This post is by Craig Agutter, EMEA Ecommerce Manager at international currency transfer provider World First.
Online sellers know that marketplaces are a good bet for selling internationally, offering a safe and easy way to reach customers abroad.
But there’s no reason to limit yourself to eBay and Amazon. Europe is full of diverse online marketplaces with large and loyal customer bases.
So in this post, I’ve outlined my top ten alternative marketplaces to consider when trying to sell across Europe.
As Europe’s fifth most-visited online marketplace, Allegro is the one marketplace to consider if you’re trying to reach customers in Eastern Europe.
Located in Poland, Allegro has over 12 million registered users and a massive hold over many of the key e-commerce sectors in Poland. As one of Europe’s fastest growing ecommerce markets and its proximity to other Eastern European markets, online sellers could take advantage of some of the most promising emerging economies by listing on Allegro. However, sellers also need to take into account costs and resources needed for product translations as well as logistics and fulfillment.
Allegro was recently sold by parent company Naspers to Permira consortium for $3.3 billion.
- Great for fashion brands, with their separate Brand Zone channel.
- Ecommerce in Poland is growing by 22.6% year-on-year.
- Allegro has an API, making it easier to list products and deal with customer support queries.
Bol.com is the largest marketplace for all kinds of products in the Benelux region (Belgium, Netherlands and Luxembourg).
It has over 6.5 million active customers and averages over 1 million visits per day. Bol.com is the leading online retailer in the Netherlands for books, toys and electronics – surpassing Amazon. Its strong brand presence means it is very well respected among Dutch consumers.
Selling on Bol.com is simpler than many other large marketplaces. Bol matches all products through their Global Trade Item Number (GTIN) so if you have a GTIN, there is no need to manually translate your listing – Bol does that for you. There are also no fixed monthly fees for your Bol.com account, so you only pay for each item which is sold.
- Large distribution network in the Netherlands with Bol.com’s fulfillment service.
- Bol.com handles all payments, limiting financial risk.
- Commission model based on product type, with fixed rates.
Cdiscount is one of the fastest-growing online marketplaces in Europe. Founded in 1998, it is a subsidiary of Groupe Casino, a French retail group established over 100 years ago. The marketplace allows online retailers to list media, consumer electronics and other products on its site.
Cdiscount is the second-largest ecommerce website in France (after Amazon) with 16 million registered buyers and over €1 billion of sales. Registration requirements are seller-friendly although sellers must have a company registration number, product data and the ability to offer customer service in French.
Cdiscount was covered in detail in Selling on Cdiscount: Your Questions Answered.
- Sellers can register without commitment or contract.
- Cdiscount offers multilingual account managers.
- Marketing tools include strike-through pricing and sales campaigns.
Branded as the online marketplace for “Products with Love”, DaWanda is an online marketplace for merchants selling unique and handmade products, not dissimilar to Etsy.
Merchants looking to sell niche, distinctive products should consider DaWanda, which encourages the sale of items that are responsibly sourced. Like Etsy, DaWanda has focused on building its community and also offers a social platform for sellers and consumers to encourage creativity.
DaWanda has an impressive base of about 5.2 million buyers and around 270,000 sellers. It gets 200 million page views a month and 20 million visitors. Starting out in Germany, the website is now available in English, French, Dutch, Spanish, Italian and Polish versions.
- Emphasis on handmade, distinct, reclaimed, restored, bespoke or made-to-order items.
- Merchants sell directly to buyers and DaWanda takes a fee from the sale.
- Sellers can create and customize a storefront at no extra cost.
Originating from France, but operating across most of Europe, Fnac is a massive opportunity for anyone already selling overseas in the Eurozone. Initially an electronics retailer, they have recently opened up categories in fashion, sports and home goods.
As an established high street brand in France, Fnac has built a strong customer base and its store network makes it a customer favorite.
- More than 750,000 visitors daily.
- Customers can collect their online purchases in-store.
- Sellers can list both new and used products.
Launched in Finland, Fruugo is an international online marketplace. Set up to encourage international selling, retailers on Fruugo can sell to consumers in over 23 countries through one marketplace and get paid in their home currency.
Fruugo is relatively new (only launched in 2010), so their customer base is still relatively small compared to other marketplaces, but it is growing at an impressive rate. Fruugo has grown over 200% year-on-year for the past three years and now averages about 1 million unique visits a month.
It is fairly easy to sell through Fruugo as the platform automatically localizes products (currency, language, VAT) for sellers.
- Fruugo localizes products to the buyer’s language and currency.
- Fruugo checks all orders for fraudulent practices, and takes liability for fraud itself.
- No monthly fees but Fruugo charges a commission between 10% and 15% per sale.
7. La Redoute
Started in 1837, La Redoute is a household name in France and the second-largest seller of women’s apparel. It has also become the top fashion and home ecommerce website in France with over 9.2 million unique visitors per month, stocking thousands of well-known brands. La Redoute has a significant international presence, operating in 26 countries and with more than 10 million active customers.
La Redoute’s marketplace is home to over 1,000 sellers. Sellers are expected to provide customer service in French and prices need to be in Euros. The company’s investment in mobile optimization has paid off, with over 700,000 users accessing the site via mobile applications.
- Display your brand in a dedicated store throughout the purchasing process.
- Listing is covered by a monthly subscription fee.
- La Redoute pays out to sellers three times a month.
PriceMinister is the second most-visited ecommerce site in France. It has more than 9 million unique visitors a month and is home to a wide variety of products, including books, video games, clothing, home and food. In 2010, PriceMinister was acquired by Rakuten, the fourth biggest ecommerce group in the world. (Rakuten’s Japanese marketplace was covered in Selling on Rakuten Japan: Your Questions Answered.)
To sell on PriceMinister, sellers must be able to receive returns in Europe (France preferred) and supply details for a local bank account. Customer service can be in English but products must be listed in Euro.
- Over 22 million registered members.
- Offers a range of extras for sellers including delivery options and training.
- PriceMinister guarantees that the seller is paid and the buyer reimbursed, if the product is undelivered or is defective.
Spartoo is a French ecommerce company that specializes in clothing and footwear. Launched in 2006 as an online seller of footwear, Spartoo expanded into fashion in 2013 and now sells over 1,000 brands of apparel across Europe.
Spartoo launched its own online marketplace in 2014. It currently operates in 30 countries and hosts over 350 merchants. Spartoo is great for online fashion sellers, especially shoe retailers, and gets about 14 million visits a month.
Spartoo has some specific conditions for online sellers including a commitment to deliver products between 2-3 days of ordering, with tracking available. Sellers must also have responsive customer service and easy returns.
- Recognized and trusted seller of fashion and shoe brands.
- Operating in 30 countries.
- Monthly subscription per country and commission charges.
From a humble start in Berlin in 2008, Zalando has grown to be Europe’s largest online-only fashion retailer and is now a German technology institution. Any fashion retailer looking to have a pan-European presence or reach engaged German consumers should be on Zalando.
However, gaining access to Zalando’s 13+ million customer base is not as straightforward as it looks, as retailers have to align themselves with Zalando’s stringent requirements. First of all, Zalando looks for brands that complement their own retail offering, so do your research and find where you could fit in the mix. Zalando also expects third-party sellers to have a registered office in Germany and a valid business license.
- Product listing pages are the only place the seller’s name appears. Priority is given to Zalando’s products.
- Zalando has free shipping and a 100-day free returns policy, which you’ll be expected to offer as well.
Amazon and eBay are great marketplaces for selling general merchandise in Europe, but they are not without competition. In some countries and product categories, their sales are surpassed by stronger local websites. The market is particularly diverse in France, Germany, Eastern Europe and fashion.
So casting your net beyond Amazon and eBay can be a very effective way to reach more customers in the European market – with the same inventory, resources and processes.
I hope this post has helped you identify new channels to grow your business in Europe!
World First helps online sellers preserve as much of their sales proceeds as possible when bringing funds home from international marketplaces. They can be contacted via WorldFirst.com.
World First is currently the highest-rated currency exchange service in the Web Retailer directory: World First reviews.