Gebraucht.de, the Berlin-based flea market platform, recently revised its business model to be a more attractive alternative to EBay in Germany. It also raised around €1 million ($1.1 million U.S.) from a group of six angel investors.
While the site continues to facilitate buying and selling of used goods only, it now assumes a greater role in the transaction by integrating payment and shipping.
The new model makes the process simple and safe, while keeping the focus strictly on used products – clothing, jewelry, books, antiques, auto parts, household goods, etc.
Since launching in April 2017, the site has gained 20,000 registered users. Its IOS app has been downloaded over 10,000 times, Stefan Tietze, Gebraucht.de’s co-founder and CEO, said in an interview on Wiwo.de last week (here in German). The interest shows the time is ripe for an alternative to EBay in Germany, he added.
The EBay Germany marketplace (with auction function) features a growing number of new products from merchants, and fewer used items listed by private sellers – to the annoyance of some users.
EBay-Kleinanzeigen, the stuff site operated by EBay Germany, also has potential disadvantages: users must arrange shipping and payment directly with each other, and, although listing is free (for up to 50 concurrent ads), sellers are encouraged to buy visibility services (upsells) to increase their chances of success.
Gebraucht.de introduced a marketplace business model that pivots away from both EBay and EBay-Kleinanzeigen: It charges a flat commission of 9.5 percent of the selling price on all transactions – private and professional – and it does not offer visibility add-ons. Prices of items for sale are fixed as listed, and cannot be negotiated. No new items can be listed. But, as-good-as-new items are accepted.
Only articles with selling prices of up to €1,500 can be listed. All listed products must be deliverable by a commercial delivery service, such as UPS, or by a personal pick-up service.
Like Amazon, but unlike EBay, Gebraucht.de takes over the payment and shipping of items. In the Wiwo.de article, Tietze claimed this enables the platform to bring together buyers and sellers “independent of their locations”, which is a move away from the local focus of most stuff sites.
Directly after confirming a purchase through the site, the buyer pays (the site) for the item via credit card or bank transfer. The seller must send the item off within 48 hours. After receiving the item, the buyer has 24 hours to cancel the transaction and return it. Otherwise, the payment is transferred by the site (after deduction of the commission) to the electronic wallet of the seller on the site.
After creating a listing, the seller receives shipping options and prices, and chooses one. When an item is sold, the seller prints out a shipping label, sets up a pick-up time with the shipping firm, and sends the package on its way (large pieces, like furniture, can also be collected).
Sellers and buyers split the shipping costs 50/50. Both sides can track the package’s whereabouts on the site.
In reinventing itself – including adopting a brand new logo — the marketplace attracted some big names as angel investors and advisors. Tietze no doubt had a hand in this. One of them is Marcus Boerner, the co-founder and former CEO of ReBuy, one of Germany’s largest recommerce platforms. Tietze worked at ReBuy as head of business development a few years back. (He was also briefly director of global operations for Auto1.com, the b-to-b auto platform).
It’s easy to see why ReBuy is interested in Gebraucht.de: It buys used goods from consumers and resells them on sites such as EBay – and, now also Gebraucht.de.
Also on board as an investor is Peter Schmid, CEO of Wer Liefert Was, the largest online b-to-b supplier marketplace DACH (Germany, Austria and Switzerland), and a former EBay manager. Other angels are Jan Kemper, finance director of ProSiebenSat.1 (which is growing its classifieds portfolio); Marcus Seidel, CEO of Gutscheine.de; and Kai Hansen and Phillip Hartmann of Rheingau Founders.
Gebraucht.de was founded in 2014 by then-university student Oliver Kaiser.
(Two years earlier, Kaiser also founded Fahrgemeinschaft.de, a ride-sharing and carpooling platform.)
Back then, it operated a typical desktop- and app-enabled stuff classifieds site in Germany, Austria and Switzerland, focusing on local selling. Private sellers could list items for free and paid a commission only when the payment was processed via Paypal. Used goods merchants using the site paid commissions. Shipping/pick-up was arranged directly between buyers and sellers. It was a small player in terms of listings and traffic, well behind German leaders such as EBay Kleinanzeigen, Quoka.de and Markt.de.
Tietze joined Kaiser as co-founder of Gebraucht.de a year ago, to lead the platform’s overhaul. Kaiser is now chief product officer.
It remains to be seen whether Gebraucht.de attracts primarily private sellers, or rather serves as another distribution channel for ReBuy and its competitors, such as Medimops (owned by Momox), and AsGoodAsNew.com (owned by WirKaufens.de).
For now, Gebraucht.de is confined to Germany, but will use the fresh capital to expand to Austria and Switzerland. The company, which employs 20 people, said it plans another funding round later this year.