Do you remember the famous Zalando slogan "scream for joy or send it back"? It first hit the screens in 2012 and brought Zalando a lot of attention. In recent years, not only the iconic slogan has changed, but also Zalando and its business model. The company has evolved from being an online shoe seller to being the biggest fashion destination in Europe and step by step from a pure e-commerce retailer to an online marketplace. For the latter, Zalando has developed its Partner Program as well as its Connected Retail Program. Through the Partner Program, you can not only connect your fashion brand directly to the marketplace, but also use additional services such as Zalando Fulfillment Solutions (ZFS) or Zalando Marketing Services (ZMS).
If you sell your brand on Zalando, you are also well positioned internationally, because Zalando is already online in many European countries and is still expanding.
In the following, you will find out in detail what other advantages the Zalando Partner Program has for brands and manufacturers. One thing first: the sooner you start, the sooner you'll be on the winning side with your brand - Europe-wide!
What is the Zalando Partner Program?
Zalando sees itself more and more as an online marketplace and is innovatively planning ahead in this direction. As the first point of contact for everyone interested in fashion, Zalando is already nowadays unbeatable and will become even stronger through new strategies. With its Partner Program, the internet marketplace enables fashion brands to reach their end customers the easiest way possible. This means that not only well-known brands from the fashion industry will benefit, but also new labels. The currently more than 48 million active Zalando customers are a guarantee of success. In addition, there are 23 European markets that Zalando serves up to now. In order to keep a cool head in view of this large reach, Zalando offers you as a brand numerous analysis tools with the help of which you can monitor and continuously optimise your performance on the platform. Last but not least, the Zalando Partner Program gives you control over your pricing at all times, but more on that later.
Difference between Zalando's Partner Program and the Connected Retail Program
While the Zalando Partner Program is aimed directly at you as a brand, Zalando's Connected Retail Program is primarily geared towards fashion retailers. In other words, retailers who also sell your brand to the end customer. That is the biggest difference between the two program types. Both programs are certainly interesting for the fashion sector. Connected Retail, as the name implies, is primarily intended for stationary retailers so that they can connect their shops to Zalando's online marketplace and increase their sales. Although the Connected Retail Program can also be used directly by brands, they always need a retail shop, which not all brands have. In addition, the Zalando Partner Program offers brands and manufacturers another decisive advantage: they can manage their business centrally from one warehouse and do not have to manage different warehouses at the same time. Therefore, the Zalando Partner Program is the better solution for them.
Advantages of working as a brand with Zalando's Partner Program
There are five striking reasons why you, as a brand, should work with the Zalando Partner Program. The large reach and the established structure of the Zalando Partner Program offer you the ideal basis for more sales, marketing and international awareness.
1st advantage: make up for lost turnover from the wholesale sector
Zalando is focusing on expanding its marketplace business and is therefore strengthening its Partner and Connected Retail Program. For example, Zalando wants to double its gross merchandise volume (GMV) to 30 billion Euros by 2025. The share of the platform business in the GMV is expected to grow from currently 32 per cent to 50 per cent during this time.
At the same time Zalando wants to reduce its wholesale business. Therefore, it is better to start with Zalando's Partner Program sooner rather than later. The earlier you join, the further ahead you are of your competitors. But of course that's not the only advantage you get for your brand at Zalando.
2nd advantage: Outstanding brand positioning on Zalando
To present your brand in the best possible way, Zalando supports you using its own concept for success. More than 45 million customers use Zalando internationally in 23 European countries, and the number is growing. With your brand, you are entering a pool of customers who are just waiting to discover something new at Zalando. Right from the start, you will find customers who are active and willing to buy, and you will work together with the biggest fashion player in Europe. Your brand is where your customers are: They don't first have to find their way to you through costly marketing strategies. This not only saves you money, but also an enormous amount of time.
3rd advantage: Keep control over your brands at Zalando
Zalando's Partner Program allows you to be your own boss. You decide which of your products are sold on the marketplace, how you price them and in what way you want to present the products and your brand. You control your marketplace business yourself and thus retain control over your brand positioning. You will most likely find retailers on Zalando who offer your brands. They do not use the Partner Program, but the Connected Retail Program, as mentioned earlier. You cannot influence the retailer presentation of your brand. However, if you are at the forefront of the Zalando Partner Program, you keep control over the products you offer.
In addition, you can also sell products through Zalando's partner program that were not covered by wholesale. For example, you have the possibility to offer long-tail products that were not previously ordered by the Zalando buyers, but could be interesting for your customers.
4th advantage: Determine your own price on the online marketplace
The price sovereignty is entirely in your hands, i.e. you can determine the price at which you sell your items. Of course, you should consider the competition. Especially if other retailers offer products of yours, you want to avoid competing with your own brand. Ultimately, however, it is you who determines the price of your products and on Zalando you can be sure to not be subject to any restrictions or limitations in this regard, as can be the case with other marketplaces.
5th advantage: Usage of Zalando Fulfillment Solutions
To get a clear overview of the benefits of Zalando Fulfillment Solutions, it is important to understand what Zalando Fulfillment Solutions (ZFS) are in the first place. With ZFS, the Zalando logistics network and its services are at your disposal. Whether you want to ensure that your products reach your customers on time or that returns are handled quickly and easily, you want to reduce your logistics costs or internationalise your business, with Zalando Fulfillment Solutions (ZFS), Zalando Shipping Solutions (ZSS) and Zalando Return Solutions (ZRS) you will always find the right solution.
It is entirely up to you whether you want to use all of the services 100%, partially or not at all. Of course, you are also free to use your own logistics to deliver your goods to the end customer. Nevertheless, ZFS offer enormous advantages that turn the original five reasons to join the Zalando Partner Program into eleven beneficial reasons that speak for the marketplace.
Your advantages thanks to Zalando Fulfillment Solutions
#1: Save logistics costs
With ZFS, Zalando has the best price/performance ratio in terms of logistics costs compared to most marketplace logistics providers we have seen so far. The prices are usually better than the prices you get from DHL and Co. as a brand. This is simply due to the large volume that Zalando handles day after day. This also applies to the prices for delivery to other countries. In addition, the pricing is very transparent, as almost all contents are combined in one price. This makes the service easy to compare and the business case easy to calculate.
And the best part of it for you is not only the cost and time savings, but the fact that you can also use it to cover the logistics for other marketplaces if necessary.
In addition, Zalando takes over your B2C logistics, which is especially interesting if you don't yet have B2C logistics yourself and would have to build it up first. Most brands have B2B logistics in place and can easily serve their wholesale partners, but there is a significant difference between sending 100 large shipments per year and sending 100 small packages to end customers every day.
In addition to shipping to the customer, ZFS also handles all customer returns through ZRS and ensures that they are processed properly and to the satisfaction of all parties involved.
#2: Promote sustainability with Zalando Fulfillment Solutions
ZFS are also a benefit for the environment, because the customer's orders are collected and packed into one shipment, so that no more parcels than necessary are sent on the journey to him. This means greater convenience for the customer, because he is served by one carrier and does not have to visit different parcel centres to get his order in case of doubt. The returns system is handled in the same way by Zalando. Both services are not only good for the environment, but also convenient for your customers.
#3: On-time comfort for your customers
Zalando is also very concerned about keeping fast delivery times so that customers can enjoy the full comfort of the online marketplace. That's why Zalando ensures that your brand's products arrive on time and are delivered properly. If you, as a brand, fail to meet the Zalando Guidelines in terms of delivery speed, Zalando will rigorously punish you. In the worst case, the penalty can lead to your products no longer being available on Zalando.
#4: Recognition value & visibility
As a result of ZFS, your product is more likely to win the Buy Box on Zalando, which makes it stand out yet again. In other words, your product will be displayed in a prioritised way on Zalando, especially if there are multiple sellers of the same product. The functionality is similar to Amazon's Prime Badge. This increased visibility puts your product in the customer's focus more quickly and makes it more likely to be bought.
#5: Easy internationalisation
As of October 2022, ZFS makes it possible for you to have your brand's products delivered to 17 countries without any problems. Zalando has already connected all relevant carriers per country to its platform. This means you don't have to deal with contract negotiations and technical interface development yourself.
Moreover, this way you can test markets such as Switzerland or Norway. These are countries that are either not part of the European Union or have high customs duties. Please note that you may have to take into account additional costs when trying out these countries. Still, it is a great way to test an expansion for your brand without taking any risks.
#6: Sale - sell-off via Zalando
Zalando Fulfillment Solutions also offer you the opportunity to automatically participate in the Zalando Lounge program. This is an exclusive and closed Zalando shopping club where customers can purchase products at reduced prices and thus also buy your brand at a discount. If, for example, you were not able to sell your assortment for the season, it will automatically be moved to Zalando Lounge and offered there at a discount, if you wish. In this way, you limit the amount of old stock in the ZFS warehouse and have an easy way to re-market your items without having to relocate them. By doing so, the risk of having to dispose of old stock is reduced.
By the way, ...
... if the above-mentioned advantages have not convinced you of ZFS, perhaps this one will: From our expert network we know that it is necessary to reduce the price of one's products by about 5 per cent in order to win the Buy Box if one does not use ZFS.
Conclusion: The best opportunities with Zalando
Convinced? The Zalando Partner Program coupled with ZFS offers you as a fashion brand the great opportunity to sell more profitably by increasing your sales and reducing your cost. In addition, Zalando enables you to expand the awareness of your brand. Get started now and your brand will benefit over-proportionally. The advantages are obvious. So don't waste any time. If you don't know HOW to get started or are unsure about the specific steps to take, our Marketplace Uni courses will help you. Here you will learn everything you need to know to successfully join the Zalando Partner Program or various other marketplaces to boost your sales.