01 Connect
People and

Since day one, our fashion store has followed one simple rule: Enable customers to find their own personal style and hone it. We are constantly working on the evolution of our assortment, functionality and user experience. The fashion industry has been dominated by the elite for decades. Access to top products and brands was restricted, while trendsetters were the only people on the guest list for the hottest events. Zalando wants to open up this world and grant greater access, reduce barriers and empower customers. Our vision is to connect people and fashion.

rom partnerships with new brands and the technical development and enhancement of the fashion store to the expansion of the logistics network, “Our strategy always focuses on the customer,” says Moritz Hahn, SVP Market & Category Management.

Of course, making fashion accessible means offering the widest possible selection – curated, fashionable and relevant to our customers. Part of that is carrying items in every price range, from basic T-shirts to designer leather jackets. Today, mixing and matching expensive and discount pieces in a single outfit is very much in vogue. But this also means not limiting yourself to a certain style or forcing the latest trend down everyone’s throats.

“We don’t want to dictate how customers should dress,” Dalbir Bains, VP Womenswear, says – so there can be no purely global strategy for a fashion player that operates in 15 European countries. After all, the hottest look in Sweden may not be all the rage in Italy. Our customers’ desires and needs vary from country to country, and we curate special offers as well as assortments to cater to their individuality. Our international buying team works closely with our local merchandising team. They are constantly on the lookout for upcoming brands and designers that we want to make accessible for our customers. In 2016, we delivered some of the best brands for our European markets.

Zalando also works with brands that are normally nowhere to be found in retailers’ shops, such as Mango. “We give them the opportunity to bring their own brand experience to our shop,” Moritz Hahn explains. This gives brands access to Zalando’s diverse customer base – and, more importantly, it benefits customers by giving them a one-stop-shopping experience.

Partnering with the world’s most successful labels is the foundation on which our success is built. And when it comes to strategy, there is plenty to be learned from their business models, not only for Zalando’s subsidiary zLabels and its 17 private label brands. Instead of pursuing a rigid “top-seller” strategy of constantly buying last season’s best-selling items or discontinued products, customers always find the latest fashion on Zalando.

This means not only removing last season’s leftovers from the fashion store, but also constantly adding new pieces during the season and providing inspiring fashion content as well as insights into latest trends.

To offer customers more detail, we have introduced product videos to the fashion store. In addition to letting shoppers see what a new piece of clothing looks like on a real person first, videos are intended to do more than just making it easier for customers to choose.

As a replacement for the dressing room found in bricks-and-mortar retail, it is also supposed to be a way to avoid unnecessary returns. Why? Because the more information customers have before they buy, the less likely it is that the product they receive falls short of their expectations.

Another service in the fashion store also represents a step in this direction: The size guide. Who has not ordered an item in two or three different sizes to make sure you get the right one? A reliable size guide offers tremendous potential for savings by reducing the size of individual shipments and avoiding unnecessary returns.

So what issues will be important for the fashion store going forward? “We want to inspire people,” says Hahn. Customers do not necessarily have to know in advance what they want to buy. Until now, searching has been the fastest way to find a new outfit. That is set to change in the future.

New features such as Shop the Look – which lets customers shop not only the selected item, but the whole outfit a model in a picture is wearing – are part of this, as are recommendations for similar items and pieces that could match the selected purchase. Soon, there will be even more ways to explore what Zalando has to offer.

Technology is the basis for making this a reality. But it also takes a lot of work. Intelligent and – above all – user-friendly navigation and layout ultimately require describing and tagging the entire range of about 200,000 fashion items. According to current plans, the shop of the future will know that a certain scarf is an oversized scarf while also being able to tell the difference between Empire and Liberty style, or tag sustainable products. A first step in this direction was taken in 2016: Within the Kids’ Section, sustainable products are displayed with a specific tag – a feature that Zalando aims to bring to all categories in the future.

“We want to enable the customer to make informed decisions when shopping with us,” says Hahn. “Big, one-time transactions are not necessarily what we are aiming for, but rather for long-term engagement with our customers.” The task at hand in the years ahead will be to strengthen this trend.


Shopping at Zalando is not only convenient, but also fun! We make fashion available – anytime and anywhere.