BERLIN – Zalando, Europe’s leading online fashion platform, has kicked off a new program called Build to integrate ideas and solutions from the wider start-up scene into the Zalando shopping experience. These functionalities and solutions can involve sizing and fit, styles and outfits or inspirational content, the e-commerce giant said.
The first partner on board is the Israeli start-up Bllush, which will connect social media images of top influencers to the Zalando Fashion Store. All images can be shopped, with links provided to similar items from Zalando. The function will first be tested in Germany within the Zalando Fashion Store’s sports category, and the company expects further partners and local fashion stores to be integrated and tested within the coming months.
“We’re always looking for ways to innovate the customer experience,” Marc Lamik, Zalando head of innovation and partnerships, explained, with Build partners helping to “supply greater variety in content and experiences.”
As potential “builders” are advised on the official Zalando Build website, “areas of interest include, but are not limited to: fashion content, sizing/fitting solutions, style/outfit generation, recommendations, and anything that helps connect people to fashion.”
Lamik said Zalando was primarily focusing on European partners, but added “in truth, partners can come from everywhere within the fashion space. What they get from us is not only a vast and cutting-edge technical infrastructure, but the largest fashion audience in Europe. They can bring their vision to an enormous number of people,” he went on, “and still retain ownership of their experience. It’s a very collaborative project.”
Founded in Berlin in 2008, Zalando is now active in 15 European markets. Its digital, platform based business model connects 21 million active customers to about 2,000 brands and partners. In 2016, Zalando generated sales of 3.6 billion euros but in the second quarter of this year the etailer reported lower increases in both profits and sales as it vowed to continue to invest in growth.