Building Connections: Offline to Online

How Connected Retail creates advantages for customers, retailers and Zalando

As a platform, we provide the best shopping experience for our customers by making various connections in the fashion industry. Customers can interact with content directly from Zalando or via influencers and brands, while Smart Logistics deliver their items rapidly at any time and any place. Our assortment is a key element and one of the main reasons consumers perceive Zalando as a top fashion destination.

Zalando SE Innovation Connected Retail
With connected retail, we combine the online and offline world on the Zalando platform.

Our Vision - an Interconnected Fashion Industry

Contemporary fashion customers demand a seamless shopping experience. They do not differentiate between shopping online or offline; to them it is most important to find the product they want. To offer the fashion shopping experience of the future, full access and availability of products is a key success driver. Zalando gives access to more than 300,000 fashion items from almost 2,000 brands. Many fashion and lifestyle items, however, still lie in stationary stores. That’s why we made it our goal to make the best fashion products available to our customers, whether online or offline, no matter the time or place.

Our connected retail approach provides new ways fashion partners can join the Zalando platform, by either connecting their stock from warehouses and local stores, or by taking over order fulfillment. This is a big opportunity with regards to the overall efficiency of inventory-sharing across partners in our ecosystem.

Zalando-SE_Carsten_Keller_Vice President Direct-to-Consumer
Carsten Keller, Vice President Direct-to-Consumer.

Bringing our Vision to Life with the Partner Program

Via the partner program, brands and retailers can integrate their own e-commerce stock into the Zalando fashion store. Articles are shipped directly from our partners to our customers in accordance with Zalando’s delivery standards. “By connecting our partners’ stock to our platform, we widen our assortment in depth and width, and can offer better product availability for the consumer,” says Carsten Keller, Vice President Direct-to-Consumer. The partner program is currently operating in 15 of the 17 Zalando markets.

Digitalizing Stock from Local Stores

In June 2016, we started our first pilot project that brought us even closer to our vision. We connected the first brick-and-mortar stores, the adidas Performance and Originals stores in Berlin, to our online platform. Digitizing stock from these local stores and connecting them to Zalando is one more step in creating the best shopping experience for our customers. With a bigger network, we can increase the availability of products and sizes in the Zalando fashion store, as well as in local stores. In the long term, Zalando customers will be able to benefit from this approach through the offer of further services like location-based or same-day delivery. Today, partners can join the Zalando platform by digitizing and connecting their stock from warehouses and local stores through Zalando`s own software. Here, we successfully work together with various partners and plan to roll out the model even further.

Local Retailers Becoming Part of the Platform with Gax-System

In addition to the direct stock integration we are also giving smaller local stores the possibility to join the platform with only a little effort and technological investment. With the support of the external local order management software gax-system, Zalando offers smaller retailers the opportunity to develop an additional sales channel. Retailers can access pending orders on-demand via the Gax-System app or browser and fulfill them according to their capacities. “As a local store, our main challenge is reaching new customers, especially the younger generation. That’s why, in order to generate extra revenue, e-commerce is important for us as an additional distribution channel. We are now able to sell more products and benefit from Zalando’s vast reach,” says Thomas Ganguin, owner of a children's shoe shop in Weilheim, Germany.

You Want to be Part of the Network?

If you are interested in joining the Zalando platform via Connected Retail reach out to connected.retail@zalando.de.

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