limango was founded in 2007 and has established itself as the leading shopping platform for families in Germany after just a few years. As a subsidiary of the Otto Group, limango operates a closed online shopping community and the open shop limango.de. For a good two and a half years now, limango has also been selling partners’ articles in the shop. These articles are permanently available and supplement the product range in all categories that are relevant for families.
With this marketplace strategy, limango expands its range and further strengthens its position as the number one platform for young families. In an exclusive interview with Tradebyte, Martin Oppenrieder, Co-Founder and Managing Director at limango, reveals how their switch to a marketplace model has changed customers’ shopping experience and what makes their marketplace stand out.
Tradebyte: Since autumn 2019, limango has been operating a new online shop. How has this changed the shopping experience for your customers?
Martin Oppenrieder: The core shopping experience and our drive have remained unchanged ever since limango was founded: We limangos do everything we can to understand the wishes of our customers and their families, and in order to track down exactly those brand products that are important in their everyday life. We make sure that our customers can buy the products they trust at an affordable price, and that they can discover new top brands.
With the partner program (marketplace) in addition to our shopping club, we can now offer our customers, most of whom are mums, a real shop with a deep and wide assortment.
People talk a lot about the »limango Shopping-Club«, but that is only a part of your business. Your marketplace and your partners are at least equally important to you. What is the difference between Shopping-Club and shop?
The Shopping-Club features new exclusive sales events each day. The goal of these events is to inspire our customers. In addition to well-known classics, we are always on the lookout for convincing and innovative new brands.
We want to offer top brand products at the best prices. Our partners grant us exclusive deals because we sell their products within a closed community, in limited quantities, and only as part of limited-time promotions. The limango price promise guarantees our customers that we offer the best price for all articles featured in our promotions.
For a good two and a half years now, we have also been offering our partners’ permanently available articles on limango.de. Taking a closer look at one of the core principles of the shopping community, the reasons behind this become clear: limited-time sales campaigns. With an assortment of top brands and products from selected partners, we are expanding our portfolio of permanently available articles into family relevant niches. This availability, width, and depth of the product range would not be possible without the partner program. Thanks to our partners, brands that have not worked with us in the promotional business before are now available on limango.de for the first time. Since the price sovereignty on the marketplace lies with the partners, they now also offer current seasonal goods at market price. Before, we could only offer these goods to our customers with considerable delay, if at all.
The great thing for partners is that they can also sell their articles via the limango promotional area. That way, they profit by advertising a brand or a segment of their product range in our newsletter, which is sent to about 2 million customers every day. These promotions can, for example, mirror the promotional offers from the partners’ own shops and thereby accelerate their sales. Thanks to the automated processes and interfaces of the marketplace model, Tradebyte partners can update prices quickly. They could, for example, still participate in a promotion that is scheduled for the day after tomorrow. Many partners also use the closed area to compile special limango offers, which, of course, go down particularly well with our customers.
Can you go into a bit more detail about what the marketplace business means to you and what advantages your shop holds for your partners and customers?
The marketplace business drives the growth when it comes to offering our customers a wide, deep, and innovative range of products.
For our partners, limango has two main advantages:
(1) The target group »Family« – no other German platform stands for this target group as we do. Every 5th family in Germany has already shopped with us. If partners want to reach this target group with their offers, be they fashion, shoes for children and adults, toys, or home decor, then limango should be the first marketplace to connect.
(2) Cooperative partnership – we are a closed, curated marketplace and choose our partners and product range very carefully. We work closely with partners who offer articles that are relevant to our target group, and which our customers request. We are interested in a cooperation-based partnership designed for long-term continuous development. Our partners value this cooperation at eye level and our close relationship.
At limango, the purchasing needs of our mums and dads come first. They drive our shop. We try to personalize our offers more and more so that it is easier for our customers to keep track of them. The trust and loyalty of our customers are the foundation for our growth. From my own experience, I know that parents have little time when managing a family – our sales events can help in this regard if they are communicated to the right person at the right time.
Which categories is your marketplace assortment focused on, and who are the typical limango customers?
The lion’s share of the marketplace assortment naturally revolves around strong limango categories such as fashion and shoes – children need regular replacements because they are constantly growing. But Home & Living and toys also drive our assortment. In the past, for example, we could only offer the occasional remnant article in the categories »prams« and »children’s car seats«. But thanks to our marketplace partners, we now offer a wide range of well-known brands. Simultaneously, we have begun to offer drugstore items such as electric toothbrushes. As with every category, we make sure that the assortment is coherent and fits the target group.
How has your marketplace developed over the past year, and what are your plans for its future?
The marketplace and the team have developed rapidly over the past few months. At the beginning of 2019, about 120 partners with roughly 75.000 articles were live. Today, there are already more than 220 partners and over than 160.000 articles. The team has almost doubled in size in the past months – about 25 colleagues acquire new partners, connect them to the marketplace, and provide support.
We want to continue expanding the marketplace. Our partners will form the central building block for the shopping experience and the further growth of limango.de.
Which technical and logistical requirements must limango partners meet?
The basic prerequisites are more or less the same as for any marketplace: The partners should be able to handle direct shipping to end-customers and accept returns themselves or via a service provider. Since customers have high expectations regarding the shopping experience, product data quality and post-sales processes are, of course, central to us. Partners must have their shipping and returns processes under control and must be able to respond to inquiries quickly if our own customer service cannot solve them. Our customers are used to that level of service from limango, and we expect the same from our partners. We are interested in a cooperative partnership. That means we are looking for partners who take the time to work and coordinate with us regarding the product range.
On April 1st, you will hold a webinar with Tradebyte and your parent company myToys. What topics will be discussed, and who should register for it?
In principle, all brands, retailers, and interested parties who have articles in their portfolio that are relevant for the target group “family” and who are looking for opportunities to grow should register.
We will present what the myToys Group as a whole stands for, what the focus of the individual shops is, and what it is that defines our target group, the young family. But it is also about showing that it is not enough for a brand or retailer, to sell on Germany’s largest marketplaces: Everyone needs to consider the added value, the business model and target group of each marketplace they are active on. Comparing one’s own marketplace goals to the ways in which the respective marketplace can support them regarding the target group and business model is a task that is, in our opinion, strongly neglected.
Our target group and our limango business model with sales event business and open shop are unique – the added value they provide to partners, and how we can increase the growth of brands after the listing on zalando, About You, and Otto, are the webinar’s core topics.