Zalando delivered its first parcel from a bricks-and-mortar store in Berlin on Thursday (March 17), as part of its plan to become a platform to connect brands and consumers.
Zalando co-founders David Schneider and Robert Gentz (left and centre)
The Germany-based etailer wants to move beyond being “a company that just sells clothes” to become “the city in which brands can build a flagship store, target an audience directly and connect inventory between all stakeholders”, co-chief executive and co-founder David Schneider said on Friday.
“We want brands to see us as the location where their brand experience takes place, not just a sales channel,” said co-chief executive Rubin Ritter.
Zalando is trialling delivery from bricks-and-mortar stores with the aim of connecting inventory from its brand and retail partners offline and online. It collected and delivered the first parcel through its logistics network from a lifestyle store called Bodycheck in Berlin.
It is also working on trials in Amsterdam and Cologne to use GPS services from mobiles to enable deliveries and returns packages to be collected directly from consumers.
The company is aiming to gain a market share of more than 5% of the European online fashion market over the next few years, from its current position of 1%.
The firm, which made sales of almost €3bn in 2015, took a strategic stake in UK firm Anatwine last year to help it work on stock integration with its brand partners.
It is investing in technology, including new apps, to make the shopping experience easier. It is also improving its payment process and logistics platform.
Zalando launched a new “shopping inspiration” app last week called Fleek, which makes clothing suggestions based on the user’s GPS location and the current time.
The company did not break down sales beyond Germany, Austria and Switzerland. Its UK sales are understood to be relatively small.
However, Tomasz Ebbig, country sales manager for UK and Poland, told Drapers Zalando sees the UK as the most developed ecommerce market in Europe and is looking to the UK for trends that will appear in its other territories a year or two later.
“Over the last few years we have been improving our customer service in the UK and gaining more insight into the market,” he said. “We’ve also introduced brands that we sold in other territories to the UK such as Miss Selfridge and Whistles which gives us credibility.
“Now we’re focusing on customer acquisition through performance marketing such as display advertising and search.”