Zalando is offering to host British brands and retailers on its own e-commerce platform, displaying and selling their stock and handling orders, payments, returns and customer care. Guest brands and retailers must provide free delivery and offer free returns within 100 days.

Zalando is already hosting more than 170 brands and retailers from Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg, France, Switzerland and Italy on its marketplace, following the lead of more generic marketplaces such as Amazon, or more fashion-specific marketplaces such as Yoox.

A majority of retailers in Europe, the U.S. and Australia plan to implement or join a unified e-commerce platform within the next few years, according to a survey conducted by Demandware in partnership with the U.S. National Retail Foundation, Ecommerce Europe and the Ecommerce Foundation. It would be expected to happen within ten years by 86 percent of the 300 retailers who were polled. The survey showed that 36 percent are already developing a formal transition plan and looking at budget options.

Shared internet platforms will help the retailers' IT executives to bridge the multiple digital and traditional touch points that customers access, leading to better service, streamlined IT operations and higher margins. In particular, 38 percent of the IT officials believe that a unified platform will significantly improve the value of average customer orders and conversion rates. Also, 46 percent of them believe that it raises brand value, and 52 percent that it will significantly improve inventory turns and returns.