How Zalando seeks to “become a fashion benchmark” – Retail Strategy > Retail

I came to Zalando to pursue the company’s localization policy and win the hearts of French customers.. “Laura Toledano did not hesitate to sign, in September 2021, for the German company, she who has worked in the field of fashion for fifteen years. When recruited by the e-commerce company, she showed herself to be ” happy to bring (his) experience and (his) subject matter expertise », picked up throughout his journey. Every position, as he tells us, has served him, starting with Unibail-Rodamco, his first house, in 2007.

D-1: “The style and positioning of brands can have an impact on consumers”

Laura Toledano began her career in commercial real estate. He quickly realizes that the world of retail fascinates him more than real estate, and ends up at Monoprix. With this ambition to “create a business unit from scratch to invite designers to design capsule collections for the brand”. A revelation, he said: I understood how a brands offering, style and positioning can have a real impact on consumers. “He also learned to develop products in close relationships with suppliers, before joining Monshowroom.com in 2016.” My mission is to reposition the site. First from the point of view of the offer, by redefining the values, by defining the brands to be developed and acquired. Then on the customer experience side (logo redesign and specific site), without forgetting CRM. He held this position for two years before knocking on the door of Ventes-privées (future Veepee) where he managed a business unit of several dozen people. A great experience where he learned the “ the importance of listening to brands and partners to support them in their digital growth “.

D-Day: “Amazed by employees’ commitment”

A varied experience, as he defined it, that “inspired, nourished” him and gave him the keys to contact Zalando, a huge machine with 10.4 billion euros in turnover in 2021 – ” increased by almost 30% in one year “, he added. But be careful “not to skip steps”, underlined the General manager (GM). “Because it is a mistake to think that it is enough to apply to the letter what one has learned in previous jobs. No , you have to adapt. And in the first place to identify the universe that just came with it, to understand the rich organization (8,000 people work at the headquarters, in Berlin), to discover the different professions. So, the meeting in all the teams filled his first days as CEO of Zalando France. That also “reassured” him, says Laura Toledano, before adding: ” I was impressed by the desire and commitment of the employees, the incredible strike force of the teams. There are too many important exchanges to think about the strategy to put in place from the first weeks.

D + 50: “The company must inspire consumers”

First, it performs the work – capital – of the audit. clear, it is a question of collecting a lot of informationit is necessary to “understand what has been achieved, point out areas for improvement and strength, then study the French market and understand the users of our platform”, bringing together approx. 5,800 brands and 1.4 million items for sale. “The ingredients for success are there, you just need to find the best recipe, the right dose to best serve French customers. “Useful clarification: the roadmap, he designed it for the long term. “The idea is to find out where you want to be in five years. We asked him. ” I would like to consider the company as the reference fashion site in France. The company must inspire consumers… like Netflix or Spotify to watch a series or listen to a piece of music. But how to “inspire” and attract the French? First, thanks for the permanent development of the offer. “We already have great partner brands, but we’re always on the lookout for new brands that appeal to our customers. As many “desirable” names from abroad as “innovative French designers advancing fashion”, he defined. “Our international dimension allows us to unearth talent. »

D + 100: “Offer support services to partner brands”

However, for this, it is necessary to support partners. He quickly left to meet them, to introduce himself. And above all to “offer them multiple support services aimed at meeting their growth ambitions, whether in terms of logistics, marketing or distribution services”. For example, brands can sell their products on the Zalando marketplace and benefit from around twenty European markets (through the “Partner program”) or connect their physical stores to its platform (through “Connected retail”). In sight: “The development of their ability to see, especially abroad.” And this important ambition for Zalando, he said, is to be considered the #1 digital partner within the e-commerce ecosystem “. To achieve the overall goal, Laura Toledano aims to support its partners, as well as consumers. And this requires “significant work to be done around the appearance”. For example “by recommending items to complement customers’ clothes”. It can also involve setting up “collaborations with influencers who will post their favorite outfits available on Zalando”. Its role: to find solutions for consumers to get on board, for them to like… Laura Toledano, in this regard, indicates that “we must not stop changing, and never sleep”. In other words, keep thinking improve the customer experience. In particular, he mentioned the loyalty program ” Zalando More “, set up in its first 100 days, thanks to which the company can provide customers with “quality service, free fast delivery, free returns, capsule collections discoverable in preview and even priority treatment when they contact customer service.”

D + 200: “We are looking for dedicated brands”

There are so many missions to be carried out at once, without forgetting the subject of wind in the sails, the role of business in the fight against climate change. Zalando aims to be an important and, at the same time, responsible e-commerce reference. Laura Toledano never forgets to “watch how the world develops”, and wants to play her part. A long-term process, he says, fully aware of the negative impact of fast fashion. But how to do it? By choosing partner brands, it can choose those that really aim to reduce their footprint: “ 21.6% of our business volume in 2021 came from more eco-responsible products, and we aim to reach 25% by 2023. We are also looking for more engaged brands, and making sure they are more valued on the platform to move in the right direction. “Because, according to Zalando’s GM, “this is a major issue”. Long-term.

Mini bio:

After a first experience at Unibail-Rodamco, Laura Toledano joined Monoprix in 2009 as director of partnerships and capsule collections. New venture, then, at Monshowroom.com from 2016, with the title of Purchasing and Marketing Director. He arrived in 2018 at Ventes-Privées, which became Veepee during his time as director of the sport, accessories, and luxury business units. That position he left in 2021.

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