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From weekly market to online marketplace: IT and logistics make the difference

Guest post

Borgholzhausen, March 1st, 2022 – Imagine a weekly market. Apples at a stand, the cheese counter right next to it. This has tangible advantages – for buyers as well as for suppliers. The first group finds various product categories combined in one place and saves additional trips to different stationary shops. The second group uses the market stall to increase the presence of their own offer in heavily frequented places and can thus appeal to a larger clientele. And what works in analogue also has potential in digital. All online marketplaces work according to this principle. So that everything that works on the market around the corner (and even more) is possible online, retailers and their logistics service providers have to take a few things into account, as Doreen Schumm, Head of Market Place Sales at, and our managing director know Stefan Brinkmann.

“Marketplaces are currently experiencing an enormous boom. There are now more than 170 online platforms in the DACH region alone,” reports Doreen Schumm from Your portal is also included. And not only the number of online marketplaces is increasing. According to the current online monitor of the Handelsverband Deutschland e.V., the relationship between the online activities of retailers in their own online shops and those on external marketplaces is also shifting – in favor of the platforms. Using several sales channels is just as worthwhile in electronic business, as it is advisable for “traditional” retailers not only to feed a weekly market, but to offer their goods for sale at several points of contact: “Only those who are active on as many platforms as possible at the same time will become permanent be successful in e-commerce,” says Doreen Schumm. The reasons for this are easy to understand. “The large reach and the high number of visitors to the marketplaces usually lead to a significant increase in sales among retailers,” describes Doreen Schumm. Because, according to the marketplace expert, addressing new target groups broadly enables retailers to gain new customers outside of their shop that they would not otherwise reach. Coupled with the usually low monetary entry thresholds without high upfront investments, it is worth entering the marketplace. Not to mention that the market criers in the form of platform-specific SEO marketing and Co. digitally exist at the same time.

Critical Factors: Real-time inventory and estimated delivery dates

But what is still easy to handle on the analogue marketplace poses challenges for online retailers in the digital space: If a customer comes to the fruit stand, he or she can see at a glance whether there are still enough apples in the display. In such a case, customers look online at the stock display in the online shop or the marketplace. “Three items still available,” they read, for example. And since they don’t have direct insight into the real-time inventory in the warehouse, they have to believe that information. Keeping inventory information up-to-date in real time in your own online shop is one thing. However, it will be a different matter if retailers follow Doreen Schumm’s advice, offer their articles on various platforms and thus have to enable inventory synchronization in real time across all connected sales channels. “This can no longer be done with manual updates in the merchandise management system or in the warehouse management system. Even if the stocks in your own shop are accurate, the interfaces to the external marketplaces are often still missing,” explains Stefan Brinkmann. Such silo IT solutions make fulfillment more difficult, because precise availability information has long since become an important purchasing criterion for online customers.

These isolated solutions also prevent the correct indication of the expected delivery time. “Because the system does not know that I have just sold my last five items on a marketplace, nor does another connected system know that new goods are just arriving and will be shipped later. What follows are disappointed consumers who don’t get what the retailer or the marketplace promises them,” says Stefan Brinkmann. Stefan Brinkmann advocates end-to-end solutions so that the retailer can play open cards with the customer when it comes to inventory, specify the exact delivery time and thus contribute to customer loyalty in the long term. According to Brinkmann and Schumm, such a system must be able to take various order sources into account, map the logistics process from the order to the last mile in real time, and offer retailers and marketplace operators a tracking option for the status of logistics processing and transport give to the hand.

If this interaction of retailers, marketplace operators and logistics service providers is successful, then it’s almost like at the weekly market: the customer gets exactly what he sees – or maybe even a little more.

5 tips from B+S and for successful marketplace strategy and logistics

  • select the marketplaces in the jungle of sales platforms that best suit your own range, offer suitable inclusive services and supportive customer service
  • critically examine your own company for logistics and IT resources and competence
  • check existing IT systems for their interface potential and replace them if necessary
  • establish open and transparent data transfer between retailers, marketplace operators, logistics service providers and end consumers
  • check sales and logistics strategy regularly and scale capacity if necessary to avoid inventory and delivery bottlenecks