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.
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.