Ecommerce and cross-border trade are increasingly growing in popularity worldwide, so is the number of online marketplaces. However, few shopping platforms have found a faster route to market than Zalando – Germany’s most popular online platform and one of Europe’s largest fashion retailers.
Zalando is a multinational ecommerce retailer, with headquarters in Berlin, that specialises in selling fashion and lifestyle products. Founded in Germany in 2008, by Robert Gentz and David Schneider, Zalando started as an online shoe retailer, but has now extended its offering to include more than 1,500 brands of shoes, clothing and accessories.
In only six years Zalando managed to expand into 15 European countries, including Germany, Austria, Switzerland, France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Italy, Spain, Poland, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Norway and the UK. The company currently enjoys more than 14.7 million active customers, over 100 million visits per month and offers more than 150,000 products.
Zalando’s assortment offers a compelling mix of established global labels and brands that are already well-known in Germany, but still lack recognition in other European countries. Zalando’s fashion products range from high-street, sports and accessories brands, to designer labels, home textile suppliers and even a collection of its own. Some of the popular brands include Calvin Klein, Escada, Pier One, Warehouse and Max Factor. Sports brands include Adidas, ASICS, and Nike. Zalando’s private labels, such as mint&berry, Zign and even&odd, have been very well accepted by customers, and have already established among the top-selling brands in the company’s assortment.
Zalando is expected to eventually take 2% to 3% of the European fashion market, which is currently worth 420 billion euros, and its sales are predicted to grow to 10 billion from the 2.2 billion euros it recorded in 2014.
Sellers that want to gain access to Zalando’s growing customer base need to meet several key requirements. In terms of product mix, Zalando is looking for brands to complement their wholesale offering, so they are open to expanding with third-party sellers. However, product listing pages are the only place where the seller’s name will appear, with priority given to Zalando items, if in stock.
Product representation and consistency is extremely important to Zalando, so retailers are expected to provide content and photos that are similar to Zalando ones. Zalando offers free shipping and a 100-day free returns policy for its entire product range and third-party sellers are expected to offer that, as well.
Zalando is widely well-known for its excellent customer service, free shipping on all orders, free returns and immense product variety, which are the key elements in its value proposition. Technology independency, smooth distribution and advanced logistics are other core strengths that drive the company forward. In less than six years, Zalando has managed to keep and leverage its unique selling point in a very competitive market, which is what sets it apart from competition and makes it one of the most successful online retailers in Europe.
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