Brandsom Sep 11, 2020 3:15:58 PM 29 min read

Selling on Zalando | Explanation, tips and tricks

Do you have a fashion store or webshop? Or do you own a clothing brand? Then you can sell your fashion through Zalando. You will benefit from the brand awareness and popularity of this large online fashion store. This can give you a lot of extra customers and sales. But then you have to do it right! In this article, you will read everything you need to know about selling as an external seller on Zalando.

About Zalando

Zalando is the largest online fashion platform in Europe. The webshop started in Germany and currently sells to more than 45 million customers in no fewer than 23 European countries. In addition to Germany and the Netherlands, Zalando sells in: Austria, France, Italy, United Kingdom, Sweden, Switzerland, Belgium, Spain, Denmark, Finland, Poland, Norway, Luxembourg, Czech Republic, Ireland, Slovenia, Lithuania, and Slovakia. Zalando started as an online shoe store, but quickly became a webshop for fashion in general. In addition to shoes, you can now also buy women's and men's clothing, sportswear, fashion accessories, lingerie, make-up, and other cosmetic products. The range consists of products from more than 4500 brands.

Zalando's platform strategy

The European fashion market is undergoing a radical change thanks to digitization. Customers, brands, retailers, manufacturers, stylists, content providers, and logistics companies are connected by new technologies. Zalando wants to respond to this and benefit from it by deploying a platform-based business model.

A platform is a business model that focuses on enabling interactions between supply and demand. Zalando currently offers its own products and products from external sellers. In the future, Zalando wants to focus more on income from products from external sellers. To achieve this, they make major investments in improving infrastructure and attracting brand partners.

Selling on Zalando through the affiliate program

For brand partners, selling fashion items on the Zalando platform offers many opportunities. The platform offers you as a brand owner or (web) shop owner the opportunity to be seen by more customers and thus sell more products. The large international network also offers you the opportunity to easily sell in multiple countries.

Via the partner program you can fit your stock directly into the Zalando platform. As a partner you keep control over your product range and prices. Zalando handles payment processing and customer service. You can also use additional services, such as Zalando Fulfillment Services and various marketing options.

Brands already participating in the affiliate program include: Mango, Bestseller, Nike, Superdry, The North Face, Wrangler, Oysho, Esprit and s.Oliver.

Integrate your products on the Zalando platform

How exactly does the integration of your products on the Zalando platform work?

Manually adding all your products and keeping track of your stock is of course far too much work. Nevertheless, the information of each partner item must be uploaded to the online Zalando catalog to enable the flow of information from inventory and orders between Zalando customers and partners. You can choose from three integration methods:

1. Create a direct API integration: Create a direct connection between your inventory and Zalando's API.
2. Use an integrator: you can use an external integrator who already has a connection to the Zalando platform. The integrator offers you an interface with which you can manage your inventory and orders.
3. Leave it to us: you can of course also leave the fitting of your products on the Zalando platform to us. We make the connection between your products and the Zalando platform and offer you support in managing your account.

Logistic options for external sellers on Zalando

As an external seller on Zalando you can choose to do the logistics process yourself or have it carried out by Zalando.

Do the logistics process yourself (Partner Fulfillment)

If you choose to do the logistics process yourself, you manage your stock and shipments from your warehouse. To do this, you must meet the following requirements:

  • Customer Service: You must respond to any written request from the customer and requests through Zalando Customer Service within 24 hours. At least one customer service representative must be available by phone and email from Monday to Saturday from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.
  • Logistics partners: deliveries to the customer must be made by a Zalando approved logistics company in the respective country. In the Netherlands this is PostNL or DHL, in Germany DPD, Hermes or DHL, and in Belgium UPS or BPost.
  • Packaging requirements: each individual item must be packaged separately. You must pack clothing, accessories, bags, etc. in a transparent polybag. You must pack your shoes in a shoe box. Each item and packaging must be clearly marked with a unique item number, EAN / GTIN, the color code or color description, an EU size chart. The label on the item, in the polybag, must be visible without having to open the bag.
  • Delivery documents: in the package you must include a delivery note, a return form and a return label.
  • Shipping and Returns: Both shipping and returns must be free for customers. The customer must receive his or her products within the specified time and may return the products within 100 days.

Brandsom Blogpost Pakketje (1)

Outsourcing the logistics process (Zalando fulfillment solutions)

As an external seller, you can also choose to outsource the logistics process to Zalando. If you do this, you choose Zalando Fulfillment Solutions (ZFS) and you put your products in stock in the warehouses of Zalando. Zalando takes care of the stock management, packaging, and shipping of your products for you. Furthermore, Zalando will handle all returns. 

Zalando Shipping Solutions (ZSS) is a value-added shipping service for partners in Zalando’s Partner Program who have integrated using Tradebyte

ZSS enables partners to grow internationally and deliver on customer promises by leveraging Zalando’s transport infrastructure and is currently available in DE, AT, NL, FR, BE, SE, DK and FI, with further expansion planned for 2022.

Onboarding articles on Zalando

As an external seller on Zalando you are responsible for the range, prices and images that you use. You can choose to "onboard" your entire range, or part of your products. All your products receive a product code or SKU. Do you sell items that are being sold by other sellers? Each item is listed once on the website, under one SKU. This means that one SKU can have multiple resellers.

When onboarding your items, you should pay attention to the following:

  • Article selection: you can onboard as many items as you want. You must, however, have the legal rights to sell the product. Also, the product must not violate Zalando's ethical standards.
  • Assortment: you can adjust your assortment at any time by adding items, changing product information, or removing an item.
  • Stock: the products that are online must always be in stock.
  • Ownership of the item: you remain the owner of the item until the product is on the customer's mat. In case the customer wants to return the product, you become the owner of the product again.
  • Images and product descriptions: you are responsible for the photos and texts accompanying your products. For the photos you have to comply with the image requirements of Zalando. You can read more about this below. The product descriptions must in any case contain information about the color, materials and dimensions.
  • Prices: The item price cannot exceed the actual sale price of the item.

Requirement for product images Zalando

In order to sell successfully on Zalando, it is very important to use quality photos of your products. Good photos and well-written product descriptions strengthen your brand value on Zalando. Zalando has strong demands for the product photos of external sellers. The requirements differ per product category (clothing, shoes, accessories, etc.). You can read all the requirements on Zalando partner program.

The main technical requirements:

  • Aspect ratio (width x height): 1: 1.44
  • Minimum size: 762 x 1100 pixels
  • Maximum size: 6000 x 9000 pixels
  • Best practice format: 1800 x 2600 pixels
  • Image Type: JPG/JPEG
  • Color mode: sRGB
  • The photo should be taken upright (vertical)

Also, keep in mind the following:

  • The photo should not be overexposed.
  • The background must be neutral; with no spheric background and no colored backgrounds.
  • Avoid shadows and reflections.
  • Products must be neat; no wrinkles or creases, dust, scratches or fuzz.
  • For clothing applies: the styling of the clothing should always be done with shoes, not barefoot (with the exception of lingerie and yoga).

Brandsom Blogpost Afmetingen (EN)


Start selling on Zalando: checklist

Before you can start selling on Zalando you must meet the following requirements:

1. You own an existing webshop.

2. You sell items in one or more of the following categories: clothing, shoes, sportswear, fashion accessories.

3. You meet the service requirements of Zalando: free shipping and return, 100-day return policy, shipping by a logistics partner approved by Zalando.

Want to know more about selling on Zalando? Click on the arrow below to get in touch with one of our specialists.

Pijl naar beneden (oranje)

Integration checklist (Partner Fulfillment)

Do you meet these requirements? Good! Then you’re able register your products on the platform. Before you can start registering your products on the Zalando platform, however, you must meet some requirements. If you choose to do the logistics yourself (partner fulfillment), check whether you meet all the points on the following checklists:

General checklist:

  • You have signed the Zalando contract.
  • The contract between you and the integrator has been signed.
  • You have signed a contract with one of the approved carriers.
  • You have reinforced the "master data sheet" (a spreadsheet containing all available product data) to Zalando.
  • The names and functions of all important contacts have been provided to Zalando.
  • You have access to Zalando Partner University (ZPU)
  • You are aware of the VAT policy. Please keep in mind that you are responsible for your tax obligations in the countries where you sell through Zalando. For some countries this means that you need a local VAT number.
  • The KYC documents have been submitted to Zalando (see below).

Checklist regarding your feed:

1. You have provided Zalando with your brand logo or brand logos. The logos have a minimum width of 200px, must be saved as JPG/JPEG and be in RGB format.
2. Supply size chart codes that convert your measurements to Zalando's standard sizes.
3. Your images meet Zalando's technical requirements (see above).

Logistics checklist:

1. Your warehouse is ready to ship orders from Zalando with a Zalando approved carrier.
2. The delivery documents are adapted to Zalando's requirements (delivery note, return note, return instructions, invoice). Send a sample delivery with all delivery documents to Zalando.
3. You have informed Zalando whether you are using Packing Stations, Pickup Points and Cash by Delivery.

Technical checklist:

1. The Integrator systems are correctly connected to your internal systems.
2. You have access to the Integrator Portal.

KYC documents

Before you can integrate your products into the Zalando platform, you must send the necessary KYC documents to Zalando. KYC stands for Know Your Customer. Providing KYC documents is a legal requirement based on the German Money Laundering legislation. Due to this law, Zalando is required to establish the identity of its customers (i.e. contractual partners) who trade on Zalando Marketplace.

What to do?

  • Fill in your details and provide supporting documents via Zalando's online KYC questionnaire.
  • Provide the following PDF documents: a copy of registration in the company or trade register, a copy of a valid passport or ID of any person acting on behalf of the company, proof of a private residential address (e.g. a copy of a recent electricity bill), proof of place of birth (if not stated on the ID, this proof can be provided in the form of a birth certificate).

Sell more products on Zalando

Do you already sell products on Zalando, but do you want to get more successful? It's possible! You will increase sales on Zalando by:

  • improving your product information;
  • using Zalando Marketing Services.

Improve your product information

Good product information ensures that your products are found more easily and sold more often. The product information helps the customer to get a clear picture of his possible purchase. This is how you improve your product information: 

1. Choose a clear title. In any case, state the brand of the product, the model, and the product group. Separate the various parts of the title with a hyphen. Do not: write entire words in capital letters, use different spellings in a title, excessive adjectives.
2. Complete the product specification completely. Fill in all characteristics that apply to your product.
3. Provide a clear and appealing description of your product. Give the important details of your product and write in a promotional manner. A good description ensures a lower return percentage and a higher conversion.
4. Provide sufficient and qualitative photos and videos. Make sure that the photos and videos do not only show what the garment is, but also what the material is, how it feels, how it falls, etc. This does not only ensure more sales but also that there will be fewer returned products.
5. Make sure your product description is unique, and that the descriptions of the different products differ enough from each other. Don't just copy the product description from your website. A unique product description ensures that your product page scores better on Google.

Zalando Marketing Services (ZMS): advertising on Zalando

Another way to increase the number of sales on Zalando is to use Zalando's Marketing Services. Selling on Zalando offers many opportunities, due to the wide reach and a large number of active customers. But competition on the platform is strong. By using Zalando Marketing Services (ZMS) you can ensure that your products come to the attention of more customers.

Zalando Marketing Services consists of the following three services:

1. Consumer Insights: get a better understanding of your (potential) customers. With Consumer Insights, Zalando offers you tailor-made advice and analyzes. With this advice, you can improve your product, marketing, and merchandising decisions.
2. ZMS Creative: with ZMS Creative, Zalando offers you different ways to use your marketing in a creative way: through storytelling and based on data.
3. ZMS Media: with ZMS Media you can run marketing campaigns on the Zalando website, on social media, and on other online channels.

Brandsom Blogpost Grafiek (3)

Why should you use Zalando Marketing Services? Below some advantages are listed:

  • By using tailor-made campaigns (ZMS creative) you can stimulate your sales and strengthen your market position.
  • By using ZMS Media you can draw attention to new brands or new products.
  • By using ZMS Media you can bring your clothing to the attention in all countries where Zalando is active.
  • By using Consumer Insights you will get a better understanding of the market and your (potential) customers within Zalando.

Help with automation via Zalando: integrators

An integrator is a software that links your internal systems to the system of one or more marketplaces. By using an integrator you can automatically register all your products on the Zalando platform. Orders are processed automatically and stock is automatically tracked. The integrator offers you an interface on which you can view your products, your stock, and your orders.

To use an integrator, you need ICT knowledge. Do you not have enough ICT knowledge yourself to make this link? At Brandsom we have experience integrating brands with all major integrators including ChannelEngine, Productflow, Vendiro, Tradebyte, and Zalando's partner portal zDirect. We can therefore help you with:

  • finding the right integrator;
  • linking your systems;
  • onboarding and mapping your products.

Brandsom  Blogpost Visual (engels)

What does selling on Zalando cost?

You can benefit a lot from selling on Zalando, but of course, there are also costs involved. Brands and retailers pay a commission per product sold. The commission is calculated as a percentage of the price for which the product is sold and is between 5% and 25%. The percentage that Zalando charges depends on the product category and the price of the product. The higher the price, the higher the commission.

Help with selling on Zalando

Are you interested in selling your products on Zalando and could you use some help with this? Click on the arrow below to get in touch with one of our specialists.

Pijl naar beneden (oranje)

For example, we can help you with:

  • automation: onboarding your products via various integrators;
  • optimizing: improving your product titles and descriptions;
  • advertising: the successful use of Zalando's marketing opportunities.

Get in touch with Daniel

Our Fashion specialist Daniel is here for you to answer all your questions. Fill out the form and let Daniel get in touch with you to discuss what Brandsom can do for you!

Or call directly on +31(0)30 227 05 20

Daniel Rabbie, marketplace consultant, AboutYou specialist, Fashion marketplace specialist