Zalando – A fashion e-retailer with steady European expansion since 2008

At the present time, they now provide shopping services in Germany, Austria, The Netherlands, France, The UK, Italy, Switzerland, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Belgium, Spain and Poland. Although the company originally focused on footwear, their product range now includes items from other fashion categories – these include sports footwear, accessories and clothing. They stock a range of items from well-known fashion brands and labels, while other names are exclusive to Zalando.

Using free delivery and returns to drive sales
Many online stores provide free delivery and returns, but there may be a particular limit. For example, some shops may only ship goods free of charge when the customer spends more than £50 or €50. In addition to this, many e-businesses will also only offer free returns when the item is faulty. Zalando has used universal free delivery and returns to drive sales in their store, and as a result shipping in both directions is always free – regardless of the total amount spent. This encourages customers to place an order, as many budget-conscious shoppers may go elsewhere if they have to buy extra items to get free shipping.

Established and exclusive brands
In the Zalando catalogue, shoppers can browse items from a number of world-famous labels and brands. Adidas, ASICS and Nike are amongst the established sports brands that are on offer, while female fashion lovers can choose from designs by Bench, Pier One and Warehouse. In order to offer items that are exclusively available through Zalando, there are also a number of brands that provide their goods solely through this outlet. These include Apepazza and Latitude Femme.

Expansion and financial growth
The last five years have seen a large-scale European expansion by Zalando, and this physical growth has been reflected in the financial performance of the company. In 2010, the company turnover was reported in various news outlets with figures reaching up to €159m. Within the first six months of 2011, this record had already been broken with reported turnover of €200m from January to June of that year. One year later, the German newspaper Bild reported that Zalando’s 2012 turnover was due to reach €1bn. According to the text of a job advertisment that was published by Zalando, the company ships more than 30,000 pairs of shoes per day – this is before considering the number of products that are dispatched in their other fashion departments.

Zalando UK
The UK-based store of Zalando opened for business in 2011, and the company decided to establish a working relationship with a courier partner. By solely employing the services of Yodel, Zalando has been able to maintain its selling point of not charging for delivery. This delivery network employs drivers that deliver goods using their own vehicles, and this ensures that courier costs are kept as low as possible.

As this arrangement is also ideal for smaller packages, it is financially viable for Zalando to offer free delivery with any size of purchase. Most deliveries take between three and five working days, and the same process is offered for returning goods. Their distribution centre is capable of processing orders that arrive before 11pm on any working day, meaning that their UK customers can have their orders delivered promptly with full tracking offered at all stages.

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