Zalando ramps up Connected Retail strategy
Digital technology is enabling bricks-and-mortar retailers to integrate their own e-commerce stock into the Zalando fashion store, and the German platform is hoping to have 600 partner brands by the end of the year.
Since its launch as a pure play online retailer ten years ago, the Berlin-based company has evolved into a platform that connects all relevant groups in the fashion industry under a new ‘Connected Retail’ strategy.
“These relevant groups might include brands and retailers, influencers and creatives, manufacturers and private labels. Today, four years after the journey began, we are reaching a new milestone: by the end of the year, more than 600 physical stores will have plugged into the Zalando platform,” said Carsten Kellen, VP of Zalando’s Direct-to-Consumer business.
Integrating online and offline channels will have benefits for everyone involved, “for the customer, the store manager and for Zalando. We will therefore roll out the model with a large number of other partners over the coming months," Keller said. The Connected Retail model is set to launch the first international operations in 2019, with the Netherlands being one of the target markets.
But what exactly is ‘Connected Retail’? By opening up the Zalando platform, stores can connect their stock to the e-commerce site, take orders and ship the goods directly from their physical stores. A software enables brands to process all orders promptly and the model will support the launch of same-day or next-day deliveries.
“Our partners' offline stores are often closer to the customer than a central warehouse," Keller explained, adding that the strategy will help it deliver a new shopping experience for customers regardless of their address.
The move is part of a wider industry shift towards integrating the offline and online experience into a multichannel proposition where customers can move seamlessly across all the different touchpoints. Currently, mobile devices are serving as sources of inspiration and information, while advice and purchase decisions may take place in store or online. In light of this, the new multichannel approach can offer many opportunities for the customer and the providers, Zalando said.
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