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Internet Retailing 2014: Retaining a local focus is key to international success, says Zalando

Jérôme Cochet, the senior vice president of sales at etailer Zalando, has urged retailers to make sure they retain a local approach to international retailing.

Speaking at the Internet Retailing Conference 2014 in London’s Hammersmith today, he described how the €2bn (£1.5bn) German business has developed its own international business, serving 15 markets.

“You can only build a great brand if you are relevant,” said Cochet, advising businesses to tailor their offer to the local market. He said Zalando has learnt numerous lessons along the way, for example the etailer originally used country-based buying teams whereas it is now moving to a central buying team in Germany supplemented by specific country buying teams that manage relationships with brands.

He also advised the same strategy for online teams. Zalando has moved from teams based within foreign markets to a centrally-based team, populated by native speakers, with local language sites to take advantage of keyword searches in those markets. “If you spend a lot of money entering a market then you really need your website to be in that local language, and to run campaigns in that language.”

Zalando’s fashion offer combines global brands with smaller local names, as well as local payment options and final-mile delivery methods, to appeal to consumers in each market.

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