Stronger Together Webinar #1 – "Unlocking Opportunities in the Digital Fashion Space"

A recap of our first ever digital event, in which Boris Ewenstein spoke to experts from McKinsey & Company about how the Coronavirus continues to impact the fashion industry and what we can expect for the future. 

With everything that is going on, we appreciate that so many of you took the time to tune into our first ever digital partner event on unlocking opportunities in the digital fashion space yesterday, April 23, with McKinsey & Company. 

 

Our SVP Supply, Boris Ewenstein, virtually met with Daniel Zipser, Senior Partner (Shanghai), Miriam Lobis, Partner (Berlin), and Ezra Greenberg, Associate Partner (Connecticut), from McKinsey & Company to get their insights, and was then joined by Jesper Larsen, Director Merchant Operations (Partner Program), and Diana Berte, VP Sales and Marketing ZMS, for the Q&A.

 

For those who missed it, you can watch a recording of the Zalando presentation and Q&A session below:

Key takeaways

1
Consumer sentiment in Europe remains low, especially when compared to the US and China.
2
Offline recovery is expected to be slow and gradual, while online sales are expected to remain above pre-COVID levels but potentially with lower order volumes, as seen already in China.
3
As lockdowns continue, more and more consumers are shopping online for the first time, especially those under the age of 40.
4
The e-com boom is here to stay as consumers get used to shopping online and are expected to continue following the crisis.
5
In a nutshell: Now is the time to accelerate your digital strategy. Zalando is here to help!

Words left unsaid 

60 minutes went by in a flash and we didn’t get to answer all of your great questions, so we wanted to take a moment to speak to the key themes that came up.

Zalando’s current performance

While we cannot comment on this in full detail, we can say that based on current performance, we are optimistic.  While of course, it is very difficult to predict demand, especially with regards to potential future waves of Coronavirus, our teams are working hard to be there for our customers and partners and to manage the situation in the best way possible. 

 

In terms of category specific insights and shifts in buying behaviors, we recently posted an article on what customers are buying as they are being asked to stay at home and are working with our Customer Insights team to provide digestible, more detailed insights to our partners on a regular basis.

Digitizing your business with Partner Program

As a reminder, the Partner Program enables brands and retailers to directly integrate their stock with Zalando and manage their digital growth, while retaining control over product selection, prices, and brand representation. You can read more about it here. We received a lot of questions on the Partner Program and have answered the most often recurring ones in the link below.

Marketing and content: what works and what’s next?

Consumers are adjusting to the new normal, looking for alternatives to satisfy their needs under the current circumstances. Besides performance marketing to stay top of mind and drive sales, we see a huge opportunity in well-executed branding campaigns. 

 

Consumers are very receptive to interaction as long as it is mindful of the current situation. In terms of messaging and tonality, this means showing empathy and being transparent, demonstrating solidarity, being humble, and leaning in, not backing away. Consumers are looking for brands and influencers to connect with them in a personal and human way, for example giving advice on how to spend lockdown time, from parenting and cooking to working out. We also see that creative campaigns, or campaigns that support healthcare workers, “local” artists, and so on, are resonating especially well.

 

And without a doubt, we see video content growing massively and with it “newer” platforms and formats like TikTok and (Instagram) live streams. Creating experiences around Virtual Reality are also becoming more popular than ever before.

 

In terms of PDP content creation, due to social distancing guidance, we stopped producing with models in March. Since then, we have started re-introducing model shots, currently for Premium and trousers (including jeans) only. While past research shows us that model imagery clearly resonates with customers, as they want to get as much information as possible before purchasing, we have yet to see a clearly attributable effect on sales or returns from these changes. This can be due to a number of factors, however, as there are so many moving parts currently.
 

For those wanting to dive deeper

We received a lot of great feedback on the insights shared by McKinsey & Company, and while we cannot share their slides, we have compiled a list of their most insightful research pieces pertaining to the effects of Coronavirus on the fashion industry.

 

  • State of Fashion 2020 Coronavirus Update: Business of Fashion and McKinsey & Company teamed up to create an in-depth report on the global fashion industry in the wake of the coronavirus crisis. Read it here.
  • Looking to the future: A survey of >2,000 global executives and their expectations regarding the impact of the virus and the resulting economic crisis. Dive into the results here.
  • Recovery scenarios: A perspective on economic recovery scenarios across industries, built in partnership with Oxford Economics. Check it out here.

See you next time!

Next up in our Stronger Together webinar series is the topic of Overstock Management. Andreas Rödl, VP Category Mens, will be joined by experts from our Offprice and Partner Program business to shed light on just how much overstock we expect in the market, and how Zalando can support you in managing the situation.

This event is exclusive to Zalando partners only. Invites will be sent out on Monday, April 27, to all partners and the event will take place on Thursday, April 30, at 12:30 pm. Grab your lunch and join us - we’re looking forward to having you join the conversation!

Where's my invite?

Come Tuesday and still no invite in your inbox? Drop us a note at partnerships@zalando.de and we’ll sort you out.