Why Zalando Has a Shot at Becoming a Platform: It Already Has Significant Scale


Fashion United about a pilot program between Zalando and Adidas:

a pilot, which Zalando started with sportswear company adidas, which connects the brands’ warehouses through software system Anatwine and offers customers access to a wider adidas assortment. Known as the “Zalando Partner Program,” the test phase allows shoppers freedom to purchase adidas product directly through the company, even if they are sold out on Zalando.

Fashion United talked with David Schneider, Co-Founder and member of the board at Zalando, Harm Ohlmeyer, Senior Vice President of Sales Strategy & Excellence at adidas and Chris Griffin, Chief Executive Officer of Anatwine.

Zalando Adidas

Here is a quote from Ohlmeyer:

We have chosen to work with Zalando at this early stage because the company is on the verge of becoming a technology company with all tech capabilities needed, and not just a retailer.

I think that it will drive consumer satisfaction on both sites, as we are connecting our retail doors with real time inventory. Just picture the learning for the future: we can plan for the future looking at what we sold in the past and now we get the true demand picture from the consumer that we can learn from on both sides. It is a win-win situation for three partners sharing the same vision.

It is quite clear, that Zalando got into the door at Adidas because of its current size. Why should Adidas cooperate this deeply with a small retailer? It is also clear that Adidas, reasonably or not, expects Zalando to grow tremendously.

This is why Zalando has a realistic shot at becoming the ‘open fashion platform’ it wants to become: It already has the scale necessary to get important partners on board.

The hardest part to Zalando’s grand vision is the chicken-egg problem at the beginning. But this may already have been solved more or less.1

This is how you can successfully build a marketplace / platform: You already have one side -here: the end consumer- secured to an amount that is significant to the other side you want to get onto your platform -here: partners like brands as Adidas and others-. (See also: Amazon Marketplace.)

With MOVMNT, Zalando is working on a drop-shipment solution as a mobile app.

  1. As in: Now it is about execution ‘only’. 


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