Being a Marketplace Manager is not a full-time job? Far from it! In the digital age, many brands not only work together with online marketplaces, but also sell themselves on Zalando, Amazon, Otto and Co. The management of an online marketplace may seem simple at first glance, but as is so often the case, the devil is in the detail. From calculating the business case to setting up the respective online marketplaces to marketing, the Marketplace Manager's field of activity is extensive and demanding.
In the end, an expert is needed who holds a permanent position in the company. However, due to the wide-ranging expertise required for this job, the profession as Marketplace Manager is still very rare. To fill the gap of the ever-growing demand, training yourself or your in-house staff to become a Marketplace Manager seems to be the best solution.
But what exactly do you do as a Marketplace Manager and where is your place in the company? Here you will find comprehensive answers about this new job role!
What does a Marketplace Manager do?
As a Marketplace Manager, you are responsible for a whole range of different tasks. In order to find the best possible solutions to emerging issues, it is important to have extensive background knowledge. At the beginning, as an online Marketplace Manager, you are a project manager who builds up the sales channel for your brand. You are responsible for everything that has to be done in this context and ensure that the onboarding runs smoothly. In addition, you are the first point of contact for all internal and external partners and act as an interface to all relevant online marketplaces.
Internal and external point of contact & strategic coordinator
As a Marketplace Manager, you are in charge of setting up your marketplace business, because you are accountable for all matters and details related to it. That means you calculate the business case, you decide which online marketplaces should be considered for onboarding and you determine which marketplace your brand should start with first. In addition, you select the best partners for collaboration, e.g. which middleware or which full service partner is best suited for your company? A middleware, by the way, is a software that runs between your company and the various marketplaces. It guarantees the exchange of data and ensures that the marketplaces are always up-to-date with your product data and the corresponding information. A full service partner, on the other hand, takes care of everything that has to be done in relation to the marketplace business - from data preparation to get your products onto the marketplaces, to logistics and customer service.
Another task of a Marketplace Manager is the handling of logistics and marketing. You should be able to clarify questions such as: Who offers the best logistics solution in your industry to bring products to customers and manage returns? Who can support you with product shootings and marketing?
Part of this selection process is negotiating respective contracts and keeping your superiors in the company informed with decision papers. Since you work with several different in-house departments as well as external partners during and after the set-up process, communication skills are essential for you as a Marketplace Manager.
Strategic expansion & growing marketplace business
In order to grow marketplace business, it is important to stay up-to-date with new trends and emerging online marketplaces. The marketplace business is extremely fast-moving: retailers suddenly turn into marketplaces, existing platforms suddenly put their focus on categories you wouldn't have associated them with before... So you should be vigilant, especially when it comes to expanding to more national marketplaces.
But business doesn't go quiet internationally either. That means you will be confronted with another unique set of rules. Some marketplaces are more open, others are more reluctant to accept new brands. So here, too, you need to make contacts and ensure necessary approvals.
Thanks to your ability to analyse the market and observe competition, you should be able to develop and implement new strategies. In the long run, these skills will help you incorporate your observations into a competitor ranking analysis. This way, you will always have an eye on the market and stay up-to-date.
Operational contact for the fashion assortment
As a Marketplace Manager, you are also part of the operational business. You take care of online orders and plan the assortment for your online marketplace presence. To do this, you coordinate closely with the wholesale team. In particular, you ensure that the budget and order limits are planned accordingly. In order to be able to prepare a budget plan and stick to it, you always have to be well informed about each product's market. That's why it's important that you also keep an eye on inventory and goods management. You must be able to forecast how sales will develop in the future and what is the best strategy for your business.
Assortment planning also includes developing a pricing strategy for all products listed on online marketplaces. After all, the price is a decisive factor in whether a product is sold or not. A potential buyer can always compare prices online, unlike it is the case in bricks-and-mortar retail. Therefore, price plays a central role in online business. However, it is not the only decision criterion for a purchase. The product presentation (content), the availability of goods and the delivery time are also important factors when it comes to selling your product.
Reporting & key figures for a detailed analysis
Reporting and analysis are central tasks for you as a Marketplace Manager. This is because you plan your further course of action on the basis of figures. Important key figures include: Profitability, turnover and the return rate. After you have analysed all relevant figures, you calculate how your online marketplaces should develop and which goals should be achieved. It is your job to draw up a three-year plan and show what opportunities your brand has to become even more successful.
Marketing is also part of the job as a Marketplace Manager
As a Marketplace Manager, you are also responsible for running marketing activities. Depending on the online marketplaces you are on, marketing possibilities vary. Some marketplaces offer self-service marketing, where you do everything yourself, while others have their own marketing team that you work with and allocate a budget to.
In general, marketing on online marketplaces is quite diverse and offers different ways to present your brand to the customer. For example, you may plan the look of your brand store on an online marketplace with the marketing team of your company and coordinate promotions such as Black Friday, Prime Day or Christmas campaigns.
In addition to the above-mentioned marketing measures, you and your internal marketing team take care of so-called performance marketing activities such as Pay Per Click (PPC) advertising. PPC advertising generates traffic for your products on respective online marketplaces, which is optimised to convert into sales. Therefore, you and your marketing team need to know who is your brand's target group, where and how they are looking for products and what buying behaviour they show.
Content and master data management
As a Marketplace Manager, you manage the content and master data for your online marketplace activities. You ensure that your content is up-to-date and, if necessary, you adjust what is outdated. Furthermore, you ensure that all marketplace-specific requirements are met. This can be, for example, adherence to certain dimensions for product images or the omission of certain terms in the product description.
What qualifications are important for the job as a Marketplace Manager?
Most online marketplaces have English as their main language, especially in an international context. Therefore, it is important that you know both German and fluent English, written and verbal. Product descriptions must be flawless, whether they are written in English or German. You also need to be able to communicate and negotiate confidently with partners to make your plans work. Nevertheless, language is not the only qualification you need for the job.
Specialist, technical & digital knowledge
Selbstredend benötigst du im Kontext von digitalen Angeboten für die Fashion-Branche auch Computerkenntnisse. Diese sind Grundvoraussetzung für den Job als Marketplace Manager. Microsoft Excel und Office inklusive Sverweis und Pivot solltest du aus dem Effeff beherrschen. Entsprechend musst du als Marketplace Manager mit diesen Kursen sicher umgehen können. Weil du viele strategische Planungen und Analysen durchführst, sind für dich zudem eine hohe Zahlenaffinität und ein gewisses Analyse-Verständnis unverzichtbar. Hinzu kommt, dass du gerne und sorgfältig und vor allem digital arbeiten und technisches Verständnis für die täglichen Herausforderungen im Job mitbringen solltest.
Personal requirements of a Marketplace Manager
As a Marketplace Manager, you combine strategy, planning, operations and marketing in one person. You are also able to make decisions quickly on an analytical basis. To have appropriate personal skills is therefore quite important for the job. In the field of fashion, a basic understanding of clothing in order to be able to address the target groups accordingly is a further plus point.
Do you have a hands-on mentality? Perfect! Because as a Marketplace Manager you have to be focused and make a lot of decisions. If you are also self-confident, convincing and communicative, these are very good basic prerequisites. Your hands-on mentality will pay off especially in contract negotiations and in discussions with external partners and internal departments.
In the fast-paced world of online retail, it is necessary to respond quickly and adeptly. If you not only want to keep up with developments, but also stay one step ahead of them, you need to have creative ideas and be able to think out of the box. This requires an appropriate mindset and, of course, an interest in innovation. You should also be a good team player, because managing an online marketplace can only work as a team.
"Nice to have" skills as a Marketplace Manager
Besides the basic qualifications mentioned above, there are a few "nice to have" skills that can give you a competitive edge over other candidates who wish to become a Marketplace Manager. One of these skills is prior knowledge of the marketplace business. If you can demonstrate that you have actively applied this knowledge in the past, you will even more stand out from the crowd. For example, if you have already had experience with middleware partners and perhaps worked with their software, this is definitely a big plus for you in the interview for the position as a Marketplace Manager. If you also have contacts to certain marketplaces or marketplace-relevant partners, the door is virtually open to you. Your "nice-to-have" skills are ideally rounded off by an already existing routine in working with industry-standard key figures that relate primarily to the fashion sector.
Facts about the job of a Marketplace Manager
Many large brands and companies are looking for Marketplace Managers on a full-time basis due to the wide range of tasks they have to fulfil. Especially in the fashion industry, there is a high demand for experts, because brands want to expand internationally and follow up on their success by leveraging the potential of online marketplaces. The starting salary as a Marketplace Manager ranges from 45,000 to 55,000 Euros per year and can double with good performance, depending on the company you work for.
What makes the fashion and sports industry special?
The fashion and sports industry comes along with its very own challenges for you as a Marketplace Manager. Just like in DIY or consumer electronics, there are numerous marketplaces that specialise in the sector of fashion and sports. These need to be found and the most relevant ones for your brand need to be identified. In addition, you may not want to sell your entire assortment on all online marketplaces, but curate it according to the relevance of the respective platform.
Of course, you have to coordinate the assortment internally with your colleagues beforehand and write the corresponding orders so that the goods are available at the desired time. Here, the various seasonalities and mid-seasons must be taken into account. In addition, the areas of sports, fashion and shoes have their own category-specific characteristics that you have to take into account, e.g. the return rate. Unlike in other categories, returns are very high in fashion, especially for clothing and shoes. It is important to consider this when creating product-specific content, because the more your description reveals about the product, the lower the return rate. This in turn has a positive effect on your business case.
In addition, in the fashion industry there are usually several variants of one and the same product, e.g. different sizes and different colours. Assigning the different variants to each other and making them easy to find for the customer is a challenge of its own that you as a Marketplace Manager have to master. And if you don't want to take care of this yourself, it is at least your task to find a reliable service provider who has the relevant specialist knowledge and can take care of the handling for you.
As you can see, a Marketplace Manager for the fashion and sports sector has to meet some very specific requirements.
Conclusion: Marketplace Managers have a direct influence on the success of a company
As a Marketplace Manager you have a direct influence on the success or failure of a company. Depending on how good the strategy is that you work out for your company, you will generate more or less turnover from your activities on online marketplaces. You are the central contact person for all internal departments and external partners - both nationally and internationally. You have a lot of responsibility and the online business depends to a large extent on the skills you can demonstrate as a Marketplace Manager. It's a job that demands the best from you, and at the same time is highly fulfilling. Take the opportunity to be one of the first to take on this great new job and become a Marketplace Manager to actively help your brand become more successful!