June 22, 2021

How Brand Manufacturers Can Manage Messy Online Marketplaces


In early 2021, Forrester, in partnership with Vorys eControl, conducted a survey of brand manufacturer executives about their digital commerce strategies. The first Digital State of Brand Manufacturers Study included questions about brands’ focus on direct-to-consumer sales, wholesale dot-com relationships, and online marketplaces. Responses were received from 140 decision makers at organizations across Asia Pacific, EMEA, Latin America, and North America.

As brand manufacturers develop their digital sales, the first “State of Brand Manufacturers” study found that online marketplaces have become a significant part of brands' digital strategies. In fact:

  • 77% of brand manufacturers say their online marketplaces are growing faster than their traditional wholesale business
  • An average of 27% of brand manufacturers' sales are now digital, including online marketplaces, direct to consumer (DTC), and wholesale dot-com

However, they also note that marketplaces pose several business challenges. The study found that brand manufacturers are concerned about managing online marketplaces in terms of:

  • Gray market and counterfeit issues
  • A lack of consumer data
  • Channel conflict with traditional retail

To address these challenges and take control of their marketplace identities, brands can use some of the following tools and approaches:

  • Bolster Direct-To-Consumer (DTC) selling
  • Select a subset of products for marketplace distribution
  • Use eControl to manage distribution, both online and offline

To learn more about how to address these challenges, download the full report here.