Zalando Gets Personal

The on-site personalization initiative is making the Zalando shopping experience even more individual and will see a single Zalando online store transformed into many – each as unique as our 23 million active customers. The large-scale project requires intensive cooperation between Zalando’s tech teams and the fashion division.

As the world’s most fashionable tech company, innovation forms the heart of Zalando. Delivering a fresh digital experience to our 23 million customers is what gets us out of bed in the morning. Each new innovation smooths the customer journey and allows for more discovery, more inspiration and more satisfaction. We’re proud of our vast assortment and the strong relationships we’ve built with partners that allow us to offer more than 300,000 items in our online store. But what if, instead of one store, we could offer 23 million – each as unique and diverse as our customers? This is the power of personalization.

Personally Speaking

As platforms become more sophisticated, so too do customer expectations. In fashion, Zalando has the infrastructure and reach to offer a truly customized shopping experience – an experience our customers trust us to deliver. We’ve committed a team of 600 Zalando employees comprised of software and data engineers, among others, to developing multitude products that will bring personalization to the next level in our store. Tech is shaping fashion, and over the next 12 to 18 months, our customers will begin to enjoy the developments across every part of the customer journey.

What this means for the fashion-seekers is a personal Zalando store that understands and speaks to them, reflecting their personal preferences. Dialogue will allow for a more tailored and curated experience, putting the most relevant selection of the thousands of items in the “shop window.” AI will not only enable more refined curation, but will also give the store a voice. Where the interface has been largely passive before, it may now ask, “A dinner party? Fancy a bit more glitz?” Instead of static, unnatural input such as “dress, black,” customers can expect more intuitive entry points.

Get the Look

As well as greater discovery and curation, we will continue to be a source of inspiration for fashion-followers. We can see this with our recent, “Get the Look” campaign; a cooperation with influencers that showcases “our favorite looks for you” on a dedicated outfit hub presenting the latest trends and styles through outfits.

For us, personalization is a new focal point; an evolution of our philosophy: to reimagine fashion. And this time, it’s personal.

These Are the Main Ideas Behind Personalization:

Until now, the Fashion Store has had a largely static structure. Customers search for specific product categories and are shown a list of the corresponding products. Although intelligent keywords already make it easier for users to find the right item, the Fashion Store of the future will be even more strongly geared towards their needs and desires. Above all, this means offering new ways to discover our product range. We take data from past user behavior and use it to inspire customers with products that match their needs perfectly.

The combination of innovative technology and a deep understanding of the fashion industry has long been Zalando‘s recipe for success. For personalization, the tech teams are again working in close cooperation with colleagues from the fashion division.

A team of 600 people is involved in personalization. What makes it particularly exciting is that we are working on a multidisciplinary basis – personalization has been developed by colleagues across various departments, from designers, software developers and data scientists through to product managers, product designers and user researchers.

No fashion designer
or brand would
launch a new
collection with the aim
of giving fashion
addicts exactly the
jacket they were
already looking for.“


Anne Pascual is VP Product Design at Zalando and one of the driving forces behind the personalization initiative. With a background in UX design, Anne is perfectly placed to enhance the digital experience for Zalando customers.

Hunters and Explorers

When it comes to our customers, we make a distinction between hunters and explorers. Hunters know exactly what they are looking for – a dress to wear to their best friend's wedding, for example. In contrast, explorers have no particular purchase in mind. They want to browse and discover ideas for new outfits. However, it is important to understand that there is a hunter and an explorer in every customer. It all comes down to the situation.

With personalization, the Fashion Store is gearing itself towards the personal needs of shoppers. The hunter with a specific target in mind can quickly find the right product thanks to our interactivity and image-assisted selection. Meanwhile, the explorer can experience the product range like a real-life shopping expedition. To this end, we are integrating collections based around current trends – “Patterned Running Shoes,” for instance – or curated themes such as “Urban Outdoor.” Also, customers may create their own collections in the future using the wish list feature.

And that is exactly how it works in the fashion industry. According to Anne Pascual, “No fashion designer or brand would launch a new collection with the aim of giving fashion addicts exactly the jacket they were already looking for. What they want is to inspire. To set trends, you have to take new approaches and introduce customers to styles they might not have necessarily thought of putting together themselves. And this is exactly what we are doing with personalization.”

Your Wish. Our Pleasure.

Stronger engagement with our customers will allow us to further customize and adapt our services to their needs and requirements. In addition, engaging in a dialogue will open up even more opportunities for making emotional connections with customers – just like on a shopping trip in the city.

We also want to harness the potential offered by artificial intelligence, where we are researching possible ways to enhance the shopping experience via the Zalando Research lab.

After all, one thing we learned from the pilot phase was that customers making purchases with personalization came back to us more frequently. Collections are also an important factor in customer retention: customers who immerse themselves in our product range also end up spending more time in the Fashion Store. This ultimately has a positive effect on sales figures by building long-lasting and emotional connections.

Ultimately, fashion is about people, how they express themselves and therefor an extremely personal subject. This is the guiding principle behind personalization in the on-site experience.