The Berlin-based e-commerce giant and visionary has recently made public a roaster of new initiatives to expand its “platform strategy,” where fashion brands and retailers can integrate their e-commerce and offline stock to the Zalando platform. Here’s a sum-up to keep you in the loop with the e-tailer’s fast paced development.
- Zalando is partnering with the H&M Group: The Weekday brand will soon be available via the Zalando platform. This marks a further step in Zalando’s integration of vertically integrated fast fashion retailers: In February, Oysho was the first Inditex brand to be sold via Zalando.
- Nike has joined Zalando’s partner program, meaning that the sportswear giant will now sell and send its own e-commerce stock directly to Zalando customers without any intermediary. The partner program currently counts more than 170 brands, including Bestseller, Adidas, Mango and Superdry.
- Schuhe.de, an online sales platform that serves as sort of a “digital shop window” to more than 1,450 affiliated local German footwear stores, is another new member of the partner program. The schuhe.de assortment currently encompasses more than 100,000 styles by 850+ brands which could soon be accessed by Zalando customers.
- In an attempt to offer more and more B2B services to its brand partners, Zalando is launching Zalando Fulfillment Solutions. This way, Zalando partners can hand over logistical jobs from goods receipt to returns to the e-com expert and benefit from its giant European logistics network (currently encompassing eight logistic centers in five countries). Currently, customers in Germany, The Netherlands, Spain, Austria and France are delivered to via Zalando Fulfillment Solutions with more markets to follow. For the start, Zalando partners Bestseller, Elvi, Evita, Motion Fashion and Surf4shoes will make use of the offer. Zalando Fulfillment Solutions is another service initiative for partner brands which can also make use of Zalando’s Brand Solutions or Media Solutions offers.
- Zalando is also connected to the local stationary stocks of four Berlin-based Tommy Hilfiger stores. A pilot project will enable Hilfiger styles that have been ordered online to be shipped from the local stores directly, prospectively leading to a same-day-delivery.
So far, Zalando has integrated the Berlin-based Bodycheck store and two Adidas stores to its platform. Via integrated e-commerce provider Gaxsys, around 60 further retail stores across Germany are connected, too.
- Zalando has entered into a joint venture agreement with Danish fashion enterprise Bestseller United for the shared (equal) ownership of FashionTrade.com, a B2B online fashion wholesale marketplace that was founded in 2015 with the financial backing of Besteller. With Zalando’s additional funds, FashionTrade wants to become an international online leader in B2B fashion marketplaces, and also offer data insights for partners to improve their margins.
- Under the headline “Zalando Build,” Zalando is seeking to create a better and more personalized customer journey by integrating new technical solutions into the Zalando fashion store. These could be: product recommendations, size recommendations (calculated by Artificial Intelligence), extra content (such as partner videos, inspirational influencer content, social/community content) that is seamlessly integrated into ONE app, conversational shopping (speech recognition), etc. Under build.zalando.com, start-ups and entrepreneurs are invited to join them on the “journey to reimage fashion yet again”.
- New fashion forward mid-price brands to debut on Zalando in 2017: Finery London, Envy by Samsoe Samsoe and up-and-coming Danish fashion brand Norr
- Things to happen at Zalando’s Bread & Butter event in September: Archive exhibition with Vivienne Westwood, fashion shows by Topshop, Topman, Hugo, The Kooples (among others), more exclusive product launches (such as a designer collaboration with Vans). Brand Marketing VP Carsten Hendrich says, “Berlin is our focus, but I wouldn’t space out that we ever create a spin-off somewhere or further develop Bread & Butter digitally.”
And finally, some quotes.
Rubin Ritter, member of the management board, on growth:
“We currently have a market share of 1% of the fashion market in Europe. Our aim is to reach a 5% share (regarding the shoe market in the German-speaking countries, we are nearly there).”
“Despite being a billion Euro company, we still have that small company feeling.”
“Our mid-term aim is to double the company again until 2020.”
“We are in 15 markets right now and want to foster these, but we have developed something that could also be applied to markets outside of Europe.”
David Schneider, member of the management board, on new potential:
“We will definitely stay true to fashion, but that does not mean that we do not move into new segments AROUND fashion, like premium labels, sportswear, beauty….”
“We have 20.4 million active customers so by now it is clear that we do not only look for new customers, but make sure the existing ones are as active as possible.”
“We have an availability problem! This can be fought with three things: The integration of offline stock (80% of fashion stock is hanging in stationary retail somewhere!), fast replenishment (work with brands which run fabric libraries such as Zara) and predicting the future (look at fashion-forward cities, show customers pieces for pre-order).”
“Our aim is to have all our brands become part of the partner program.”
“You have to think customer-centric, otherwise someone else will.”
“We never had an overstock problem!”