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Zalando offers free ship from store option for physical fashion retailers

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Germany’s Zalando is letting physical retailers sell through its platform as the impact of lockdown measures bite across Europe.

The fast fashion retailer is waiving commission and shifting to a weekly rather than monthly payment schedule during April and May for its Connected Retail programme to help brands and physical retailers survive the crisis.

The programme is open to brands and retailers in Germany and the Netherlands. Stores connect their stock to the platform by exporting inventory data from their ERP system and orders are fulfilled from the retailers’ stores by carriers DHL and PostNL in Germany and the Netherlands respectively.

Carsten Keller, VP Direct to Consumer, said: “As European fashion platform, we want to use our capabilities and resources to help solve the most urgent challenges during this crisis. With the Connected Retail program, physical retailers can connect with the Zalando platform and sell their products directly to our online customers.

“Currently, more than 1,500 brick-and-mortar stores in Germany and the Netherlands are connected to our platform, where they generate a relevant share of their revenue. Due to the urgency of the situation for many, we have accelerated our efforts to help physical stores: we’re waiving commission and shifting to a weekly pay-out schedule.”

Keller added: “Connected Retail is a comparably young business and still in the ramp-up phase. Flaws may emerge in the coming weeks, but we recognise the importance of acting quickly.

“We want to offer physical retailers access to online demand now. Our team will continue to work closely with our partners to manage any friction points as smoothly and cooperatively as possible. We are in this together.”

Some other online fashion retailers, such as Next and NET-A-PORTER, have shut down their warehouses for online orders amidst pressure from warehouse staff.

Zalando said it had introduced a number of measures at its warehouses, including repositioning work stations to allow social distancing and introducing thermal cameras to take employees’ body temperatures and send them home on sick leave if unwell. The retailer has also staggered employee break times, added more buses and increased ventilation in warehouses.

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