No platform strategy yet? Attention latecomers!

Sales and information platforms already grew at an above-average rate in pre-Corona times. These times of pandemic have further intensified this development. In order to remain viable in the future, companies must be prepared for these changes. In doing so, they should not wait, because digital connectivity is not a quick fix. We show what is happening in the area of platforms and what is important for the development process.


Pandemic and lockdown are pushing e-commerce and platforms to whole new levels. Amazon, a giant in any case, increased its sales in Germany by a third, while Zalando grew by a quarter in terms of sales and by 50% in terms of profit.

‘Traditionally’, European companies are poorly positioned when it comes to platforms. Only 12 of the Top 100 platforms have their home in Europe – moreover, they account for only 3% of the value of the Top 100. If nothing changes, Europe will continue to fall behind.

Movement within the platform latecomer that is the packaging industry

When we last reported on the platform status of the packaging industry two years ago, we could only report on initial, tenuous attempts. In the meantime, there has been some progress.

  • Matching platforms connect supply and demand. Example: Pack Part
  • Online printers are offering an increasingly wide range of packaging solutions.
    Examples: Labelprint, Flyeralarm
  • Specialized dealers serve specific target groups such as commercial customers.
    Example: Packster
  • Packaging specialists focus and serve targeted niches such as sustainable pouch solutions. Example: Packiro
  • Information platforms focus on individual products and bundle information on specific topics. Example: Label Experts

How can companies benefit?

Platforms offer great opportunities for companies in the packaging sector. Basically, two paths are open to them.

  • Participation in existing platforms. This requires a corresponding platform suitability of the company.
  • The development of an own platform to distribute own products and, if necessary, also products of other companies.

Risk control and tools for platform success

The risk of revenue cannibalization through platform activities cannot be denied. Although it is still relatively low at present, it is likely to increase in the future. Nevertheless, it is essential for the survival of companies to open up to the idea of platforms and to prepare for the changes that will inevitably take place.

Precise observation and evaluation of the market is crucial for success. The important questions on the checklist include:

  • Is it possible to use the platform in its own market?
  • Are competitors able to implement platform strategies?
  • Are customers increasingly relying on platforms?
  • Are the company’s own IT systems platform-compatible?

Time won’t tell, as there’s a backlog. 

Digital connectivity is not a hasty reaction. The fruits are rich, but they are difficult to reach. The platform process is undoubtedly long and complex. But it can ensure the survival of the company. It is important for companies to evaluate their own options now. Those who take their time will soon fall behind uncatchably.

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    Matthias Giebel
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