Who are the main competitors of Mirakl

Marketplace fever in online trading: Amazon and Ebay are facing more competition

From the perfumery chain Douglas to the grocer Rewe: More and more retail chains are expanding their online shops into marketplaces where third-party suppliers can also offer their goods or services. "A real marketplace fever has broken out in retail", observes e-commerce expert Gerrit Heinemann from the Niederrhein University of Applied Sciences.

  1. CureVac Real Estate GmbH, Tübingen near Stuttgart
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The model is the online department store Amazon, which, according to the Online Monitor 2019 of the German Retail Association (HDE), now accounts for almost half (46 percent) of online sales in Germany with its own range of goods and its marketplace. The remarkable thing about this is that the majority of the business is no longer accounted for by proprietary trading, but by the countless third-party providers who sell their goods on the Amazon Marketplace.

The marketplaces are playing an increasingly important role in online trading. "More than 57 percent of the most successful online shops sell their products not only via their own website, but also via online marketplaces such as Amazon, Ebay or Real"says Lars Hofacker from the retail research institute EHI in Cologne. The undisputed number one in the marketplace ranking is Amazon, which is used by 47 percent of retailers as an additional sales channel, followed by Ebay in second place with 37 percent.

Real increased its online sales

No wonder that others want to copy the model or develop it further. The supermarket chain Real, for example, was able to increase sales in the online segment from 380 million euros to 608 million euros in the past financial year, not least thanks to the opening of its own shop to other providers. Now an international online marketplace network with partners in France, Italy and Romania is to give the project additional momentum. The grocery retailer Rewe is now also adding offers from selected partners such as the decoration supplier Butlers or the toy retailer Mytoys to its own online offering.

The question is, however, whether the mere expansion of the offer is actually enough to stand up to Amazon in the long term. The trade expert Heinemann has serious doubts. "Building a successful online marketplace is considered by experts to be the greatest challenge of all", he says. The main problem is that most would-be competitors don't get nearly the same number of visitors as Amazon or Ebay. That makes them comparatively unattractive for third-party providers. "There is no great need for further online marketplaces. Amazon and Ebay are completely sufficient for most small retailers."he thinks.

Douglas has big plans

This is why the established companies want to outdo other providers in the marketplace segment with a more far-reaching strategy. Germany's largest perfumery chain, Douglas, which already makes almost 30 percent of total Internet sales in this country, wants its own online presence "to the central beauty platform in Europe" expand, as CEO Tina Müller confidently announced. In the Douglas marketplace, customers will in future not only receive products from selected external partners in addition to their own offers, but will also be able to book service offers from hairdressing appointments to manicures.

Torsten Toeller, the owner of the Fressnapf pet supplies chain, is also pursuing very similar plans. The Krefeld company missed the start in online trading. On the Internet, the rival Zooplus makes significantly more sales today. But by 2025 Toeller wants to expand Fressnapf into a platform that not only sells pet food and accessories, but also with its shops, apps and online offers for practically all problems of pet owners, from advice on buying to medical care to arranging a dog sitter Answer should provide.

To this end, he also wants to work with external partners. Toeller predicted that building the platform would be expensive when the plans were announced last year. "But that's a good thing. Because our competitors can't afford it."

Looking for tailor-made solutions

The EHI online expert Hofacker considers such service-oriented strategies to be very promising. "The point is to offer tailor-made solutions for customers' problems as far as possible., he says. "Amazon is a very convenient shopping machine, but it is far from being optimal for all customer problems."

Regardless of the current start-up fever, Hofacker also sees only limited potential for new marketplaces. "In the end, only a few platforms will survive in every area - whether beauty, electronics or cars."