‘I Am Sure That We Are One of the Most Merchant-Friendly Marketplaces’

How do you attract partners to something that doesn’t even exist yet? METRO MARKETS did it with a strong vision, a team with know-how and the will to grow alongside its partners. Erdal Karacaer, Seller Business Partner, talks about the lessons learned in the initial phase of the METRO Marketplace. 

In August 2018, the new METRO subsidiary METRO MARKETS took up its work – initially behind the scenes. Similar to a start-up, but with the security of the group and experienced visionaries who knew exactly where the journey was heading. ‘Our CEO Philipp Blome, for example, had already proven with real.de that a marketplace can be highly scaled within a very short time,’ says Erdal Karacaer, whose job was – and still is – to bring retailers on board as partners for the METRO online marketplace. The task was to identify and approach merchants who understood both the e-commerce and the marketplace business and who could give impetus to a young platform. They had to be merchants who know hospitality customers and their needs through and through. ‘Simply listing products is never enough,’ says Karacaer. ‘You have to understand how to appeal to the customer and give them every bit of information and service they need for a fulfilling shopping experience.’

According to a survey, 57% of all online sales worldwide were made via marketplace platforms in 2019. ‘And yet the customer wants the same feeling there as they get in the shop,’ Karacaer notes. ‘They want to be met where they are and understood – and we are very good at that.’ The corona pandemic gave a big boost to digitalisation in the restaurant industry. Guests order and pay online – and the restaurateur orders the packaging via METRO Marketplace, for example.

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People from 36 nations work at METRO MARKETS. They share more than one common goal: besides dedication to the greatest cause – the success of the customers – these include respect, humour and a great love of sweets.

‘It's all about trust’

Growth only works when you do it together

In the beginning, the partners’ products were entered by hand, but it quickly became clear that the process had to go faster. Today, the merchants list and manage their products via a digital interface. They only pay the sales fee once the customer has made a purchase. For METRO MARKETS, the merchants are just as important as the customers who buy products via the platform. ‘I am sure that we are one of the most merchant-friendly marketplaces out there,’ Karacaer says. And growth works best together, with both partners working toward the same goal: to be a partner to the hospitality industry. 

‘Our vision is to become one of the largest food service marketplaces in Europe – with the ambition to fulfil our customers’ every need in a one-stop shop,’ Erdal Karacaer says, summing up what drives him and his colleagues. Since hospitality is an industry with many faces and individual needs, it’s not only generalists who have the opportunity to reach customers via the METRO Marketplace, but also merchants who serve special niches. Because if the customer doesn’t have to search through umpteen online shops or travel from A to B to C in brick-and-mortar retail, they are very likely to come back again. And again. And again.

His colleagues call Erdal Karacaer – an industrial engineer by training – ‘Marketplace Techie Kid’. He is passionate about innovative technologies and disruptive topics. When METRO MARKETS came knocking on his door, he thought, ‘If METRO is taking this on, it’s got to be good.’ In the development phase of the METRO Marketplace, he was responsible, among other things, for working out the commission model.

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