August 2021 | latest update: 08.09.2023 | by Lili & Felix
Even though Amazon is a worldwide name, there are still some countries on the globe where the e-Commerce giant isn’t the biggest player. So if you’re considering going beyond the safety of the American-turned-global marketplaces, follow our three-part series on lesser known yet still important online marketplaces.
But since we’re online brand protection experts, we can’t ignore the potential dangers a marketplace poses for brands. Typically, these dangers like counterfeiting and grey marketing exist even if your brand is officially not present on a marketplace. So it’s worth taking a look at our list, even if you don’t want to enter a market.
Who knows, maybe your products are already there?
Having acquired real.de, Kaufland became one of the bigger players in German e-Commerce. The marketplace offers a wide selection of products ranging from groceries through car parts to electronics, and has about 58.8 million monthly visits.
As we reported earlier, this marketplace offers products by third party sellers, which allows counterfeiters and grey marketers to slip in along with honest and authorized sellers.
Interestingly, many of those third party sellers come from China. Since many shoppers are under the false assumption that when shopping at kaufland.de, they’re shopping the selection of the actual brick-and-mortar stores, not a lot of people realize they may end up with fake products from China.
Over 59.1 million monthly visits make bol.com the biggest Dutch online marketplace. With an annual sales value of 5.5 billion euros in 2022, bol.com can definitely be considered successful. Similarly to Amazon, bol.com displays a wide range of products in many categories ranging from electronics to fashion and toys.
Also similar to Amazon is bol.com’s business model of offering products both by itself and by third party sellers. This may give opportunities to malevolent sellers, including counterfeiters and grey marketers to get their products in with genuine, authorized goods. Luckily, we haven’t seen a lot of counterfeits on this platform. But when we did, takedowns were always fast and easy to achieve.
Screenshot of a bol.com result list with products offered both by the marketplace and third party sellers
Coming in close second in the Netherlands is Marktplaats, with 40.5 million monthly visits and an estimated $20 million annual revenue. Maarktplats mostly offers classifieds containing second-hand items listed by consumers, and even apartments for rent.
This business model allows IP-right infringing sellers to reach the public and may pose a danger to brands’ copyright. We’ve come across a few cases, but since sellers are easy to reach, our investigations have always proved to be fruitful. Besides, the platform works with us on takedowns without an issue.
Another marketplace of classified listings (and owned by eBay), Gumtree allows people to list their second-hand items, services,
Screenshot of the homepage of gumtree.com
As with other classified platforms, the risk of IP infringement is high and brands should take steps to protect themselves, even if they can’t be present on the platform. We discovered that seller information is not readily available. Also, some people use it to sell their print-on-demand T-shirts, which is another potential IP-infringement hazard for brands.
With 10.94 million monthly visits and an annual revenue of $22.7 million, Ricardo is one of Switzerland’s most popular B2C marketplace that also hosts C2C classifieds. Sellers offer a wide array of products here, including home decor, cars, jewellery, fashion, and even antiques and works of art.
Ricardo allows sellers to put their products up for auctions, instant buys, or both. The exchange of payments and products takes place off-platform and sometimes in person, which means these transactions are very hard to trace. This way, sellers of fake products have a better opportunity to conduct their business.
Although sellers need to verify their accounts, information about them is not readily available. Nevertheless, takedowns work quite well.
Screenshot of the homepage of ricardo.ch
As we reported earlier, Allegro is the most popular e-Commerce platform in Poland. It offers a wide range of products from electronics to home decor and boasts 198.62 million visits per month. With a net revenue of over 9 billion zloty in 2022 (around 1.95 billion euros), Allegro is a force to be reckoned with in Poland.
Offering products both by itself and third party sellers, Allegro is prone to the same problem of counterfeiters and grey marketers slipping through the cracks and getting an audience. Luckily, sellers’ information is readily disclosed and takedowns are easy to achieve for us.
Not quite the same goes for the classified section of Allegro, allegrolokalnie, which displays only seller names and no further information. We’ve encountered various types of counterfeits here as well as cracked software products.
This marketplace is a popular online auction site and marketplace in Hungary, not dissimilar to eBay. Vatera has 3.8 million monthly visitors and an annual revenue of $3 million. The platform offers the usual eclectic variety of products typical for an auction site, including electronics, baby items, furniture, books, home decor, and even real estate for sale.
As the case often is with a platform hosting a large array of sellers, fraudsters and people with less honest intentions have opportunities to slip in through the cracks and get access to consumers.
A marketplace of C2C classified ads that also allows businesses to list products on the platform, shpock boasts 10 million active users per month and a monthly sales value of over 100 million euros.
Screenshot of shpock.com selling miscellaneous items in various currencies
As on any marketplace where products come from numerous, mostly unchecked sources with little information provided ahead of the purchase, the chances of counterfeit products appearing on shpock are quite high. Since the actual transaction of buying takes place offline, it’s even harder to track down fraudulent sellers.
In fact, shoppers don’t have an actual “buy” button but have to reach out to sellers and negotiate prices, payment and pick up. Communication with sellers is sometimes slow and burdensome, but brand protection experts have to tough it out: many of our test purchases resulted in us finding stolen or fake items. Luckily, we have excellent cooperation with the marketplace and they’re swift when it comes to enforcement.
Fun fact: the main competitor of this marketplace is the hilariously named willhaben.at, which roughly translates to “I want to have it.”
The most popular marketplace of classifieds in the country, Kupujemprodajem has 13 million monthly visits and around $5 million annual revenue. Interestingly, with less than 25 full-time employees, the company can be considered a small business.
As other C2C marketplaces, Kupujemprodajem offers a wide variety of mostly used products and services, like car parts, electronics, books, pet supplies, or even holiday and job offers. This large array of products and sellers is not without dangers; bad quality goods and fakes can get a place among the honest listings and cause damage to brands and consumers alike.
Straddling the Bosporus, Turkey is quite literally the bridge between Asia and Europe. This great mixture of cultures is visible everywhere in the country, including its e-Commerce.
With 206.2 million monthly visits and $37267.9 million net sales generated in Turkey in 2022, Trendyol is the biggest online marketplace in the rapidly growing Turkish e-Commerce landscape. Its success is acknowledged by investors as well: at its latest financing round, Trendyol has received 1.5 billion from sources like General Atlantic, SoftBank Vision fund, and Princeville Capital.
The marketplace offers a vast array of products in many categories, including groceries, electronics, fashion and cosmetics.
Screenshot of the homepage of trendyol.com
As the largest player in a growing market, Trendyol often helps local as well as international brands wishing to enter the market succeed. While this is definitely good for small brands and the economy in general, it also helps sellers with less honest intentions, like counterfeiters and grey marketers to a lucrative platform.