Zalando is launching a new strategy, called Connected Retail, to integrate online and offline channels as part of its evolution from an online retailer to an open ecosystem, or platform. Through Connected Retail, Zalando's fashion partners can take orders from Zalando customers themselves and ship the goods directly from their physical stores. Based on Zalando's plan, more than 600 brick-and-mortar stores will have plugged into its e-commerce platform by the end of the year. Connected Retail is also set for internationalization in 2019, with the Netherlands as one of the target markets, the company said. In practical terms, via the Zalando platform, stores can connect their stock to the e-commerce site, take orders and ship the goods directly from their physical stores. In the future, the model will be used for same-day or next-day deliveries, as the partners' offline stores are often closer to the customer than a remote warehouse. The integration between offline and online stores is meant to allow customers to benefit from a new shopping experience regardless of their address, Zalando said.

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