BERLIN: Online fashion retailer Zalando has accumulated a vast trove of data which it is now exploiting to facilitate strategic marketing and merchandising for its partner brands.

Martin Schmidt, head of the Consumer Insights business at Zalando, told the recent MRMW Europe conference in Berlin that the e-commerce site was getting around 77 visits every second.

“That means that our knowledge, our understanding of customers keeps growing day by day,” he said. But the fashion brands that are being sold haven't had the same picture.

“They are aware of those numbers,” said Schmidt, “but they ask themselves ... who are the people buying my products on Zalando?” (For more details, read WARC’s report: How Zalando leverages data as a customer service.)

They may know all about their own customers who are coming to their own websites, but “one thing is missing for them and that is the reference point”, he said.

“And that is the reason why fashion brands are so interested in getting access to our data.”

Accordingly, Zalando has built a two-tier business model around this, one element of which is a self-service web interface that can answer the typical questions to which brands want answers based on a standardised set of data – such as ‘How is my brand trending vs the category benchmark?’

The other is a project-based consultancy service, which leverage existing data around purchase behaviour and onsite behaviour, and combines that with consumer surveys.

“All this [data] helps us to generate insights which then lead to recommendations for specific actions for our brand partners,” said Schmidt.

As well as acting as a reference point, Zalando data can be interrogated to assist fashion brands with product development and quantifying purchase intent.

“It takes a lot of time for a fashion brand to produce a new product and then have it shipped to its stores,” noted Schmidt.

“If its forecasting accuracy isn't very good, they end up with a lot of overstock.”

Sourced from WARC