Thanks to “Connected Retail”, online retailing and stationary retailing go hand in hand. The digitalization enables the stationary retailers to work together with the e-commerce platform Zalando. By the end of the year, Zalando should be connected to 600 branches.

Zalando wants to focus specifically on Connected Retail in the future. Ten years ago, the company began to evolve from an online retailer to a platform designed to connect all areas of the fashion industry and relevant groups. “These groups can include brands and retailers, influencers and creatives, manufacturers and private labels. Today we are reaching a new milestone: By the end of the year, more than 600 stores will be connected to the Zalando platform,” said Dr. Carsten Keller, VP Direct-to-Consumer at Zalando.

Connecting online and offline channels

According to Dr. Carsten Keller, the combination of online and offline channels offers numerous advantages for everyone involved: “For the customer, the branch manager and for Zalando. That’s why we will continue to expand the model with a large number of partners in the coming months.”

Zalando plans to have Connected Retail internationalized by 2019. The Netherlands is to become one of the target markets.

Connected Retail

Connected Retail enables the Zalando partners to take orders from Zalando customers themselves and dispatch the goods directly from their branches. Software enables the prompt processing of incoming orders. In addition, the program is intended to support deliveries on the same day: “The offline branches of our partners are often closer to the customer than a central warehouse,” explains Keller. “In this way, we work together with stationary retailers to create a new customer experience, regardless of whether they live in Berlin or Neckarsulm.

Retailers are investing more and more in data networking

It is already clear today that the connection between online and offline trading is likely to increase in the future. The customer journey is now distributed via various channels and touchpoints: For example, information and inspiration can be mobile (via social media, brand shops or platforms), consulting and purchasing decisions can be made in the shop and again via an online channel. This new world offers many new opportunities for both the customer and the supplier.

“I see the technological dynamics in the offline market as a first step towards a stronger integration of the online trade with the stationary trade. We see that retailers are investing more and more in data networking to better understand their customers,” says Dr. Keller.

In the course of digitization, the stationary retail sector is increasingly catching up with online trading. Both models offer strong structural advantages. According to Dr. Keller, with the increasing digitization of offline retailing, the advantages of both models will unite within the emerging platforms.

“We believe Connected Retail is a tool for retailers to reinvigorate the growth of high street fashion,” says Carsten Keller. “The journey has only just begun.


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Image: Zalando