09 Where It All

he initial idea seemed simple enough: Selling shoes. Buying and selling, but using an e-commerce platform. Easy for the customer: Place your order and here comes your package. It doesn’t fit? Send it back. It was even easier for brands, with Zalando as an additional sales channel for their fashion. From this starting point on, we made it happen.

Labels large and small were the first to leverage Zalando’s innovative potential. They were the start of a success story built on fashion, technology and operations. With every inch of progress, others started taking notice. Zalando became a pioneer of new partnerships and customer relations models.


A simple idea – with a new approach: Sonja Teichmann explains how Wholesale works at Zalando.


The story of adidas and Zalando begins in 2010. After initial success in wholesale with adidas Performance, adidas added its adidas Originals to Zalando’s new sportswear category. In 2014, Zalando became a European company, boosting sales and taking the relationship with the international label to a new level and taking further steps in online retail. A successful campaign with Pharrell Williams as the face of adidas Super Color – a large-scale marketing campaign to allow Zalando to reach all of Europe – laid the foundation for the close partnership of the years to come.

A Place to Call Home:
The Brand Shops

Our brand shops are the digital equivalent of a flagship store on a shopping street. Brands create their own pages in the fashion store, plus they can design them however they want and update them at any time, from the latest campaign visuals to custom product offerings. Almost 200 labels operate more than 2,500 brand shops on our platform. Here, it is less about making a fast sale than about appealing directly to the target group, since the customers who visit the brand shops are usually those who are actively looking for a particular label. Brand shop customers spend an above-average amount and stay longer on the page than most visitors. One could say that the brand shop is where brands meet their fan club and have the opportunity to engage with them as devoted customers – differently in each country.


The brand shop is the best way for brands to gain loyalty on Zalando.

At Zalando, we say adidas is bold and always open for new ideas – ready to try new things without a guarantee, ready to learn with Zalando, and ready to share in success. adidas was also one of the first during the development of the brand shops and is today one of the most active labels in the fashion store, operating seven branded shops in six countries.

Joining Forces,
Sharing Strength:
The Partner Program

Our partner program allows brands to make products available on Zalando while retaining responsibility for handling orders themselves. Brands and retailers can integrate their own e-commerce and offline stock into our fashion store and via additional Zalando platform products. Articles are integrated into the Zalando catalogue, but are shipped directly from partners to our customers, at Zalando delivery standards. We support our partners in joint commercial optimization and achieving delivery excellence. Furthermore, we take care of customer communication and payment processing. The merchandise remains their property until the moment of sale. This gives customers access to the largest possible selection of products and lets brands increase their reach across Europe.



The Merchant Center is the heart of Zalando, connecting stock and providing content for all our channels. Throughout 2016, our tech team has been working on its further development. The Merchant Center will offer a new way to connect stock partners to our platform and save time for our partner brands, on top of ensuring better usability of the platform.


The partner program allows brands and retailers to integrate their assortments directly into our fashion store.

We put our brands in the driver’s seat so that they stay in control.”


adidas joined the partner program in 2015. Now the company can connect its European stock to our fashion store, in addition to wholesale. It stays in control by being able to decide which items it wants to make available. As a result, adidas benefits from effective utilization and potential for growth. And through Zalando Analytics, it gains valuable insights into customers’ buying behavior. This long-standing and close partnership creates the trust that makes it possible to implement innovative digitalization strategies. In fact, the brand even redesigned its key account structure in order to advance the cooperation with Zalando.

The Next Step:

Through integrated commerce, we connect the online and offline world on our Zalando platform by integrating the merchandise management systems of partner stores. In June 2016, together with adidas, we kicked off our integrated commerce pilot project and connected two adidas stores in Berlin – first to Zipcart, and then to the fashion store from September on – through strong technical solutions. Customers can now access items available in-store and arrange for same-day delivery through Zalando. This allows offline retailers to participate in the growing e- commerce trend and to target alternative ways to increase their sales. And it benefits customers through better availability and innovative services, like faster delivery, a single point of contact and a consistent service level agreement. Hundreds of orders in the first few weeks are proof positive that integrated commerce has tremendous potential.



After our first pilot, we have already introduced the next level of integrated commerce, which enables even smaller local stores to join the Zalando platform with only little technical investment. In this pilot project, relevant orders from Zalando customers are passed on to local stores through external online-based local order management software (gax-system). Stationary retailers can then decide for themselves whether they want to fulfill the order or not. If no local store wants to fulfill the order, Zalando takes over as usual.

This pilot with Zalando marks another important milestone in the digitalization of the adidas Group. Our goal is to provide our consumers with the best brand experience they can get, no matter where and when they choose to shop. Our consumers want the latest and newest product – and they want it now. Shipping products directly from our adidas stores addresses this need for speed. We are very excited about our pilot with Zalando in Berlin and look forward to implementing learnings in other areas of our business.”

HARM OHLMEYER SVP adidas Digital Brand Commerce


With Integrated Commerce, we connect the online and offline world – adding stationary stores to our fashion platform.

Zalando Media

In the digital age, good advertising is driven not only by great content, but also by customer insights and the ability to make it actionable. For target advertising, we need to address the specific audiences with specific messages across many channels. Through Zalando Media Solutions, we combine technology, fashion expertise and marketing knowledge to enable brand partners – from fashion to other industries, like beauty, FMCG (Fast Moving Consumer Goods) and automotive – to build powerful campaigns targeting all sorts of objectives with us. We strengthen brands and make them more successful in 15 markets across Europe.

The success of adidas’ athletics campaign co-created with Zalando Media Solutions turned heads in a major way. It demonstrated the potential that can be unleashed when one of the largest sports brands in the world and Europe’s largest online fashion platform join forces: A hero product was sold out within two days, and the campaign generated a new customer rate of 42 %. The Find Focus launch campaign was built around a white hoodie and was the biggest and most exclusive adidas campaign at Zalando in 2016.

Other campaigns for brands like G-Star and Converse, or non-fashion brands such as Douglas or Procter & Gamble, also attest to the high potential of Zalando Media Solutions.


With Collabary, we developed an innovative platform for linking brands with influencers, from establishing first contact and organizing a campaign to evaluating and analyzing a partnership. Companies can choose from a wide range of criteria, allowing them to find exactly the right content creators who speak their language and fit the brand. As a result, Collabary offers strong added value for business: Comprehensive social media expertise for targeted communication strategies, and analysis tools that make it possible to measure the success of campaigns. Collabary enables brands to instantly and efficiently benefit from influencer campaigns and provides transparency in a growing and fast-moving market.


Who gets my likes? Who do I want to follow? With our close relationships to content creators, we built up a marketing strategy that goes beyond traditional media channels. But how do you find the perfect influencer? Our answer: With expert knowledge and the right tools – and by constantly learning how to interpret it.