work just fine for consumer electronics it may underperform for beauty categories. In addition, a domestic marketplace may have great reach and relevance for the home country but significantly lag development in Germany.

Of course, before delving into a big exercise, it makes practical sense to simultaneously check the contraints and put them on a time scale for when the constraints can be overcome.  This provides a useful filter to manage the options short, medium and long-term. Specifically, quite a few marketplaces are closed marketplaces that curate their partners.  Brands need to enter into a partnership agreement first and fulfil technical requirements. By the same token, data management and product availability on datafeeds are a universal topic that must be tackled either in-house or by an outsourced solution.

Another subject often overlooked, is webshop functionality. Although many marketeers believe that the website plays a lesser role for a marketplace approach, it is a central information and brand building source for customers. As German customers are notorious for having a high demand for trust and security features, it is key to address those cultural aspects.  Click here to learn more about the topic and get access to our website audit guide.

Last but not least, when products go live, it’s critical to create awareness on the marketplace itself in order to put the marketing Euro to work.

A lot of things to consider.  We can sort it together. Please feel free to reach out.



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