In Their Words: The People Making Connected Retail a Reality

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Voices from connected stores during Cyber Week and the vision behind Zalando’s solution to bring offline stores online

We are now in the most commercially relevant period of the year, when offline stores are ordinarily packed with excited customers looking for Black Friday and Cyber Week deals. Thanks to Connected Retail, Zalando’s offline to online integration solution, our partners can still participate in the peak season and ship to Zalando customers from their brick-and-mortar stores. In the third quarter of 2020, we have connected over 300 stores to Zalando. In total, we now have over 2,300 active offline stores connected to the platform, which are further supported by waived commission fees and a shift from monthly to weekly pay-outs until the end of the first quarter of 2021. 

Via Connected Retail, Zalando customers experience greater product availability and can shop local even from their own homes. Since Connected Retail is all about partnership, we wanted to hear from the people making it a reality; our partner stores and the team behind the integration solution.

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Carsten Keller, VP Direct-to-Consumer, Zalando SE

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Oskar Zwart, Zwart Modeschoenen

Dr Carsten Keller, VP Direct-To-Consumer: “I am excited to see the great Cyber Week performance of offline stores on our platform. In 2020, Connected Retail has become a relevant solution for so many retailers to finally bridge the gap to online. This is incredibly meaningful for me and the entire Connected Retail team. In light of all the uncertainty of the Corona crisis, it represents an opportunity for online and offline to finally join forces and build the future of shopping. What we have seen in 2020 so far was the definition of great partnership, creating true win-win-win: for customers, partners and Zalando.”

Shoe store, O.J.M. Zwart Schoenhandel in Leerdam, the Netherlands, joined the Connected Retail program in November 2020. Oskar Zwart, store owner, says, “With the current circumstances, we find it even more important and valuable for stores to connect to online platforms in order to attract more customers. We have clearly seen this Black Friday that people didn’t come so often to our store, but ordered mostly online or via Zalando. For the future we have great confidence in the combination of online and offline and see this as the way to move forward.”

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Thomas Weckerlein, Rudolf Wöhrl SE

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Rudolf Wöhrl SE joined Connected Retail during the first wave of the coronavirus crisis in 2020. The German fashion retail chain is connected to the Zalando platform with all of its 30 offline stores across southern Germany. Thomas Weckerlein, CEO says, “We have been part of the Connected Retail program since May and via this cooperation we can reach new customers in the online world, sell goods and generate valuable additional sales. In the current corona crisis with reduced footfall, all hands in our stores are working together to pack the many parcels every day and make online customers happy. For us this is a valuable cooperation with Zalando.”

Nudie Jeans has currently connected four stores to our platform via Connected Retail, one in the Netherlands, two in Germany and one in Norway as their latest addition. Retail Manager Europe Ben Lundberg on the collaboration: “Since the introduction of our Repair Shops, Nudie Jeans has had a strong service perspective in the store environment, spanning from nerdy product conversations to free repair service and second hand denim options. Working together with Connected Retail provides us with an opportunity to take new steps in the service we offer to the customer, while simultaneously stimulating sales and optimizing product distribution as part of our overall efforts for a more sustainable future.”

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Heiko Ronge, PTH Group

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Maria Stadler, Team Lead Account Management Connected Retail at Zalando: “For us it is most important that we offer a quick and easy solution to retailers and brands to connect to our platform. We support them with the onboarding and work on tailored solutions for every kind of partner and size of the store. During Cyber Week we received pictures from our partners on a daily basis showing mountains of packages and happy employees packing boxes in store. These are heart-warming moments for us and proof that this is a great partnership on both sides.”

PTH Group joined Connected Retail in 2017. As Germany’s largest fashion franchisee, the Group takes part in the program with over 100 franchise stores like Tommy Hilfiger and Calvin Klein. “For us, the cooperation with Zalando Connected Retail is a partnership that actively delivers. A good partnership proves itself in times of crisis; through open discussions at eye level and a joint search for the best possible solutions for both sides. Here we perceive a high degree of reliability, which is why we form a strong, profitable alliance, even in difficult times like now for the retail industry,” says Heiko Ronge, CEO Private Textiles Holding GmbH.

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