David Schneider and Robert Gentz launched Zalando in 2008, and it now has around 49 million active users across 25 European nations. Zalando operates in a number of different business sectors, including multi-brand online shopping, the shopping club Zalando Lounge, stores in 11 German cities, the consultancy service Zalon, as well as logistics and marketing services for retailers.
Zalando links more than 7,000 physical and mortar stores to the online fashion platform through the Connected Retail initiative. With almost 17,000 employees, Zalando made 10.35 billion euros in revenue in 2021.
Robert Gentz and David Schneider started Zalando in Berlin in 2008 with funding provided by the three Samwer brothers. Gentz, Schneider, and Oliver Samwer became friends while attending the Otto Beisheim School of Management at WHU.
Zalando initially focused on the sale of footwear because it was inspired by the US internet store Zappos.com.
The business expanded its product line to include clothes in 2010 and began operations in France and the Netherlands. It launched online stores in the UK, Italy, and Switzerland in 2011. Zalando expanded to Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Norway, Belgium, Spain, and Poland the following year. Zalando expanded its operations outside of Germany in 2012 and started shipping goods to Austria.
Since 2013, Zalando has transformed into a European digital platform by following the lead of internet businesses from the East, particularly China.
Zalando began the process of transforming itself into a digital shopping mall by imitating Chinese businesses. This allowed fashion houses and merchants to earn sales through the Partner Program as well, frequently with no involvement from Zalando.
The MDAX has added Zalando since 22 June 2015. Zalando started working with Topshop in 2015 and started selling products online.
Zalando started turning a profit in 2014 after years of losses since its founding. The two most significant cost components for Zalando are fulfilment and marketing expenditures, which together account for 50% of total revenues without taking into account the costs of sales.
In 2010, marketing costs reached a high of 25%. Germany, Austria, and Switzerland, collectively referred to as “DACH,” account for about 50% of sales income.