Building a future-proof organizational framework: learnings from Camper and VF Corporation

How do I set up my company for digital success? Andreas Roedl, VP Category Men at Zalando, recently met (virtually) with experts from Camper and VF Corporation to discuss exactly that.

Transitioning from a purely wholesale to a hybrid model on Zalando has accelerated growth for both Camper and VF Corporation, and that road to success has been filled with a lot of learnings along the way! To explore this further, Andreas Roedl (VP Category Men, Zalando) sat down (virtually) with Sito Luis Salas (Chief Commercial Officer, Camper) and Andreas Olsson (Group Digital Director, VF Corporation) to discuss what kind of capabilities, talents and culture are needed to execute their digital strategy successfully.

Organizational changes are needed to drive digitization successfully

According to our Brand Partner Study 2020, 39% of our partners expect their company’s overall organizational structure to be impacted by digitization. For example, brands expect cross-channel integration to play a big role in bringing together wholesale, retail and e-com under one integrated umbrella. To make it happen, you will need:


  • The technical capability to collect data, particularly in order to understand the customer and their journey with your brand(s).
  • The business acumen and analytical capabilities to translate (data) insights into action.
  • The strategic mindset and fluency in all things digital to apply a holistic view across channels.


At Zalando, we have found that building a dedicated sales team, reimagining how brick and mortar stores connect to online channels, and focusing on customer analytics and data-driven decisions are key ways to create an organizational structure for success, especially as many of our brands start to diversify the business models in which they collaborate with platforms like Zalando. 

Camper and VF Corporation’s partnership journey with Zalando

An early adopter of the Partner Program, Camper is currently in 16 countries using Zalando’s wholesale model and in 9 countries using the Partner Program. This year, Partner Program is going to represent more than 50% of Camper’s sales on Zalando and is the main driver with +150% growth year-to-date. The company expects the digital trend to continue in 2021 and to see 30-40% growth in digital next year. 


Similarly, VF Corporation – the company which has Timberland, The North Face, Vans and 6 more brands represented on Zalando, has found out that moving away from a wholesale-centric execution to a retail-focused implementation has played a big role in their success. Once VF Corporation started partnering with Zalando and using Zalando Consumer Insights for their seasonal strategies and growth plans, they started accelerating fast. 


Want to learn more about how VF Corporation partnered with Zalando and accelerated their digital growth? Check out the video below:

Together with Zalando we broke down the roles of a traditional retailer and a supplier relationship."

Andreas Olsson, Group Digital Director, VF Corporation

Focussing on trading capabilities is key in VF Corporation’s digital strategy

For VF Corporation, retail centricity and end-to-end ownership translate into building strong trading capabilities within teams. Having experts on board who manage both supply and demand on a daily basis has been a significant driver for digital transformation and transitioning from a wholesale to a retail-led model.


By combining platform capabilities with executional standards – from long-range and seasonal planning all the way to trading, VF Corporation has been able to successfully execute their digital strategy on the platform. Today, the company operates a sophisticated cross-functional team across its many brands, driving the go-to-market and building capabilities needed for digital success step-by-step. 


Digital expertise took Camper’s success to the next level

Having started with only one wholesale manager handling small orders for Zalando to now having a complex, cross-functional organization, Camper has found the right mix of employee profiles and skills. The new business models that Camper is implementing can be quite complex, a combination of data, technology and customer focus. Therefore, having the right digital skills and background is crucial.

Bringing Marketing and Sales closer together through common goals is key

While in the past, VF Corporation has had a stronger focus on sales than on marketing, today they develop their execution with both in mind. Focusing on the demand side and better understanding the customer has been instrumental in the way the company plans, goes to market and executes daily.


Similarly, Camper combines marketing and sales to drive success. Their digital team is working very closely with the go-to-market, content and merchandising teams to plan the commercial initiatives on Zalando. 

VF Corporation kept company culture at the core of digital acceleration

For both companies, digital acceleration is a crucial part of their business strategy and growth. It has enabled them to put the customer at the center and to adapt to changing customer behaviours.


However, shaping company culture towards business goals is easier said than done. If you want to learn more about how doubling down on digital has changed the culture at VF Corporation, check out the video below:

We try not to use the term digital transformation because for us it is all about being customer focussed. The customer has changed their behaviours and so have we.”

Andreas Olsson, Group Digital Director, VF Corporation

Zalando’s Partner Program is our curated marketplace model, which enables you to directly integrate your stock on our fashion store. Partners of all shapes and sizes are live today via the Partner Program, from global players like Nike and VF Corporation to smaller, local heroes.


If you want to learn more about Zalando’s Partner Program, watch our video guide below and reach out to our team here to join.