When German footwear brand Gabor Shoes began building out an ecommerce site in October 2016, one of its main objectives was to offer a way for stores—both Gabor franchisees and retailers that sell its shoes along with other items offline—to begin selling online without having to invest in their own ecommerce sites, says Thorsten Bähre, the brand’s head of ecommerce.

While Gabor sells shoes in more than 60 countries, its venture into ecommerce was its first attempt at selling direct to consumers online. That’s why it sought to achieve the delicate balance of supporting its retail partners and selling directly online to consumers. Ultimately, it launched an online marketplace in December 2017 that enables it, along with its franchisees and other retailers, to sell Gabor products online.

“The [marketplace] strategy increases complexity compared to a standard online shop, but it also offers many advantages,” he says. For example, retailers that operate physical stores can generate additional sales without having to operate their own online stores.

With existing marketplaces, such as those operated by Amazon.com Inc. and eBay Inc., Gabor can get lost as one manufacturer among a sea of options, Bähre says. By launching its own marketplace, Gabor can offer consumers the largest possible range of Gabor shoes on the internet. At the same time, it can minimize…

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