Consumers purchased over $1 trillion worth of goods via online marketplaces in 2016, according to an Internet Retailer report. That was nearly half of all e-commerce transactions globally.
As an online seller, you’re probably seeking to explore new markets that will boost business and allow you to reach new potential customers. And with online sales in Europe expected to increase 13.8% to over €302 billion in 2018, expanding into that area is a no-brainer.
While Amazon and eBay dominate, a plethora of alternative European marketplaces are worth considering.
What: Home goods, kitchenware, clothing, baby items, sports equipment.
Where: Eastern Europe
How much: Commissions and fees are determined using their toll calculator.
Customer profile: Active customer base of 14 million.
Key requirements: Product listings and customer service must be in Polish.
Recent updates: In March 2018, Allegro introduced a chat feature to enhance its customer service.
What: More than 9,000 partner merchants offer products in over 40 categories, including home goods, toys, furniture, baby items, sporting and electronics.
Where: Over 150 countries around the world
How much: A monthly subscription costs €39.99 and commision starts at 5 percent, depending on the product sold.
Customer profile: Cdiscount has positioned itself as a discount retailer, offering big name brands for less such as Samsung, Apple, Michael Kors, Gucci and Lacoste to 8.6 million active customers.
Key requirements: Customer service must be offered in French and sellers must be on their country’s Register of Companies and regularly registered with the relevant tax and social security authorities.
Recent updates: Cdiscount is rolling out a digital platform that will allow its sellers to participate in auctioning advertising space on Cdiscount as well as other websites in order to reach new audiences.
Who: French retailer Fnac operates the country's third most visited e-commerce site, after Amazon and Cdiscount.
What: More than 10 million electronics and entertainment products from brands such as Samsung, HP, Canon, Huawei and more.
When: Fnac launched its marketplace in 2008.
Where: France, Belgium, Spain and Portugal
How much: Monthly subscription of €39.90, plus variable commission based on products sold (including shipping and VAT) ranging from 8 percent to 14 percent. There are no listing fees.
Customer profile: Fnac has more than 12.4 million unique visitors per month and the average basket size of its client base is high.
Key requirements: Listings and customer support are required to be in French.
Recent updates: The retailer’s recently announced partnership with Google Home means that customers can explore Google products and services through the Fnac website.
Who: Otto is the second largest e-commerce company in Germany, behind Amazon, selling €2.7 billion worth of goods in 2017.
What: The site carries some 1.8 million items from about 6,800 brands in categories such as clothing, furniture, kitchenware, toys, household items and electronics.
Where: Operates in more than 20 countries, including Austria, Belgium, Netherlands and Russia.
How much: There is a one-off registration fee of €10,000 and commission ranges from 15 percent to 50 percent. That being said, there are no membership or listing fees.
Customer profile: Otto has 6.6 million active customers, mostly aged between 25 and 55, and 9 million registered users. Products range from affordable to premium. Top brands include Only, Nike, Bosch and Philips.
Key requirements: In order to become an Otto seller, you must have a minimum of 100 products, previous marketplace or e-commerce experience and your content must be translated into German.
Recent updates: Otto is currently testing and preparing to launch its new augmented reality (AR) app, which will allow customers to virtually view their furniture selections in 3-D. Customers simply point their smartphones at the floor and select the 3-D option to instantly see how their furniture will look when placed in the desired location within their home.
#5. Rakuten PriceMinister
Who: Rakuten PriceMinister, owned by Japanese giant Rakuten Group, is the fifth most visited e-commerce destination in France.
What: Everything from new and used books, electronics and home and garden items to shoes, handbags, health and beauty.
When: PriceMinister started in 2000, was acquired by Rakuten in 2010 and rebranded in March 2018.
Where: Rakuten PriceMinister has customers in 20 countries, including France, Belgium, Switzerland and Canada.
How much: Professional seller accounts start at €39 a month, while commission ranges from 4 percent to 22 percent, depending on the product category.
Customer profile: The marketplace has 22 million members and 9 million monthly active users. In the women’s apparel category, for instance, the offering spans high-street names such as H&M, Vero Moda and Only to sportswear from Adidas and Nike.
Recent updates: Rakuten is launching its own cryptocurrency, dubbed Rakuten Coins, based on blockchain technology and its existing Super Points loyalty program.
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Who: Formerly known as Hitmeister, Real.de is Germany’s third biggest online marketplace.
What: More than 14 million products in over 7,000 categories including home and garden, electronics, fashion, accessories, camping and baby items, among others.
When: Relaunched in 2017.
Where: Real.de ships to 30 countries
How much: The basic monthly fee is €39.95, plus VAT, and an additional €9.95 is required to connect to your online store. Third-party sellers enjoy free unlimited listings. Commission (charged on the total price, including shipping) ranges from 6.5% for computers, electronics and household appliances to 12.5% for media items. There are no fees to cancel your account.
Customer profile: Real.de boasts 10 million monthly visitors as well as 6.5 million customers.
Recent updates: Real.de has become the main partner of the German Hockey association in an effort to promote its awareness for nutrition and fitness.
What: Nearly 16 million items in more than 20 categories including electronics, toys, books, baby items, health and lifestyle products, jewelry and accessories, sports and leisure.
When: Founded in 1999, Bol.com launched its marketplace in 2011.
Where: Belgium and the Netherlands
How much: There are no monthly fees, start-up costs or listing fees and sellers only pay a commission for what is sold. Bol.com’s cut ranges from 5 percent to 17 percent, depending on the item.
Customer profile: The marketplace has almost 8 million active customers in the Netherlands and Belgium.
Key requirements: Sellers are selected through pre-qualifying questions that can be found here. Only legal products are allowed and a license for products offered is also a requirement.
Recent updates: As of April 2018, Bol.com has joined in collaboration with Pets Place (the largest pet shop in the Netherlands) to sell a wide range of pet products. Pets Place sells home and farm animal products including food, shoes, pet homes, clothing, and other pet equipment.
Who: French marketplace Spartoo is a household name in its home country and across most of Europe.
What: Shoes and clothing.
Where: Operates in 30 European countries, including Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France and the UK, and services customers in 12 different languages.
How much: Monthly membership fee is £35 and commission ranges from 15 percent to 20 percent. There are no listing or one-off registration fees.
Customer profile: With 450 million users, Spartoo’s core demographic is women ages 30 to 40.
Key requirements: Spartoo will only work with sellers who can offer a minimum of 250 SKUs.
Recent updates: Spartoo has just entered a partnership agreement with shoes.de meaning that retailers can now offer their good via the online retailer Spartoo aswell.
Who: Zalando is a German e-commerce company based in Berlin, with satellite innovation hubs in Helsinki, Dublin and Lisbon.
What: Over 1,500 fashion and footwear brands, from high street to high end, for men, women and children.
When: Launched in 2008
Where: Operates in 15 European countries (soon to be 18), including France, Italy and Belgium.
How much: Commission is 8 percent per sale.
Customer profile: As of Q317, Zalando had 22.2 million active customers, attracting over 200 million visits per month.
- Offer products in the following categories: clothing, shoes, sportswear, and equipment, accessories
- Free delivery and returns
- 100-day return policy
- Shipping with UK-based delivery service Hermes
This online platform is looking to partner with brands that complement its own wholesale offering.
Recent updates: According to a press release, Zalando is aiming to increase sales by as much as 25 percent in fiscal 2018.
#10. La Redoute
Who: La Redoute is one of the most popular online stores in France.
What: Mid-range and premium fashion and homeware, equally split between its own brands and external brands such as Adidas, Superdry, Mango and Petit Bateau.
When: Founded in 1837, La Redoute launched a marketplace in 2010.
Where: The company has a presence in France as well as in 26 other countries.
How much: A monthly subscription is €49.90 and there are no listing or one-off fees. Commissions are 8 percent to 20 percent.
Customer profile: La Redoute has over 11 million registered users, 90 percent of whom are female. Its core demographic is women aged 25 to 45.
Key requirements: La Redoute calls itself a curated marketplace and as such is highly selective when it comes to third-party sellers. Merchants must either be brand owners or authorized to sell the brand and, if selling more than €35,000 annually in France, must register for VAT with French tax authorities.
Recent update: La Redoute is one of the 2,000 platforms in Europe that have introduced MangoPay, a crowdfunding payment method to their shopping cart options.
Choosing the right channel to further your reach into Europe is a great way to get in front of a new audience. And while Amazon and eBay are excellent selling platforms, branching out to explore alternative European marketplaces can ultimately improve your visibility and reach, which in turn will improve sales.
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