Zalando has unveiled Zalando Build, a new programme which will allow start-ups to become rapidly integrated onto the etailer’s fashion site.

The German fashion pureplay has rolled out the initiative to integrate start-ups onto its ecommerce platform and will prioritise businesses that are focused on personalisation.

Zalando’s commercial lead of product partnerships Benjamin Worner told Retail Week: “This is intended to drive the next evolution of our platform strategy, which is about trying to connect all players in the fashion ecosystem.”

Worner said the online retailer was looking to enhance its proposition in “specific areas such as inspiration, curation, personalisation and also pain points around size and fitting.”

The retailer has already signed on Israeli start-up Bllush, which embeds images from social media influencers into its product pages and tags the details of the items they’re wearing, as its first Zalando Build partner.

Worner said that as Zalando was the online retailer for “the largest fashion audience in Europe”, Zalando Build would enable start-ups to rapidly grow their businesses and customer base.

However, he stressed that the programme provided equal benefits for the pureplay.

“This is a paradigm shift – historically we have been a pure retail company and had a long track record of building everything in-house,” he said.

“But we’re a large player, we have so many different customers and if we really want to serve each and every one and provide a really tailored experience we can’t do it all ourselves.

“There are some very niche, specific use cases in terms of product types or different geographies, so the benefit is that we improve the customer experience which attracts more customers and makes us a better place to shop.”

The online retailer has several new partnerships in the pipeline that it will unveil in the coming months, but Worner said there is no limit to the number of businesses Zalando could partner with on its Build platform going forward.

“The programme will continue to evolve in the next few months but I can definitely see it being an essential part of Zalando’s platform in the long run,” he said.