Screenshot of Zalando Home Page

Zalando is an electronic commerce venture located in Germany and founded in 2008. It started with catering for the residents of 14 European countries and gradually expanded. Their services are now used by customers from all over the world and the company has several subsidiaries. They made a name for themselves by offering better than average return policies and inexpensive shipping. Those who use their service appreciate the fact that they have the option of paying after delivery. This procedure reduces the risks for shoppers and encourages prospective customers to place their first order.

Key facts about Zalando

  • Zalando allows users to return items up to 90 days after they are delivered.
  • The delivery service is fast and inexpensive, two key ingredients in the recipe for success.
  • Zalando sells items that can be found on traditional e-commerce websites, but focuses on fashion.
  • For a couple of years, the company struggled and only started to be profitable in 2014.
  • Zalando has changed its website to make it easier to navigate and launched a mobile app.

How does Zalando work?

Zalando used to be known for its clothes and shoes, but the web shop quickly grew beyond the fashion industry limitations. Having said this, it is still preferred by those who are in the market for clothes, sports items, accessories and of course shoes. The drop-down menus make it easy to filter results, for shoppers who don’t know exactly what they are looking for. Browsing for a particular brand or product greatly speeds up the process.

Items are added to the shopping cart one by one and then customers are instructed to choose one of the payment methods available. In addition to debit and credit cards, users can also rely upon PayPal or bank transfers to complete their order. Immediately after the payment is made, shoppers will receive a confirmation email which serves as proof of purchase. The tracking number allows users to track their product from Zalando all the way to their doorsteps.

The company has made a name for itself for not charging anything for item transportation. Deliveries are free even when the amount is very low, something that differentiates the company from other e-commerce operators. Not even the industry leaders, such as Amazon, eBay or regional players such as Flipkart and AliExpress offer these perks. Another advantage is that unwanted purchases can be sent back within 90 days of placing the orders and without any justification.

On the off chance that the product doesn’t meet the expectations or clients want to make further changes to their order, they should contact customer support. Open seven days a week, the specialists are only available between 8 AM and 8 PM via telephone and email.

Screenshot of Zalando Shoes and Fashion
Screenshot of Zalando Shoes and Fashion

The Zalando mobile experience

Zalando has a mobile app and users can browse as many as 1500 brands and tens of thousands of products. The emphasis on the fashion industry is self evident, with most of the items belonging to this category. Shopping on a mobile device isn’t any different as buying items using the desktop computer or laptop. Users can compare prices on high street by using the barcode scanner and find better deals online.

Returning customers can use personalized recommendations for their favorite brands. They can create wish lists and get notifications when the items they are looking for are back in stock. The convenience of using a mobile device is that clients can share their shopping over social networks. WhatsApp, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram and Twitter are all included. Free shipping to as many as 15 countries in Europe and the ability to track the status is not off-limits for mobile users.

When shopping on mobile devices, customers can choose the packaging and have the possibility of wrapping up the item as a gift. With major brands such as Guess, Timberland and Vero Moda feature, Zalando has emerged as a favorite among those seeking for prominent clothes manufacturers. For orders that involve fragile items, buyers can request special air pillows to be added to the box. This offers an additional layer of security and mitigates the risks of items breaking down.

What are others saying about Zalando?

Zalando reviews are generally positive, which means a great deal since most of the items they sell are fashion related. These customers can be pretty demanding, but so far the e-commerce store managed to keep them happy. However, the company came under the scrutiny of German authorities in 2012 for its packing and distribution. There were indications that the workers were poorly treated and not allowed to sit down despite traveling long distances.

Screenshot of Zalando Gift Vouchers
Screenshot of Zalando Gift Vouchers

More recent complaints and even a suit were filed in 2015 by the German Center for Protection Against unfair Competition. They claim that the company is misleading customers by suggesting that certain products have limited availability. Zalando has promptly responded and changed its marketing practices to promptly reflect the availability of the product they sell.

My rating of Zalando

Zalando took a leap of faith when they chose to offer perks that were unavailable at other e-commerce websites. Free delivery on products regardless of cost and the possibility to return items within three months helped them stand out. The risky strategy explains why they struggled below the profitability line for so long before finally breaking even. Personally, I like companies that are willing to take some chances and play the long game. It’s the kind of partners I’m searching for when shopping online.

The complaints that worry me most are the ones claiming that Zalando used to falsely advertise their promotions. It is refreshing to hear that they since made amends and that they are willing to improve their service to meet the high standards set by German authorities. The bottom line is that this could be a good choice if you are in the market for fashion items. In the great scheme of things however, Zalando is only a small player in a big and highly competitive world. A review score of 7 out of 10 should reflect that.

Overall Score