The e-commerce merchant market is gaining momentum like no other industry in Germany, but smaller
online shops don’t seem to be getting much out of it. This is because most traders and customers concentrate
on a few trading platforms. Such digital marketplaces are out of the
It is impossible to imagine e-commerce trade without them, because they are constantly available to
everyone and offer an extensive range of products. However, there is a wide choice among the platforms
and which ones support their sales best is up to each person to decide.
The clear multichannel stars on the German retail landscape are Amazon and Ebay. Away from the big
players, such German online marketplaces as Kaufland and OTTO are coming to the fore.
We look at each multichannel provider and what benefits they can bring to your retail business.
Marketplace number 1 in Germany and worldwide, which also implies a lot of competition, especially
since Amazon itself functions as a retailer. However, customers benefit from this strategy because they
have the opportunity to select products at the best price from the range on offer.
The online marketplace is now represented in 14 countries. In Germany, Amazon was the American
company with the highest turnover in 2020 with a turnover of 29.5 billion euros. This year, Amazon is
hiring 5,000 new employees in Germany who will take care of the shipping centres, marketing, finance.
As a trader, you can generate your personal success by adhering to a few points – Amazon offers
excellent infrastructure for this.
Creating your own seller account is relatively easy. The basic monthly fee for sellers is 39 euros. In
addition, there are sales fees of between 8 and 15 per cent, depending on the product category.
Amazon can take over your advertising campaign or provide you with all the necessary tools. With the so-
called Enhanced Brand Content, you can, for example, design your product detail pages in a variety of ways
and insert additional content such as product texts and high-quality images. Approval from Amazon takes 24-
48 hours. The advantage of this function is mainly that EBC product descriptions positively influence the
conversion rate, i.e. the conversion of visitors to your website into potential customers. According to
Amazon, you can increase sales by up to 10 % with this tool.
In the Corona crisis, Amazon was able to accommodate its operators accommodatingly by waiving
the fees due for inventory. This applies to the marketplaces in the US, UK, Germany, France, Italy,
Spain and Poland.
Traders on Amazon have to meet high standards of quality and customer service. Increasing customer
dissatisfaction and negative reviews can lead to the discontinuation of the seller’s activities on the Amazon
With Amazon FBA, Amazon takes care of the storage, packaging and shipping of your goods. Even as a
small merchant with few sales volumes, you can achieve a large reach with this. You also benefit from
better visibility of your products and can sell flawlessly on the European marketplaces. How can you
make use of Fullfilment by Amazon?
After you register for a seller account with Amazon, you tell Amazon which products you want to sell.
Amazon then automatically assigns which warehouse your products should be shipped to.
You then print out the DHL packing slip provided by Amazon on the seller’s central platform and send your
goods to DHL or Hermes. As soon as your shipment is registered in the Amazon has arrived, you can start selling.
Monthly storage costs at Amazon are €26 – €36 and vary depending on the season. Shipping costs depend on
the size, weight and storage location of your product. The more weight and the larger the product, the more
expensive shipping will be.
On the other hand, Amazon makes your work much easier and offers high growth opportunities for your
business. You also don’t have to worry about communication with customers: Amazon provides
competent customer service and handles returns.
Like Amazon, the second largest marketplace in Germany also originates from the USA. In Germany
alone, eBay has 16.5 million active buyers. It is noticeable that not only new products are sold on eBay,
but also second-hand goods or B-goods. As a trader, you can also choose between a fixed price or selling
by auction, which further distinguishes online trading on eBay.
Unlike Amazon, eBay offers its merchants worldwide product sales, which is particularly appreciated by
When you want to set up your seller account, you can choose from three different shop variants:
The Basic Shop is best suited for beginners with small sales volumes. For 39.95 euros, you can post a
maximum of 400 fixed-price offers and 40 auctions per month without an offer fee.
If you’re committed to eBay for the long term and want to grow your business, you can purchase the Top
Shop subscription. The Top Shop allows you up to 2,500 fixed price listings per month. The fee costs 79.95
For professional traders with high sales volumes, the Premium Shop is the right option for trading on eBay.
The monthly fixed costs are 299.95 EUR. In return, you can sell an unlimited number of items and post 250
auctions free of charge.
As with Amazon, a sales commission of between 5-12% is also paid for each product sold.
eBay does not offer a shipping process like Amazon. Therefore, you need to make sure that orders are
completed and shipped to the customer. You can take care of this yourself or hire a third party to do it for
you. However, this involves additional costs.
Kaufland positions itself as “the German player” in the market and was founded when Hitmeister and
Kaufland merged. Now Kaufland.de is a major sales channel for retailers and manufacturers. The website
offers shipping to around 30 different countries and more than 10 different payment methods.
In addition, Kaufland has a Payback programme, which should not be underestimated: for every item
purchased, you receive Payback points, which you can soon use to pay. The listing of articles is free of
charge and unlimited for traders, a commission of between 6.5 and 12.5 percent is charged for a sale. For a
marketing package Kaufland.de charges a monthly fee of € 39.95, for another € 9.95 you can add a link to
your own online shop.
Kaufland’s advantage is the dovetailing of online and offline business, which is to be further expanded in
the future. Currently, it is already possible for marketplace retailers to deliver parcels to the more than
280 Kaufland stores.
For well-known e-commerce retailers, OTTO is an attractive additional distribution channel with not so strong competitive pressure as on other platforms. The expansion of the marketplace has been progressing at a very fast pace since 2020. Now the online platform has two million visitors daily. Potential customers are
both “traditional customers” from the catalogues and customers of OTTO’s subcontractors.
With external brands and its own products, OTTO offers a very large product range. At the same time, the
competition is not very strong. The marketplace currently has around 400 sellers. It is therefore relatively
easy to stand out with your products.
The fee consists of a monthly basic fee of €39.90 and a standard market commission of between 7 and 15
per cent as soon as you have sold an item. The commissions are differentiated differently depending on the
OTTO retailers must meet certain requirements in order to be allowed to sell on the platform. For example,
the retailer’s registered office must be in Germany, the goods must be shipped from a German warehouse
and a German-speaking customer service must be offered.
Online marketplaces are among the most important sales channels on the internet. With the help of a
marketplace connection, online retailers increase the reach of their products far beyond the
boundaries of their online shops and their stationary sales channels. In addition to large global players
such as Amazon or eBay, marketplaces such as Kaufland or Otto act as sales drivers in German-
speaking countries. Which marketplace is the right one for you depends not only on your strategy. The
platforms’ offers to traders also differ significantly. It is important to test different marketplaces with
regard to their suitability for your own sales strategy.