Europe holds great potential to brands which sell their products via online marketplaces mostly because of the fact that Europe means both: selling domestic (inside the EU) while getting direct access to new countries, markets and thereby to a great amount of new costumers.

And this is where also the challenge lies: Despite its political unit and common cultural heritage Europe is a fragmented market when it comes to online trading. 23 languages, 15 different currencies, a lot of small and medium sized merchants, different payment methods and high return rates.

For managing complex stakeholder relations most brands lack the necessary market know-how thereby loose the control over their products and marketplace business in Europe.

Even those who managed to choose the right market entry models and strategy for their expansion and got access to all major closed marketplace such as OTTO, Zalando, AboutYou and to their buying department and a professional key accounting still often fail to manage the complexity of shop operations & logistical processes.

The biggest challenges that brands are facing are:

  • Negotiating contracts with every marketplace individually without having existing relationships to the procurement departments
  • Setup IT interfaces and technical infrastructure to every marketplace
  • Setup of a scalable B2C logistics and operations
  • B2C-Multi-Language-Customer-Service and Debtor management
  • Managing stock, order and return management
  • High return rates especially in the fashion sector
  • Creating the necessary brand awareness by optimized customer experience and targeted marketing management
  • Monitoring and reporting of financial investments/resource allocation and daily operations

The wide reach and the extensive market size are two key arguments to sell via online marketplaces in Europe. But the reality shows that most brands lack money, know-how and internal capabilities to do so.