Marktplaats: sustainable trade made easy | TMT | Deloitte Netherlands

Article

Marktplaats: sustainable shopping made easy

With the holiday season approaching, gift shopping is high on everyone’s agenda. Demand for new merchandise is booming, but with sustainability in mind, do we really need to buy all our gifts new? There are so many nearly-new products that deserve a second life. It takes technology, however, to quickly connect eco-friendly holiday shoppers with the perfect pre-owned present. Technology that has been optimised by the Dutch online platform Marktplaats.

Marktplaats (Dutch for marketplace) started in 1999 at the height of the internet boom. But while many of the first internet companies never reached profitability, Marktplaats has become the Netherlands’ go-to platform for buying and selling used products, with eight million unique visitors a month and around 350,000 new ads every day.

Circular pioneer

Marktplaats is in fact a pioneer of the circular economy. By facilitating reuse of products, it plays a significant role in saving carbon emissions and raw materials. Tech-enabled sustainability is at the heart of the company’s mission and corporate culture, inspiring customers and employees alike. In its video ad for the gifting season — breathing family warmth and continuity — Marktplaats encourages viewers to change the world together by buying and selling their pre-loved toys.

Impressive tech

So how did Marktplaats achieve all this? A key success driver is their high-tech trading platform. Over the 22 years of the company’s existence, the platform has evolved, with tiny tweaks at a time and mainly in the back end, so that customers could easily keep up. To them, Marktplaats offers the same familiar, user-friendly online environment they fell in love with years ago.

In European hands

This platform, indeed, was what attracted interest from Adevinta, the Norwegian-based online classified ads specialist with sites in 16 countries. Enough interest to elicit a bid to purchase Marktplaats from its then owner eBay. A successful bid: as of June, Marktplaats is owned by Adevinta. Since then, Marktplaats has been busy identifying opportunities for futureproofing and accelerating the platform.

Contributing to Europe’s tech future

Through the change of ownership, Marktplaats has become a part of a company that could well develop into a European Sustainable Tech champion. Just the kind of company Europe needs to deliver on its ambition to grow its own vibrant tech sector by 2030. After all, as Europe lacks the tech giants that the US and China have, it is challenged to claim its own role in the global technology space. To do so, Europe must first start working together as one team, and create an attractive climate for tech companies and tech investors. It must collectively decide in what key areas it aspires to outshine the US and Asia. And it has to make a decision soon. One such area could be responsible and sustainable tech innovation. Tech for Good. If this is the direction Europe takes, the presence within its borders of a Sustainable Tech champion like Adevinta will strengthen Europe’s bid for dominance. And Marktplaats, in its turn, strengthens Adevinta.

Shared values

Deloitte is proud to support Marktplaats, a client with values so close to its own heart. Deloitte Technology consultants played a role in identifying optimisation opportunities for the trade platform. The Human Capital team assisted with the formulation of a refreshed set of cultural values in line with Marktplaats’ new vision and strategy, with sustainability at its core. And customer care is yet another area where Marktplaats is running an improvement project, with support from Deloitte’s Customer & Marketing consultants, to enhance the customer experience on its trading platform.

“After working with Deloitte for nearly two years, it often feels like they are part of our business rather than an external consultancy. The way they understand our business, know our people, teams and ways-of-working truly makes an impact.” - Annemarie Buitelaar, CEO of Marktplaats.

Ecosystem

Most important, perhaps, is the window Deloitte offers Marktplaats and its parent company Adevinta on similar companies across Europe. Deloitte has the ambition to be a partner for growth to its clients in this sector, and forge connections between them. By doing so, it hopes to create a European tech community, a thriving European tech ecosystem even, where sharing of knowledge and resources accelerates growth. This envisaged “Technoverse” is where Europe’s future in technology might be shaped — and where Marktplaats is bound to find the perfect soil to grow its business and fulfil its mission: trading goods in a good way, or in other words tech enabling sustainability through consumers.

Listen to this podcast episode (in Dutch) with Marktplaats CEO Annemarie Buitelaar on her company’s sustainable journey, including her own.

Did you find this useful?