German logistics and delivery firm DHL last week revealed that they would be shutting down operations on the allyouneed.com marketplace that it had launched in Germany. We covered that story here. And as they said at the time:
From the very beginning, our primary goal was to internally build up our ecommerce expertise in a sector-specific manner and to use this know-how in our logistical core business, because our core competence is and remains logistics. With the marketplace model, we have gathered valuable ecommerce expertise.
– DHL spokesperson
We took that to mean that the experiment had been essentially useful and successful but that DHL were keen to refocus energies on their core, very considerable, business.
Whilst they said that they expected to close down in the second half of this year it wasn’t clear whether the marketplace had a future to not. It’s not a trivial proposition: apparently 3000 merchants sell on the marketplace and it enjoys widespread brand recognition. Since then DHL has clarified that they “are open to any kind of offers.”
Several aspects of allyouneed.com are interesting and may well mean it is an attractive prospect for buyers or investments. They also run local concerns that can provide a city with a bespoke local marketplace for retailers. One German city has been keen to point out that it is keen for its local marketplace to persist if an operator can be found. Local business organisation City-Marketing Bonn in the former West German capital is making encouraging noises.
And DHL has also indicated that it wouldn’t necessarily be walking away inexorably from their marketplace and could continue to make revenues by offering ongoing logistics support. We’ll see how it pans out but the future for this marketplace could be local and that’s an interesting opportunity. Indeed, it’s interesting that there aren’t so many local online marketplaces out there because it seems like an obvious and rich seam.