Gastblog Fabian Berkhof Marktplaatsmodel en oplossingen voor het MKB

Marketplace model and solutions for the SME+ segment

Fabian Berkhof - guest writer -

Marketplaces have become an integral part of our (digital) society, with everyone recognizing and utilizing them. Particularly, it's the major players that have incorporated a marketplace model into their business over the past decade. Both horizontal and vertical models have gained prominence.

Major horizontal marketplaces like and Amazon have seen the addition of numerous vertical marketplaces over the last ten years. Think of fonQ, Blokker, Leen Bakker, and more recently Kruidvat, Praxis, and Media Markt. These vertical marketplaces often leverage Mirakl, the most renowned and experienced provider of marketplace software.

Shift towards the middle and small segment
However, a trend is emerging. It's not just the larger companies considering adding a marketplace model as an additional business model. The demand from the SMB+ segment is growing, particularly in specific sectors.

While the description of such a marketplace is often the same, the underlying drivers differ. This includes expanding the product range, entering new markets, mitigating financial risks, improving internal processes, and better managing inventory. In short, there are many (more) reasons to adopt a marketplace model.

Additionally, most successful marketplaces have originated from an existing platform that expanded into a marketplace model. Building marketplaces from scratch requires a significant (marketing) budget to achieve similar success.

Development of marketplace vendors
A trend is noticeable within providers of marketplace software. Over the past years, numerous new providers have entered the market.

For this reason, Berkhof Digital has compared more than 40 different marketplace vendors to recommend the best solution that aligns with a client's requirements and preferences. This is done completely independently without any commercial ties.

Vendors becoming more accessible for SMB+
The space and opportunities within the SMB+ segment are vast. Especially because the SMB+ segment can offer an experience that is much harder to achieve for larger players. However, not every company in this segment has the budget (or requirements) to opt for a full package offered by major vendors.

This is where vendors aim to cater to, by limiting their model in terms of costs and functionalities.

Integration of a marketplace
Successfully integrating a marketplace model requires a well-functioning IT landscape. A marketplace impacts (almost) all systems of your IT landscape, including PIM, OMS, ERP, CMS, etc.

As a result, companies are often faced with the challenge of future-proofing their technological stack, with the choice between a 'best of breed' and 'best of suite' approach, each with its own set of advantages and challenges.

Furthermore, the platform's continuous development plays a role in the marketplace's success. For example, within the SMB+ segment, you often see platform development outsourced due to the absence of an in-house development team.

Experiment and learn
To ensure you find the product-market fit, it's wise to experiment. Companies can take the freedom to see if their marketplace drivers truly work. However, businesses don't want to overhaul their entire architecture or integrate a vendor offering too many features at a high price.

What are the options for me as SMB+?
There are, of course, multiple paths to success. This is evident from Berkhof Digital's research. Companies like Marketplacer or Octopia now offer the opportunity to develop a marketplace faster and on a smaller scale. Additionally, there are players offering various modules to gradually expand a marketplace.

Local alternatives
If you're looking for a local Dutch company, NextChapter could be an interesting option. NextChapter is the software developer that supports implementation, alleviating concerns. They focus on the SMB+ segment. Their B2C marketplace solution is less extensive than that of Mirakl or Marketplacer, which target enterprises more. NextChapter offers all facets with their ecommerce Suite, such as PIM, OMS, CMS/webshop, enabling SMB+ companies to establish a solid foundation and grow with the marketplace model.

NextChapter is working on evolving their technology from a curated marketplace to an open model. The ecosystem around their technology is also expanding with key players within the marketplace domain. This includes aggregators, PSPs, ERP, and well-known carriers. The suite approach makes replatforming and growing with a marketplace model feasible for SMB+ without overly complex IT projects and at manageable costs, including a licensing model not tied to webshop revenue.

Crystal ball
The future cannot be predicted, but you can influence it by taking steps. The development of marketplaces, software, and the ecosystem will continue to undergo changes. And that's what makes it exciting!

This will provide companies with opportunities to further innovate and thrive in an increasingly fast-paced environment. Experiment, learn, and discover what suits you best.

What suits me?
Whether you're an ambitious start-up or an established player in the market, Berkhof Digital gives you 100% independent advice on which marketplace solution best suits your business and needs.

Are you ready to take the next step in your online marketplace strategy?

Fabian Berkhof Marktplaats expert verteld over NextChapter eCommerce SuiteThis guest blog post was written by Fabian Berkhof: Independent consultant for companies regarding marketplace integrations.

Would you like to know more about this topic or are you interested in Fabians marketplace expertise? Then feel free to contact him.



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Fabian Berkhof ZZP marketplace adviseur voor e-commerce bedrijven Fabian Berkhof - guest writer
Marketplace expert