A Strong Network for the Best Possible Customer Experience

Zalando has further worked on its logistics organization in the past year with the aim of becoming even quicker and getting even closer to the customer. Capacity ramp-up, automation and digitalization in its fulfillment centers are playing a key role in this process.

We adapt our intralogistics concepts to the different warehouse locations and the changing needs of our customers and develop them continuously. Processes are a combination of automation and manual processes to account for the wide variety of fashion items we handle. However, we use automation technologies where this can support our employees in their daily work and increase productivity without restricting flexibility.

One example is the bagsorter, a sorting system that went live at our fulfillment center in Mönchengladbach in 2017.

The bagsorter allows us to process orders even more quickly. This is especially useful for the products our customers love the most, and hence order a lot. If we have all items of an order in the bagsorter, the entire process from ordering to packing can be done within less than an hour – a time saving that benefits our customers. The bagsorter is also an extremely precise worker and can help our on-site teams to make their processes more efficient and reduce error rates.

We've Got It Sorted

Normally, logistics employees collect the ordered items individually from their respective storage locations within the fulfillment center. This takes some time.

We have the kind of
solutions that will
shape the future
of intralogistics.

The bagsorter has turned this process around. Now, the item comes to the employee. This means improved workflow efficiency for frequently purchased products in particular. For example, if the fulfillment center in Mönchengladbach receives a delivery of 50 pairs of shoes, each pair is firstly placed in its own bag. The bags continuously circulate throughout the fulfillment center. When the respective item is ordered, the system automatically brings the nearest bag – and all the other products within the same customer order – to the employee’s workstation. The employee simply puts the goods together and assembles the package, and they can be sent on their way to the customer within a short amount of time.

In Mönchengladbach, we have realized the kind of solution that will shape the future of intralogistics: acceleration, flexibilization and improved productivity thanks to automated processes.

We send items
from 2000 brands to

15different European

Powerful Algorithms and a Expanding Network

In addition to machines, we are employing digital solutions. Zalando has developed powerful algorithms that make accurate predictions about which products are frequently ordered in which regions so that these items can be kept in stock at the corresponding fulfillment centers. The algorithms work on the basis of past order behavior.

Optimized logistics processes and a dense network of fulfillment centers are essential to the provision of highly relevant services such as same-day delivery in major cities. Every day, we send items from about 2,000 brands to 15 different European countries.

In 2017, Zalando opened a logistics site near to Paris and first parcels left the new logistics site near Szczecin, Poland. We now have seven fulfillment centers, including three outside Germany. At our first Nordic fulfillment center near Stockholm, Sweden test operations started. In addition, new sites in the logistics network are planned near Verona, Italy and close to Lodz, Poland.

Deliver packages


Logistics Sense

The local delivery networks are built upon this strong infrastructure. Zalando works together with about 20 local delivery partners, from larger carriers to start-ups and partners specializing in same-day delivery. Partnerships with local companies allow us to experiment. This keeps us flexible and allows us to offer our customers a service that suits their needs. We also try out new approaches. In Berlin, for example, we are working with Hoard to deliver packages within 60 minutes of the order time using bicycle couriers.

This is one way in which we are living up to our aspiration of setting environmentally friendly standards in logistics and delivery.

Sustainability also plays an increasingly important role in the further development of our logistics structure. Since 2017, for example, we have used an order bundling system allowing us to combine multiple customer orders in a single delivery, thereby preventing unnecessary journeys.

These examples illustrate that we can use digitalization to save both time and resources – and that improved productivity and environmental protection can go hand in hand when it comes to logistics.