By Greg Zemor, co-Founder of marketplace distribution solution Neteven
With eBay and Amazon dominating so much of the ecommerce sphere, it would be easy for UK retailers to assume that they are the only players that matter. In fact, the international retail scene is far more diverse. For UK retailers looking to expand their brand and reach new customers in Europe, one of the best strategies for creating visibility is through a multi-channel strategy. Integrating with relevant European marketplaces allows retailers to tap into the customer base and marketing power of cross-border marketplaces whilst having time to focus on other important tasks such as pricing and fulfilment. Indeed, more than 200 online marketplaces have proven their popularity and variety in the European ecommerce landscape.
With more than 300 million customers, European marketplaces are real key destinations for a successful expansion, but retailers do need a very well-rounded and researched online strategy to make an impact. Consumer habits in France, Germany, Spain and the UK all differ. The main issue for UK retailers is having a tailored approach to overcome these differences and ensure the pan-European appeal of their products, which is why different online marketplaces can be used for different types of items. If you’re considering launch onto European marketplaces beyond Amazon and eBay, the first step is to become familiar with some of the major local online marketplaces:
Rakuten group is one of the largest online retailers in gaming and media products worldwide. It is the main competitor of eBay. The marketplace has a very strong audience in media and consumer electronics but is experiencing a growing demand for apparel too. In the UK, Rakuten.co.uk (ex Play.com) scores 20 million members and more than 10,000 professional sellers. The British platform offers several advantages to third party sellers such as competitive sales commission rates and no listing fees.
Launched in 2012, the Tesco’s marketplace records more than 9 million unique visitors per month and provides customers with a large variety of products ranging from baby care, home and garden, sports and leisure, toys, fashion and jewellery. This marketplace has a high sales potential thanks to its huge customer base.
La Redoute specialises in fashion, home accessories, technology and furniture. After launching its marketplace in 2010 it is now the most popular fashion marketplace in France, receiving more than 10 million unique visitors each month and 11 million active clients in 26 countries. This platform targets customers with a relatively high spending power (€95 is the average basket).
Fnac is one of the leading distributors of technology and cultural goods in Europe. Fnac has an established international renown with 145 shops where customers can now collect their online purchases. It is one of the fastest growing marketplaces in the European ecommerce landscape, enabling retailers to sell new, used and refurbished products.
Zalando is a world-renowned fashion e-commerce website. It is the largest online retailer of fashion in Germany. Part of their success has been built around high levels of customer service, which includes free delivery and returns. Created in 2008 in Germany, Zalando primarily sells shoes, but it has since extended its offering to clothing, accessories, sports items and luxury products. Zalando operates in 15 European countries and receives more than 14 million customers across Europe. This marketplace enables cross-border retailers to benefit from a wide-reaching distribution service in France, Germany and Italy. Only new products may be sold on this platform.
European leader in the online sale of shoes and fashion, this site has seen exponential growth over the last eight years and has over 14 million unique monthly visitors in Europe. Spartoo offers etailers an internationally renowned brand and reputable customer service. Only new products may be sold on this platform.
Galeries Lafayette is a major player in France, operating in the fashion, luxury, beauty, watches and jewellery, leisure, home and food sectors. The site has over 3.5 million unique visitors per month and targets young and active buyers, of which 90% are female and aged between 15 and 45, with an average online basket spend of 93€.
Tmall Global is part of the Chinese ecommerce giant Alibaba Group. The marketplace Tmall Global allows international brands and retailers to sell on China’s largest third-party platform with very few constraints. For example, overseas companies without Chinese business licenses are still eligible to apply to sell on Tmall Global. Orders can be shipped from outside China, and customer payments are settled in the preferred origin. Tmall Global has hundreds of millions of people visiting its platform every day.
These marketplaces represent massive opportunities for UK merchants, but each has their own way of working with merchants and integration regulations can vary widely from one to another. Before launching, it is important to gain a strong understanding of your audience, product structure, order management system and expectations. Properly managed, these marketplaces will present huge opportunity for online retailers.