German-based Zalando is one of Europe’s largest fashion retailers with annual sales of €10.3bn (around £8.8bn) in 2022. More recently, it has branched out its offering into beauty and has sought to grow its premium and sustainability categories through the continued expansion of brand partners.

Technology has been one of the company’s driving forces in recent years, with the business having developed its own technology platform, Zeos. It is continuing to innovate as it looks at ways to enhance the customer experience, particularly around fulfilment, but also to provide a great platform for its suppliers.

More recently, Zalando has sought to shift its strategy towards “a platform business model” which sees it offering marketing, fulfilment and sales tools to brand partners. The retailer also fleshed out its Connected Retail division, which is part of its Partner Buisness, and expanded to Austria, Belgium, France, Italy and Switzerland in 2021, with almost 7,000 physical stores actively trading on the Zalando marketplace as of 2021.

In its annual report for FY2022 Zalando said Connect Retail continued to grow, ”albeit at lower growth rates than prior years when stores relied more on our digital consumer access during lockdowns”. 

Zalando takes a localised approach in each of its 25 international markets, which includes local marketing, fulfilment, payment options and customer care. It has been active in the UK since 2010, but customer numbers in this market remain small when compared to its core markets of Germany, Austria and Switzerland.

Innovation rating: 4

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