Typically, online marketplaces are e-commerce websites that are mainly characterized by 2 factors:
However, the abovementioned characteristics exclude price comparison sites on which no purchase can be completed. Considering these characteristics and limitations, we are going to, for the purpose of this article, focus only on the marketplaces that sell physical goods.
Online marketplaces have been gaining popularity for some time. During the pandemic, this trend has further accelerated. By 2023, user penetration is projected to reach 81.5% and is anticipated to rise to 83.9% by 2027.
That comes as no surprise, as online shoppers love to shop in these “one-stop” online malls from the comfort of their homes. In 2021, the revenue of the world's largest marketplaces amounted to a total of $5.5 trillion. Europe generated total e-commerce revenues of $634 billion in 2022.
In Germany, too, the popularity of online marketplaces is also gaining serious traction. steadily. This applies to both customers and retailers. Growing supply and demand naturally result in more sales overall.
Compared to other markets, such as the online marketplace landscape in the Netherlands, Germany is primarily characterized by a strong dominance of Amazon. Nevertheless, some strong marketplaces have emerged in recent years that have become the number one national and international shopping destinations in certain niches. One of these is the German fashion marketplace Zalando.
Let's take a look at the most popular online marketplaces in Germany in terms of visits. The data comes from Similarweb and refers to April 2023.
Like in most Western countries, Amazon is the absolute top dog in e-commerce in Germany. To be clear; 448.9 million visits refer only to Amazon.de. Visits to Amazon.com are therefore not included here.
Amazon is by far the most well-known marketplace in Europe. Selling through this online marketplace guarantees an attractive number of visitors as well as their trust.
In addition to the 170.2 million visits per month to ebay.de, there are another 16.9 million visits to ebay-kleinanzeigen.de in Germany. However, the latter is mainly used by private sellers.
As is the case with Amazon, German consumers place a lot of trust in eBay. The online marketplace is one of the pioneers in this field and is known to almost every online shopper. In addition, eBay also has a high monthly number of visitors.
Otto is a force to be reckoned with in German online retailing and Europe. The Hamburg-based e-commerce company is the largest B2C online retailer for fashion and lifestyle in Europe and is also among the global leaders in other areas of online shopping.
The marketplace Otto market, however, has some relatively strict criteria to be approved as a seller, which makes it hard for many non-German sellers to be accepted. These include:
Otto is a well-known business name in Germany and is considered the largest domestic alternative to Amazon and eBay. As a result, older German online shoppers, in particular, place their trust in the Otto Group. In addition, it is possible for sellers on the Otto marketplace to sell under their own brand name. Moreover, the clear focus on the German-speaking market can be seen as an advantage if this corresponds to your target market.
Zalando is another German online marketplace that has managed to join the international e-commerce elite. Zalando has become the leading online fashion company in Europe. In fact, the turnover of the Berlin-based company has grown by at least 20% annually over the past 10 years. This trend doesn’t seem to stop in the near future.
As a Zalando seller, you must have your own website and offer free shipping and returns.
In contrast to Otto, shoppers on Zalando tend to be younger, but also more willing to buy. In addition, Zalando serves the fashion niche better than any other European competitor at the moment.
Etsy is the rising star when it comes to self-made products. Especially in the English-speaking world, this niche marketplace is increasingly making a name for itself and leads the field of top online marketplaces in the UK behind Amazon and eBay. Comparably, Etsy is also gaining popularity among German shoppers.
One of the biggest advantages of Etsy is its collaborative community. In addition, this all-American online marketplace has a comparatively transparent price structure.
About You was founded in 2014 as a subsidiary of the Otto Group and has since been on a successful path in e-commerce. With its focus on fashion and its youthful, “cool” appearance, About You is in direct competition with Zalando. About You focuses even more strongly on young target groups. In general, the presentation on About You is more emotional than on other online marketplaces.
About You is considered a young, trendy online platform and has a sophisticated logistics concept. The German company is likely to be an attractive alternative, especially for online retailers with a target group below 30 years of age.
Shopapotheke Europe started in 2001 as the online store of a stationary pharmacy in Cologne. Since 2004, non-prescription drugs can be sold online. In the meantime, the online store has its headquarters in Venlo, in the Netherlands. In addition to medications, the product range also includes beauty products and dietary supplements.
The most obvious advantage of this marketplace is the focus and trust of customers in the pharmaceutical industry. Especially in this sector, online shoppers do not take any risks when buying medicines and other non-prescription health-related remedies.
Similar to the previously mentioned online marketplace, Alternate.de specializes in a comparatively narrow niche. The online marketplace is well-known in this community, not least due to its sponsorship of e-gaming. In addition, electrical appliances are also offered.
Here, too, one can clearly speak of the advantages coming from the active community. This makes Alternate.de an interesting option for all online retailers in this niche. After all, the average person who visits this marketplace usually has a clear interest in buying.
Behind Austria and Germany, most visitors come from China (even ahead of Switzerland). Additionally, the website traffic of this marketplace has increased rapidly in recent months and shows no signs of stopping.
The main advantage of Hood.de is its comparatively low cost and fee structure. It is also known as a transparent marketplace sales portal.
Avocadoshop.de is the green answer to Amazon, eBay, and Co. They sell sustainable and preferably environmentally friendly products for men, women, and children. The clear focus is on clothing, accessories, and personal care, as well as home and living products.
The main advantage of Avocadoshop is clearly its sustainable orientation. This attracts environmentally conscious customers, most of whom are not as price-sensitive as shoppers on Amazon, for example.
Online marketplaces are an excellent option to increase e-commerce sales, take the first steps in online commerce or expand into new markets. Nevertheless, running a standalone online store has some advantages over selling on Amazon and the like. These benefits include:
One of the greatest strengths of many marketplaces is having optimized logistics. Amazon in particular has set new standards, from which end customers benefit. At the same time, expectations of fast and cheap or free shipping are rising as a result. This applies to online marketplaces in Germany as well as to online companies and online stores of all sizes.
For most of these companies, it is not feasible to offer a comparable level of e-commerce fulfillment independently and at a cost-covering level.
This is where so-called 3PLs (third-party logistics providers) or simply fulfillment companies come into play. They offer online retailers the opportunity to outsource logistics in order to compete with the “big players” on an equal footing.
Through automated fulfillment processes, from storage, picking, and packing to shipping, everything is done for you. Efficient returns logistics are also taken care of.
In addition, optimized processes ensure that orders are processed immediately and that no time is lost. Shipping millions of parcels give fulfillment companies a relatively large bargaining power over the most popular parcel delivery companies in Germany. Better prices can then be passed on to e-commerce companies.
In addition, 3PL companies like byrd have many different warehouses where you can divide your goods among them. This reduces the shipping distance to your customers, which reduces both shipping time and the impact on the environment. byrd’s fulfillment network is especially relevant for cross-border logistics to minimize proximity to the end customer. Additionally, during seasonal peaks or other bottlenecks (such as during the covid-19 pandemic), you benefit from a resilient supply chain because there is no total shutdown of shipments when one warehouse has to be closed.
Last but not least, with most 3PLs it is also possible to offer individualized packaging and thus stand out from the competition. With customizable packaging, D2C brands can thus leverage one more efficient marketing channel and continue to work on brand building.
byrd makes all of this possible and has a close-knit, high-performance fulfillment network in Germany. In addition, through fulfillment locations in the leading European e-commerce markets, we offer the ability to quickly and easily enter other European countries and fulfill online orders efficiently and easily.