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Online marketplace or rather run your own business?

May 7, 2023

In Germany, a wide variety of online marketplaces can be used to sell one's own products, including Amazon, Zalando, eBay, ABOUT YOU, and others. Especially in the fashion industry, there are many providers who also enable small brands to sell their own products via their platform. The only question is whether you prefer an online marketplace with support or your own individual online shop.

If you want to sell your products via an online marketplace, it's important to inform yourself well in advance. In the following, you will learn everything you need to know about the advantages, functions, and costs of various marketplaces in Germany. With the right knowledge and an experienced partner at your side, you too can offer your products to an international clientele in no time.

What is an online marketplace?

An online marketplace is a digital platform on which various suppliers can sell their products directly to the customer. The online marketplace is the opposite of the classic online shop, where often only one seller appears. Large fashion marketplaces such as Amazon, Zalando, or ABOUT YOU generate large amounts of traffic with their wide range of different products, which is a key advantage for sellers on the platform.

Young start-ups, in particular, benefit from the advantages of the marketplaces. New products and brands can be presented to a large number of potential buyers - even without a big marketing campaign. Logistics and fulfillment services are also provided by some of the large fashion marketplaces. From the development of a product to international shipping, only a few steps are necessary, and new business ideas can be realized within a very short time.

A List of Online Marketplaces in Germany

Amazon is just one well-known online marketplace that has been active in Germany for many years. But especially in the fashion sector, there are many different digital marketplaces in Germany, such as Zalando, ABOUT YOU, eBay, and OTTO. In the following, you will find a small overview of the largest platforms that are particularly active in the fashion industry in Germany.


The world's largest and probably best-known online marketplace, offering products from all over the world and from all industries. About 450 million people visit the website every month, making it an interesting platform for young start-ups to offer their own products on.


Started selling fashion and cosmetics products all over Germany in 2008, Zalando is now active in more than 10 European countries with its online marketplace and can prove high visitor numbers on its websites every month. Becoming a retailer on Zalando can therefore also be worthwhile for young companies.


ABOUT YOU's online marketplace also primarily sells articles from the fashion sector. Various retailers offer their products here and can sell them to customers all over Europe, thanks to the ABOUT YOU shopping app. Especially for start-ups that want to specialize in sales via mobile devices and in the target group of teenagers and young adults, ABOUT YOU can be a sensible choice.


One of the world's largest online marketplaces, eBay offers a wide variety of products from many different industries, including fashion. Sellers can benefit from the platform's large user base and ease of use.


OTTO is a well-established online retailer in Germany that offers a wide range of products, including fashion. The platform has been active for more than 70 years and offers sellers access to a large customer base.

By using these online marketplaces, sellers can benefit from the large number of visitors and ease of use. Moreover, many of these marketplaces offer logistics and fulfillment services, making it easy for sellers to sell their products worldwide.

Selling Products on an Online Marketplace - This Is How It Works

With the right plan, you can start selling your own products on an online marketplace in just a few days. After registering and creating an account on the respective website, you first have to enter your products into the website's catalog. However, almost all large online marketplaces have developed tools for this purpose, which are easy to use and require little prior knowledge. This way, you can quickly and easily create a basic product page. The biggest challenge often lies in the organization of logistics and fulfillment. How do I organize the receipt of goods, warehousing, and shipping? Especially if the chosen platform does not offer any corresponding services, an alternative is needed. Here, external providers for logistics and fulfillment, such as MOODJA, can be the right solution. With an experienced provider, you can organize your logistics in no time at all. If you would like to find out whether and how we can support you, please contact us. We will be happy to advise you.

Registration and Account

Many marketplaces have designed the registration process to be as simple as possible so that it is easy for private individuals to get started. Only a few personal details, such as your address, bank details, and tax number, are required before you can start selling your products on the platform. The process is particularly easy for companies based in Germany, as no international guidelines need to be observed.

Usual costs

The exact sales models vary from provider to provider, but Amazon's information can provide a rough overview of the typical costs. For example, a small monthly basic fee is often charged, which can start at 40 euros per month. In addition, a fee is charged for each sale made, which is usually calculated as a percentage of the sales price. On the one hand, young companies can afford the service, but on the other hand, the online marketplace also profits from the flexible and scalable pricing for large traders.

Processing and fulfillment

Some online marketplaces offer their merchants their own logistics and fulfillment service. For an appropriate fee, the online marketplace then handles all logistics tasks from goods receipt to warehousing to shipping. Alternatively, external providers for logistics and fulfillment can be a sensible option - especially if the platform does not offer a corresponding service or you are looking for a better or more comprehensive offer. We have compiled the costs for external logistics here.

Legal aspects - business and small business

If you are just starting to sell your products on an online marketplace, you will probably have comparatively low sales in the first few months. But this should not deter you! Especially in the beginning, you can benefit from the small business regulation. If your annual turnover is less than 22,000 euros, you can register with the tax office as a small business and be exempt from VAT. You can pass these saved costs on to your end customers and offer your products at particularly low prices.

SEO and Rankings for Online Marketplaces

An online marketplace, such as Amazon, has its own SEO and ranking system, which decides which products are presented in first place on the platform. Similar to Google, the results on the first page are clicked on a lot. So if you want to sell successfully on an online marketplace, you should understand the ranking and use it to your advantage.

The exact way it works differs from marketplace to marketplace, but in general, the ranking is made up of the relevance of a product to the individual search query and the performance of the product. It is therefore important to describe your products with accurate and prominent keywords. Realistic product descriptions and good customer reviews also influence factors such as the click and conversion rate, which can contribute to a positive ranking. Overall, trust good and individual descriptions rather than cheap tricks with keywords. Good ratings or discount promotions make your products more sought-after in the online marketplace, which is ultimately also reflected in the ranking.

But would you rather have your own online shop?

While you can benefit from the high traffic of the website and the existing infrastructures on an online marketplace, there are also aspects that speak in favor of having your own online shop. For example, the fixed monthly costs for your own online shop are easier to plan and your expenses do not automatically increase with higher sales figures. Often, depending on the product, the return rate increases after placement on online marketplaces. Especially with high sales figures and if your brand is already established, having your own shop can be a sensible alternative.

Even if the freedom to design your shop is important to you, you might run into problems with a large online marketplace. After all, your product is embedded in the existing website, and there are only limited possibilities to personalize your page. With your own online shop, there are no limits to your creativity, and you can clearly stand out from the competition.