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How Zalando learns from Chinese ecommerce players

Zalando is a major European online fashion player and one of the few that could compete with Amazon on European ground. But it doesn’t look at its American counterparts as much as it does at Asian companies. Zalando has learnt a lot from players like Alibaba.

Mark Scott from Gulf News wrote an article which provides insight in how Zalando tries to conquer the online fashion scene in Europe. He writes how Zalando’s co-founder Robert Gentz went to Beijing to have meetings with Chinese ecommerce players, because he wanted to expand his company into China’s ecommerce market. But instead he decided to copy the way Chinese online fashion companies do business.

For example, many Chinese customers chat with and buy from brands and stylists on local messenger app WeChat. And meanwhile online retailers, independent logistics companies and fashion brands routinely joined forces. Gentz wanted to take that experience back to Europe, so that’s what Zalando did.

Zalando turns into a digital shopping mall

For example, Zalando did focus on handling all sales and inventory itself in the past. But now it wants to turn itself into a digital shopping mail, which allows fashion brands and other retailers to make sales as well. According to Scott, this approach could lead to the rare situation where a European player is able to “give Silicon Valley heavy-hitters a run for their money across the region”.

Fashion apps from Zalando

Zalando has launched several apps this year. One of them is the MOVMNT app, which wants to inspire users by showing them the latest fashion trends. Another app, called Zipcart, is only available to people in Berlin and Cologne and shows local fashion trends by showcasing the assortment of offline fashion stores nearby the customer. In March of this year, it launched inspiration app Fleek. And then there’s Zalon Messenger, the company’s instant messaging app which enables users to get in touch with Zalando’s stylists.

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