- Vivian Hendriksz |
London - Imagine walking into a Zalando brick and mortar store in London, or Berlin or Paris and being able to touch and see their fashion offering in person. This thought may just become a reality in the not so distance future as the online giant is currently pondering on opening flagship stores in a number of key cities.
"We have proper fans in the metropolises who spend much time with us and order a lot. It could be interesting for them to also experience the brand offline," said Rubin Ritter, co-chief executive and member of the board at Zalando to German publication Manager Magazin. Although the idea of opening a series of brand stores is still in early stages, it would not be the first physical stores Zalando would open. The German online retailer currently operates a number of outlet in Berlin, Frankfurt and Cologne.
Zalando mulls over opening flagship stores in London, Paris and Berlin
However the opening of flagship stores would signal a significant step in the online retailer's growth, as Zalando has been investing in expanding its presence both on and offline over the past few years. In 2015 Zalando acquired bankrupted trade show Bread & Butter and transformed the concept into a consumer-facing fashion festival, which is said to have been the company's first step in offering services outside of the online realm, according to Ritter. Zalando also acquired online retailer Kickz in March, which also runs a number of physical stores.
"Physical stores are more of an experiential world in our view, not just a source of revenue," said David Schneider in a previous interview with FashionUnited DE. "That is why we did not work with traditional stores earlier...We are moving away from a pure retail mindset, because it is not only about buying and selling products. We want to focus on becoming a platform where we bring the strengths and skills of the different parties together in a unique network. We want to give our customers the best possible shopping experience, regardless of where the products are coming from."
In addition to mulling over opening physical stores, Zalando is said to be looking into introducing additive manufacturing, or 3D printing for local production. Ritter notes that it would be especially beneficial for the company to use the technology to reprint best selling sneakers and items from small and medium-sized fashion brands directly in Berlin, to cut down on lead time and supplement its other logistical and fulfilment options.
Founded in Berlin, Germany in 2008 Zalando has expanded rapidly over the past years to become one of Europe's leading online retailers. At the moment Zalando offers 1,500 brands to consumers across 15 countries. In 2016 Zalando reported a 23 percent in turnover to 3.6 billion euros, driven by a 11 percent increase in customers to 20 million.
Photos: Courtesy of Zalando