There are many possible changes in store for retailers and manufacturers as a result of digitalisation. For anyone intending to be part of a future-ready platform economy, one of the key things to decide is whether to join a platform or create your own. There are several advantages to active participation on an already existing platform: above all, bundled demand and rapid customer penetration via a single channel. Then again, retailers and manufacturers are worried by downsides such as price transparency, increased pressure from competition, and brand dilution. During the panel discussion at the Unite Seller Conference, Joël Kaczmarek, founder and editor-in-chief of the online magazine digital kompakt, Matthias Müller, product marketing director at Intershop, and Dr Bernd Schönwälder, a member of Mercateo’s executive board, discussed possible platform strategies and the investments sellers need to make to gain a foothold in the platform business.
For niche providers with a USP and market leadership, it may be worth setting up their own platform, says Matthias Müller. But it’s easier to join an existing platform as the challenged faced when entering the platform business are often underestimated. “Becoming a platform means a massive shift in the business model and strategy. Companies have to establish whether they’ve got what it takes and are willing to undergo the necessary restructuring,” explains Matthias, adding that not every company has the budget needed to set up a platform.