OTTO interview | “We plan to provide cross-border sales”

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OTTO Market is the second most popular online store in Germany. The platform has recently transformed itself into an online marketplace. Kim Niedner, Head of Sales and Partner Portal at OTTO, answered Lengow’s questions.

According to the EHI Retail Institute, OTTO is the top-selling online store in Germany after Amazon.de. How do you assess the development from a pure online store to a marketplace with OTTO Market?

The development from a retailer or pure online store to a marketplace is a special challenge for OTTO—we even consider it the biggest transformation in the company’s history. To ensure the best possible implementation from the customer’s point of view, we first worked out points of differentiation and strengths in our positioning. In this way, we created a brand positioning based on the values of fairness, personal and inspiring. That is our aspiration, and that is where we want to go with otto.de as a platform. With these values as a basis, we offer added value for our partners and for our customers. We are also constantly expanding our product range and presenting more and more brands and services on the platform.

Which retailers and brands can currently sell on OTTO’s marketplace? What is there to consider in the process?

Currently, we only connect merchants with a German legal form and a German tax number. We want to connect partners as quickly and easily as possible from the beginning. If, for example, you have to deal with an extract from the Latvian commercial register, we lose valuable time in which we can already enable other partners to sell. We are also currently focusing on product ranges in the areas of Fashion & Lifestyle, Furnishing & Living, Technology & Media, Sports & Leisure, and Garden & DIY. We are working on being able to map an increasingly broad range of products on the marketplace over time, but there are also product groups that are completely undesirable in line with our values. These include products from the military and weapons industry, products with feathers, or made from live-plucking or real fur.

We also ensure that retailers comply with our Declaration on Sustainability, which is linked to certain Otto Group values and standards. Our responsibility includes fair production conditions from suppliers and the sustainable use of resources. This path is not always easy, but in our eyes, there is no alternative. We place high demands on our partners.

OTTO is a German company and makes most of its sales in Germany. Are there plans to become active across Europe as well? Will foreign retailers also be able to sell on the marketplace soon?

We also plan to enable sales on otto.de beyond national borders. Currently, in addition to a German legal form and a German tax number, retailers must ship their goods to our end customers from a German warehouse. If retailers ship from abroad, we do not currently accept them. However, we are currently in the process of setting up and testing the infrastructure so that shipping from foreign warehouses, such as Poland, no longer represents a hurdle.

What tips do you have for brands and retailers who want to start selling on OTTO?

Interested retailers and brands should definitely visit our website www.otto.market. They will find all the information about OTTO Market, requirements, assortments available, and they also have the opportunity to register as an interested party. Registration is completely non-binding, but it is necessary so that our sales team can contact you to clarify some questions and discuss the next steps for a connection. Would you like to start with OTTO?

How did OTTO experience Covid-19? A total boom or also a major challenge?

Covid-19 was and is challenging for OTTO.

However, due to our business model, we were fortunate to come through this strange time better off than, for example, brick-and-mortar retail. Covid-19 has given a strong boost to online retail as a whole, and OTTO has also grown significantly in recent months. In the past 12 months, we have gained almost 2 million additional active customers compared to the same period last year and now have 9.4 million active customers. We are very grateful for this and are working hard to meet the challenges it brings in the best possible way.

Are you interested in OTTO Market and would like to sell your products there? Lengow makes it easy for you to connect to the marketplace. Just get in touch!

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Naomi Botting

Senior Communications Manager - UK, Northern Europe, China