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Company > Zalando: Business Model, SWOT Analysis, and Competitors 2023

Zalando: Business Model, SWOT Analysis, and Competitors 2023

Published: Jul 12, 2023

Inside This Article


    In this blog article, we will delve into Zalando's business model, conduct a SWOT analysis, and explore its competitors in the year 2023. Zalando, a leading online fashion and lifestyle platform, has revolutionized the retail industry with its innovative approach. By offering a wide range of products from various brands, Zalando has attracted a large customer base. However, it is crucial to assess the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats associated with Zalando's business model to understand its standing in the market. Furthermore, we will identify key competitors vying for market share in the dynamic landscape of the fashion industry.

    What You Will Learn:

    • Who owns Zalando and the key stakeholders involved in the company's ownership structure.
    • The mission statement of Zalando and how it guides the company's operations and goals.
    • The various revenue streams and strategies employed by Zalando to make money in the e-commerce industry.
    • An in-depth explanation of the Zalando Business Model Canvas, highlighting the key components and how they contribute to the company's success.
    • A comprehensive overview of Zalando's major competitors in the market and how they compare in terms of market share and offerings.
    • A detailed analysis of Zalando's strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats through a SWOT analysis.

    Who owns Zalando?

    Ownership Structure of Zalando

    Zalando, the leading online fashion and lifestyle retailer in Europe, has a diverse ownership structure. The company's ownership is divided among various stakeholders, including both institutional and individual investors. Let's take a closer look at who owns Zalando.

    Founders and Management

    Zalando was founded in 2008 by Robert Gentz and David Schneider, who still play a significant role in the company's management. As co-CEOs, they have been instrumental in shaping Zalando's growth and success. The founders, along with key members of the management team, hold a substantial portion of the company's shares, ensuring their continued influence over its operations and direction.

    Institutional Investors

    Zalando has attracted significant investments from prominent institutional investors. These institutional shareholders include major asset management firms, pension funds, and other financial institutions. They have recognized the potential of Zalando's business model and have invested capital to support its growth.

    Notable institutional investors in Zalando include Baillie Gifford, one of Scotland's largest independent investment management firms, and BlackRock, the world's largest asset manager. These institutions have shown their confidence in Zalando's long-term prospects by holding substantial stakes in the company.

    Public Shareholders

    Zalando is a publicly traded company listed on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange. This means that shares of Zalando are available for purchase by individual investors on the open market. The company's initial public offering (IPO) took place in 2014, enabling the general public to become shareholders in Zalando.

    Public shareholders range from individual retail investors to institutional investors who have purchased shares on the stock exchange. These shareholders have the opportunity to benefit from Zalando's performance and growth potential.

    Employee Ownership

    Zalando also encourages employee ownership, allowing its employees to become shareholders in the company. This ownership program aims to align employee incentives with the long-term success of Zalando. By offering stock options and other equity-based compensation, Zalando motivates its employees to contribute to the company's growth and profitability.

    Through employee ownership, Zalando fosters a sense of ownership and commitment among its workforce, creating a shared interest in the company's success.


    Zalando's ownership structure is a combination of founders, institutional investors, public shareholders, and employees. This diverse ownership base reflects the company's commitment to maintaining a broad range of stakeholders who believe in its potential. With this support, Zalando continues to make strides in the fashion e-commerce industry and solidify its position as a market leader in Europe.

    What is the mission statement of Zalando?

    Zalando's Mission Statement: Empowering Fashion for All

    Zalando, the leading online fashion platform in Europe, has a clear and concise mission statement that reflects its core values and objectives. The mission statement of Zalando is to empower fashion for all individuals, enabling them to express their unique style and feel confident in their choices.

    Commitment to Accessibility and Inclusivity

    One of the key components of Zalando's mission statement is its commitment to accessibility and inclusivity. By using the phrase "fashion for all," Zalando emphasizes its dedication to catering to a diverse customer base, regardless of age, gender, size, or personal style preferences.

    Zalando recognizes that fashion is not limited to a specific group of people, but rather has the power to unite individuals from all walks of life. By offering a vast range of products from various brands and designers, Zalando ensures that everyone can find something that resonates with their unique sense of fashion.

    Enabling Self-Expression and Confidence

    Another important aspect of Zalando's mission statement is its focus on enabling self-expression and fostering confidence. Zalando understands that fashion is an essential tool for individuals to express their personality and showcase their individuality.

    By curating a wide selection of trendy and timeless pieces, Zalando empowers its customers to explore their personal style and experiment with different fashion choices. Whether it's staying on top of the latest trends or discovering one's own unique fashion path, Zalando aims to be a platform that supports and encourages self-expression.

    Furthermore, Zalando recognizes that feeling confident in one's appearance is closely tied to self-esteem and overall well-being. By providing an inclusive and welcoming online shopping experience, Zalando strives to boost its customers' self-confidence, helping them feel comfortable and satisfied with their fashion choices.

    Embracing Technology and Innovation

    Zalando's mission statement also highlights the company's commitment to leveraging technology and innovation to enhance the fashion experience. As a leading online fashion platform, Zalando embraces digital advancements to provide its customers with a seamless and personalized shopping journey.

    From advanced search algorithms that help customers discover their preferred styles to intuitive recommendation systems that suggest relevant products, Zalando employs technology to make the shopping process more convenient and enjoyable.

    Additionally, Zalando continuously explores innovative solutions such as virtual try-on technologies or sustainable fashion initiatives. By embracing technology and innovation, Zalando aims to stay at the forefront of the fashion industry and provide its customers with cutting-edge experiences.


    Zalando's mission statement encapsulates its dedication to empower fashion for all individuals, fostering accessibility, inclusivity, self-expression, confidence, and embracing technology. By staying true to its mission, Zalando aims to be more than just an online fashion retailer but a platform that enables people to discover their own style, feel confident, and express themselves authentically through fashion.

    How does Zalando make money?

    Zalando's Revenue Streams

    Zalando, the leading online fashion platform in Europe, generates its revenue through a variety of streams. Here are the primary ways in which Zalando makes money:

    1. Retail Sales

    The core of Zalando's revenue comes from retail sales. As an e-commerce platform, Zalando offers a vast selection of fashion items, including clothing, shoes, accessories, and beauty products. Customers can browse and purchase these products directly from Zalando's website or mobile app. Zalando earns money by taking a percentage of each sale made through its platform.

    2. Zalando Partner Program

    In addition to selling its own merchandise, Zalando also operates a partner program. This program allows external fashion brands and retailers to sell their products on Zalando's platform. In return, Zalando charges these partners a commission on each sale. By partnering with a wide range of brands, Zalando expands its product offering and attracts a larger customer base while earning revenue from the commissions.

    3. Zalando Lounge

    Zalando Lounge is an exclusive shopping club that offers limited-time sales events for its members. These events feature heavily discounted products from popular brands, available for a limited stock or time. Members can access Zalando Lounge through a separate website or mobile app. Zalando generates revenue by selling these discounted products and taking a cut of the sales. The exclusivity and time-limited nature of Zalando Lounge events create a sense of urgency among customers, driving sales and generating additional revenue.

    4. Premium Services

    Zalando offers premium services to its customers, such as Zalando Plus and Zalando Wardrobe. Zalando Plus is a subscription-based service that provides benefits like free shipping, extended return periods, and early access to sales. Customers pay a monthly or annual fee for these premium features, contributing to Zalando's revenue. Zalando Wardrobe, on the other hand, is a service that allows customers to try on clothes before purchasing. Customers can select multiple items, try them at home, and only pay for the ones they keep. Zalando earns money through the sales of the items customers decide to keep.

    5. Advertising and Brand Partnerships

    Zalando also generates revenue through advertising and brand partnerships. As a popular fashion platform, Zalando offers advertising opportunities to brands looking to reach its large customer base. Brands can promote their products through banners, sponsored content, or collaborations with Zalando. These advertising efforts generate revenue for Zalando. Additionally, Zalando collaborates with brands on exclusive collections or co-branded products, earning money through these partnerships.

    In conclusion, Zalando's revenue is derived from a combination of retail sales, its partner program, Zalando Lounge, premium services, and advertising/brand partnerships. This diverse range of revenue streams enables Zalando to maintain a strong financial position and continue its growth in the highly competitive online fashion industry.

    Zalando Business Model Canvas Explained

    What is the Business Model Canvas?

    The Business Model Canvas is a strategic management tool that allows businesses to describe, analyze, and design their business models visually. It provides a structured framework to understand and communicate how a company creates, delivers, and captures value. The canvas consists of nine key building blocks that represent different aspects of a business, including customer segments, value propositions, channels, customer relationships, revenue streams, key activities, key resources, key partnerships, and cost structure.

    Zalando's Business Model Canvas

    Zalando, a prominent online fashion and lifestyle retailer, has successfully leveraged the Business Model Canvas to build its business. Let's take a closer look at how Zalando's business model canvas is structured:

    Customer Segments

    Zalando primarily targets fashion-conscious individuals who prefer online shopping. Its customer segments can be divided into two main categories: end consumers and fashion brands. End consumers comprise the majority of Zalando's customer base, while fashion brands include retailers and designers who use Zalando's platform to sell their products.

    Value Propositions

    Zalando's value propositions revolve around offering a wide selection of fashion products, convenience, and an enjoyable shopping experience. The company provides customers with access to a vast range of clothing, footwear, and accessories from various brands, catering to different styles and preferences. Zalando's user-friendly website and mobile app make shopping easy and convenient, while features like personalized recommendations and style inspiration enhance the overall shopping experience.


    Zalando operates as an online marketplace, using both its website and mobile app as channels to reach its customers. These platforms serve as a digital storefront where customers can browse, search, and purchase fashion products. Zalando also employs various marketing channels, such as social media, email marketing, and targeted advertisements, to drive traffic and increase brand awareness.

    Customer Relationships

    Zalando aims to build strong customer relationships by providing exceptional customer service and personalized experiences. The company offers multiple contact options, including live chat, email support, and a dedicated customer service hotline, ensuring customers can easily reach out for assistance. Moreover, Zalando leverages data analytics to personalize the shopping experience, tailoring product recommendations and content to individual preferences.

    Revenue Streams

    Zalando generates revenue through multiple sources. The primary revenue stream is derived from the commission it receives from fashion brands for hosting their products on the platform. Additionally, Zalando earns revenue from the sale of its private label products and through advertising partnerships with brands that promote their products on the website.

    Key Activities

    Zalando's key activities include managing its online marketplace, marketing and advertising, logistics, and customer service. The company continuously updates its website and app to improve the user experience, invests in marketing campaigns to attract customers, maintains efficient logistics operations to ensure timely product delivery, and provides outstanding customer service to build loyalty.

    Key Resources

    Zalando relies on various key resources to operate successfully. These resources include its technology infrastructure, such as its website and mobile app, a wide network of fashion brands and suppliers, a dedicated workforce, and robust partnerships with third-party logistics providers for efficient order fulfillment.

    Key Partnerships

    Zalando collaborates with numerous key partners to enhance its business model. The company forms strategic partnerships with fashion brands to expand its product range and attract more customers. Zalando also works closely with logistics partners to ensure reliable and timely delivery of orders to customers.

    Cost Structure

    Zalando incurs several costs to maintain its business operations. These costs include technology expenses for website maintenance and development, marketing and advertising costs, logistics and warehousing expenses, customer service investments, and personnel costs.


    By utilizing the Business Model Canvas, Zalando has successfully established itself as a leading online fashion retailer. Through its customer-centric approach, wide product selection, convenient platforms, personalized experiences, and strong partnerships, Zalando has been able to capture significant value in the fashion e-commerce market. The Business Model Canvas provides a comprehensive framework to understand and analyze Zalando's business model, highlighting the key components that contribute to its success.

    Which companies are the competitors of Zalando?

    1. ASOS

    ASOS is one of the major competitors of Zalando in the online fashion retail industry. With a strong presence in over 200 countries, ASOS offers a vast range of trendy clothing, footwear, and accessories for both men and women. Similar to Zalando, ASOS focuses on providing a seamless shopping experience with a wide variety of brands and price points. Both companies emphasize fast and reliable delivery options, as well as a user-friendly website and mobile app.

    2. Amazon Fashion

    Amazon Fashion is another significant competitor of Zalando. As part of the e-commerce giant Amazon, their fashion division has rapidly grown to become a prominent player in the industry. Amazon Fashion offers an extensive selection of clothing, shoes, and accessories, catering to different ages, styles, and budgets. While Zalando specializes in fashion, Amazon Fashion benefits from the overall brand recognition and customer base of Amazon, making it a formidable competitor.

    3. Boohoo

    Boohoo is a UK-based online retailer that competes directly with Zalando, particularly in the fast-fashion segment. Boohoo targets young and trendy shoppers with its affordable and constantly updated collections. The company has a strong presence on social media platforms, engaging with its audience and staying on top of the latest fashion trends. Boohoo's rapid turnaround time in bringing new styles to market and competitive pricing makes it an attractive alternative for customers who value quick fashion fixes.

    4. H&M

    H&M, a well-known global fashion brand, has also ventured into the online retail space and poses a significant competition for Zalando. With a vast network of physical stores worldwide, H&M has successfully integrated their brick-and-mortar presence with their online platform. Offering a wide range of clothing options for men, women, and children, H&M appeals to a broad customer base. Their diverse collections, collaborations with renowned designers, and strong brand recognition contribute to their competitive edge in the fashion retail industry.

    5. Zara

    Zara, part of the Inditex Group, is a renowned Spanish fashion retailer that competes with Zalando in the online fashion market. Zara has established itself as a fast-fashion leader, known for its ability to quickly bring new designs from runway to stores. With a strong focus on the latest trends and affordable prices, Zara has become a go-to brand for many fashion-conscious shoppers. While Zalando offers a broader range of brands, Zara's popularity and reputation for quality fashion items make it a direct competitor in the online fashion retail space.

    Zalando SWOT Analysis


    1. Strong brand recognition: Zalando has established itself as a leading online fashion retailer in Europe, with a strong brand presence and recognition among customers. This allows them to attract a large customer base and maintain customer loyalty.

    2. Wide product assortment: Zalando offers a vast range of fashion products, including clothing, shoes, accessories, and beauty products, catering to diverse customer preferences. The extensive product assortment enables them to cater to a wide target audience and increases their chances of satisfying customer needs.

    3. Robust logistics and supply chain: Zalando has built a robust logistics and supply chain infrastructure to ensure efficient and timely delivery of products. This allows them to provide a seamless shopping experience to customers, ensuring quick delivery and hassle-free returns.


    1. High reliance on third-party brands: Zalando primarily acts as an intermediary between customers and fashion brands, which means they heavily depend on the availability and popularity of brands on their platform. This dependence on third-party brands could limit their control over pricing, product availability, and overall customer experience.

    2. Intense competition: The online fashion retail industry is highly competitive, with numerous established players and new entrants vying for market share. Zalando faces strong competition from both traditional brick-and-mortar retailers expanding into e-commerce and other online fashion retailers. This intense competition could potentially affect their market position and profitability.


    1. Expansion into new markets: Zalando has the opportunity to expand its operations into new markets outside of Europe. This would allow them to tap into new customer segments and increase their customer base. Expanding into emerging markets with a growing middle class, such as Asia, could provide significant growth opportunities for the company.

    2. Growth of mobile shopping: With the increasing popularity of smartphones and mobile internet usage, there is a significant opportunity for Zalando to capitalize on the growth of mobile shopping. By further enhancing their mobile app and optimizing the user experience for mobile devices, they can attract more mobile-savvy customers and increase sales.


    1. Economic downturns: Zalando's business is susceptible to economic downturns that can negatively impact consumer spending on fashion products. During periods of economic uncertainty or recession, customers may prioritize essential items over fashion purchases, leading to a potential decrease in sales for Zalando.

    2. Changing consumer preferences: Fashion trends and consumer preferences are constantly evolving. Zalando needs to stay ahead of these changes to ensure they offer the products and styles that resonate with their target audience. Failure to adapt to changing consumer preferences could result in a decline in customer interest and market share loss to competitors.

    3. Regulatory challenges: As an online retailer, Zalando faces regulatory challenges related to data protection, consumer rights, and competition laws. Compliance with these regulations can be complex and costly, and any failure to comply could result in legal repercussions and damage to the company's reputation.

    Key Takeaways

    • Zalando is owned by a diverse group of shareholders, including investment firms and individual investors.
    • The mission statement of Zalando is to become the starting point for fashion in Europe and to inspire customers with a personalized shopping experience.
    • Zalando primarily generates revenue through the sale of fashion products on its online platform, as well as through additional services such as advertising and logistics.
    • The Zalando Business Model Canvas showcases the key elements of Zalando's business model, including customer segments, value proposition, channels, and revenue streams.
    • Zalando faces competition from various companies in the fashion and e-commerce industry, including ASOS, Amazon, and H&M.
    • In a SWOT analysis, Zalando's strengths include a strong brand and customer base, while its weaknesses may include high competition and dependence on external suppliers. Opportunities for Zalando include expanding into new markets, while threats can arise from changing consumer preferences and economic downturns.


    In conclusion, Zalando is a leading online fashion platform that has revolutionized the way we shop for clothing and accessories. The company was founded in 2008 by David Schneider and Robert Gentz, who still own a significant portion of the company. As for its mission statement, Zalando aims to become the starting point for fashion and inspire customers to express their personal style.

    Zalando generates revenue through various channels, including selling products from over 2,500 brands on its platform, providing logistics and fulfillment services to third-party retailers, and offering advertising and marketing solutions to fashion brands. This diversified revenue stream has allowed Zalando to grow rapidly and establish itself as a dominant player in the industry.

    To better understand Zalando's business model, we can refer to the Business Model Canvas. This tool helps us visualize the key components of the company's operations, including customer segments, value proposition, channels, customer relationships, revenue streams, key activities, key resources, key partnerships, and cost structure. By analyzing these elements, we can gain insights into how Zalando creates value and sustains its competitive advantage.

    Speaking of competition, Zalando faces fierce rivalry from other online fashion retailers such as ASOS, Boohoo, and H&M. These companies also offer a wide range of products, competitive prices, and convenient shopping experiences. However, Zalando has managed to differentiate itself by focusing on customer satisfaction, continuous innovation, and providing a seamless shopping experience.

    Lastly, let's briefly discuss Zalando's strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats through a SWOT analysis. Zalando's strengths lie in its strong brand recognition, extensive product offerings, and efficient logistics network. However, the company also faces weaknesses such as high operational costs and potential customer backlash due to sustainability concerns. In terms of opportunities, Zalando can expand its market presence globally and explore new business models. Nevertheless, it must remain vigilant to threats such as intense competition, changing consumer preferences, and economic uncertainties.

    Overall, Zalando has proven to be a major player in the fashion e-commerce industry, with a clear mission, diverse revenue streams, and a robust business model. By staying agile, innovative, and customer-centric, Zalando can continue to thrive in a highly competitive market.


    What is Zalando's competitive advantage?

    Zalando's competitive advantage is primarily based on three key factors:

    1. Extensive Product Range: Zalando offers a wide variety of fashion and lifestyle products, including clothing, shoes, accessories, and beauty products from numerous brands. Its extensive product range enables customers to find a diverse selection of items on a single platform, enhancing convenience and customer satisfaction.

    2. Strong Digital Platform: Zalando is a leading online fashion platform that has invested heavily in building a robust digital infrastructure and user-friendly interface. Its platform provides a seamless shopping experience, with features such as personalized recommendations, easy navigation, and efficient customer service. Zalando's digital platform has allowed it to effectively compete in the online retail space.

    3. Data-driven Approach: Zalando leverages its extensive customer data to enhance its operations and optimize its offerings. By analyzing customer preferences and behavior, Zalando can provide personalized recommendations, tailor marketing strategies, and improve inventory management. This data-driven approach enables Zalando to offer a more personalized and relevant experience to its customers, increasing customer loyalty and satisfaction.

    Overall, Zalando's competitive advantage lies in its extensive product range, strong digital platform, and data-driven approach, which collectively offer convenience, personalization, and a superior customer experience.

    Is Zalando doing well?

    As an AI language model, I cannot provide real-time information or financial analysis. However, Zalando is one of Europe's leading online fashion retailers and has experienced significant growth in recent years. It operates in multiple countries and has a strong customer base. To get the most accurate and up-to-date information on Zalando's performance, it is recommended to consult financial reports, news articles, or consult with financial professionals.

    Why is Zalando so successful?

    There are several reasons why Zalando has been successful:

    1. Strong digital presence: Zalando has established itself as a leading online fashion platform, offering a wide range of products from various brands. Its user-friendly website and mobile app provide a seamless shopping experience for customers.

    2. Extensive product assortment: Zalando offers a vast selection of fashion items, including clothing, shoes, accessories, and beauty products. This wide range appeals to a broad customer base, catering to different tastes, styles, and budgets.

    3. Customer-centric approach: Zalando places a strong emphasis on customer satisfaction. It focuses on delivering excellent customer service, offering free shipping and returns, multiple payment options, and a dedicated customer support team. This customer-centric approach has helped build trust and loyalty among its customers.

    4. Data-driven business model: Zalando leverages data analytics and technology to understand customer preferences, trends, and demand patterns. This data-driven approach enables Zalando to optimize its inventory management, personalize recommendations, and offer targeted marketing campaigns, leading to better customer engagement and increased sales.

    5. Strategic partnerships: Zalando collaborates with numerous fashion brands, both established and emerging, to offer a diverse range of products. These partnerships help attract customers looking for exclusive or niche brands and contribute to Zalando's strong brand image.

    6. Continuous innovation: Zalando invests in technological advancements and innovation to stay ahead in the competitive e-commerce industry. It continuously improves its website and app features, implements new technologies like augmented reality for virtual try-ons, and explores new business models and services to enhance the customer experience.

    7. International expansion: Zalando has expanded its operations beyond its German roots and is now present in multiple European markets. This expansion has allowed Zalando to tap into a larger customer base and benefit from economies of scale.

    Overall, Zalando's success can be attributed to its focus on digital innovation, customer satisfaction, data-driven strategies, and strong partnerships, all of which have helped it establish itself as a prominent player in the online fashion industry.

    What is a SWOT analysis of a clothing brand?

    A SWOT analysis for a clothing brand would involve analyzing its strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. Here is an example of a SWOT analysis for a clothing brand:


    1. Strong brand image and recognition in the market.
    2. High-quality products with innovative designs.
    3. Wide range of product offerings, catering to different customer segments.
    4. Strong distribution channels, including both physical stores and online platforms.
    5. Established relationships with suppliers and manufacturers.


    1. Reliance on seasonal trends, making it vulnerable to changing fashion preferences.
    2. Limited brand presence in international markets.
    3. High production costs due to the use of premium materials.
    4. Limited customer loyalty, as customers may easily switch to other brands.
    5. Limited marketing and promotional activities, leading to lower brand visibility.


    1. Expansion into new markets, both domestically and internationally.
    2. Collaboration with fashion influencers and celebrities to increase brand exposure.
    3. Introduction of sustainable and eco-friendly clothing lines to cater to growing consumer demand.
    4. Utilizing social media platforms to engage with customers and generate brand awareness.
    5. Expansion into online sales platforms to reach a wider customer base.


    1. Intense competition from established clothing brands.
    2. Economic downturns impacting consumer spending on clothing.
    3. Counterfeit products affecting brand reputation.
    4. Rapidly changing fashion trends, requiring the brand to constantly innovate.
    5. Potential supply chain disruptions, such as delays in manufacturing or shipping.

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