Size of the Prize

Europe offers a broad range of fashion focused marketplaces, some of which focus on individual countries, while others cover the majority of the EU region. Here’s a selection of some of the strongest:

Although all these sites stock a selection of fashion lines, their focuses are not all solely fashion based and this can lead to a different niche of customer:

  • Discount led – Privalia; eBay, Allegro, Afound
  • General – Amazon; Allegro, eBay
  • Lifestyle led – Otto; La Redoute; El Corte Ingles; Galeries Lafayette
  • Fashion led – Zalando; AFound; Spartoo
  • Premium/Luxury – Farfetch; Harvey Nichols
The top four fashion marketplaces are Amazon, Zalando, Otto and eBay so we’ve pulled together a few key stats to show what you can expect from each of the sites and give an indication of which might be best suited to your business:

Different Operating Models

Before delving any further into the topic, it’s important to establish what we mean by a marketplace, by comparing it with other ecommerce models:

  • Wholesale – forward orders plus in season orders by retailer (John Lewis are known for his model)
  • Online concession – Stock managed by brand, warehoused and sold by retailer (Next offer this model)
  • Dropship – Individual orders sent from retailer. Retailer seller of record. Brand fulfills. (Very offer this model)
  • Marketplace – Order received from Retailer. Brand seller of record & fulfills from own warehouse or 3PL/Marketplace (Amazon sell most of their products through this model)
  • Ecommerce – brand sales through brand site
Each option offers different benefits that may make them more attractive, dependent on your position as a seller and your logistical setup. Additionally, there are clearly some drawbacks to each channel which may limit their applicability to your business:
Businesses with a strong B2B focus tend to prefer wholesale or online concession platforms, whereas those with a strong D2C model would usually sell through a dropship or marketplace channel.

Marketplace Options

Within the marketplace model there are various different management options available:

  • Fully outsourced – partner sells on consignment
  • Hybrid – internal brand/product knowledge working with external channel specialist
  • Fully in house – all elements of marketplaces managed internally

Integration options can also vary hugely depending on your current data quality and internal systems (listed from manual to fully integrated):

  • Manual process & system updates
  • Semi automated process using flat files/FTP
  • Leveraging existing 3PL/FBA for stock & orders
  • Direct integration (multiple integrations and upkeep)
  • Working with a channel management system (one time integration)

Additionally, specifically on Amazon there are a number of different operational options (some of which will change from 2021):

Tips and Tricks for starting your journey

Selecting a marketplace:

  1. Define – objectives, global priorities, scope by marketplace
  2. Assess – model mixture of scenarios by marketplace to see contribution
  3. Select – select operating model that suits – fulfillment, tech and resource
  4. Prioritise – create scorecard and revenue projections by marketplace to help create a roadmap

Planning your proposition – make sure you have a clear vision:

  • Research your competitors
  • Integrate marketplaces into your marketing plans
  • Review search trends where possible
  • Speak to marketplace directly where possible
  • Think about listing history – continuity products easier to build and grow
  • Go for sales data over speculation – test and learn
  • Ensure your policies are best practice and viable
  • Ensure your pricing is relevant to the marketplace

Recap

  1. The global opportunity for marketplaces is significant for fashion
  2. Review the websites and understand their business models available
  3. Choose the right operating model for you
  4. Plan your launch proposition to ensure it is relevant by site
  5. Look after your brand, listings and account metrics – this is competitive and dynamic

We have years of experience introducing fashion brands to marketplaces and growing their accounts – if you have any questions or want to know how to get started, just get in touch with sales@richinsight.co.uk and we’d be happy to help.