3 things we can learn from Zalando’s email marketing

3 things we can learn from Zalando’s email marketing

Shopping online for clothing has become a habit for many (thanks, but no thanks corona). In that area, Zalando is without doubt one of Europe’s biggest players. Unsurprisingly, their top position draws a lot of competition, all eager to get their piece of the shopping pie. More and more small traders are finding their way to online solutions. This shift was partly stimulated by the corona measures that restricted physical shopping. Additionally, big players like Amazon are all too eager to get a piece of the pie in the online clothes shopping area.

That’s why Zalando keeps sharpening its email marketing strategy. This can be compared to Netflix's email strategy (and yes, thats a compliment!)

Let’s take a closer look at 3 of Zalando's strongest email marketing methods.

Learning 1 | They go with the (automation) flow

Zalando actually uses 5 different types of user journeys in email, 3 of which continue as an automated workflow . Firstly, there’s the welcome flow, which starts after the sign-up on their website and follows a fixed pattern of welcoming, activation and how-to's to showcase the platform.

The second type is the cart abandonment flow, which starts after adding an item to the shopping cart. If you leave this item in your shopping cart, Zalando will remind you that there’s something in your cart that you might have forgotten about . They do this by sending you an attractive email with a picture of your product(s) and a clear CTA to check out.

016d1ef208fcb39689255dfd203cee28The third type of flow is the cross and up selling mail. This one gives you information about your purchase, etc. But that’s not where this flow stops. A few days after your initial purchase Zalando will send you an email with some products that — according to their algorithm — match your purchase. This way they stimulate you to buy more, because surely you want that leather belt to match your brand new designer jeans? Data works in Zalando's favor here, based on your purchase(s) they know how to categorise you into a persona, just like Netflix does. This persona contains your style information and the price range in which you buy your clothes. Based on this information, Zalando will give you suggestions on stuff that would match your wardrobe for an interesting price.

The fourth type is the favorites sale. On the Zalando platform you can add clothes to your favorites list with a heart icon. This list is linked to your profile so that Zalando can send you an email notifying you when there’s a discount on your favorite items. A very effective way of nudging, because the products already have a favorites status. So with that extra discount, who could say no?

Their final email type are the seasons and sales. Whenever new seasonal clothing becomes available or there is a special sale (like Summer sale, Black Friday,...), you get an email to draw your attention to the new or discounted products that match your style of preference.

272288-zalando-deals-black-friday-countdownSome interesting numbers

According to Mailcharts, Zalando's European division uses a discount offer or exclusive promotion about 20% of the time in their emails. In addition, Tuesday is often their email sending day and their subject lines use about 31 characters minimum. Zalando generally chooses to keep their subject lines general and not brand specific. Zalando avoids sending emails in the afternoon and usually does not send anything between 9 pm and 6.59 am. So you know.

Learning 2 | They use technical and visual set-up as the formula for success

In order to properly reflect and communicate with the different persona types, Zalando uses streamlined workflows backed by a B2C marketing automation platform and clever email design for a perfect synergy.

B2C marketing automation platform

 The CRM platform supported by Selligent can easily convert the customer information into email. Selligent is a B2C marketing automation platform that helps marketers build relationships with their customers across different channels. Selligent allows to create, test, launch and optimise campaigns from a single platform. The platform can also be easily integrated with third-party systems and partners. Interested in working with an initiative platform like Selligent? RAAK offers Selligent based automations and can also work on a tailor-made basis.

Clever design tailor-made

 Zalando’s emails are designed to perfectly display their products. On top of that, they keep their emails fully responsive on all email clients. This ensures that customers can view and interact with the information on both mobile and desktop devices. The design of the emails is focused on the garments — besides the Zalando logo, there is no giant banner or title.The focus is on the images of the key products, which in the case of Zalando are clothes. This makes the CTAs and applicable discounts stand out immediately.


Learning 3 | They add a touch of exclusivity to their emails

In fashion, it’s important to be a little exclusive. You want your look to reflect who you are, that's why the personalisation aspect of the Zalando emails is so advanced. As discussed before, customers always get to see clothing that is perfectly tailored to their preferences. To focus even more on that personal level, Zalando now also offers the assistance of personal shopping stylists for customers who want to pay a little bit more. This appeals to shoppers who miss the personal touch in e-commerce.

Zalando even takes this a step further with the creation of a sub brand called Zalon. This brand focuses on a more personal experience and a stylist who picks out clothes for you, based on your looks, body type and preferences. Even their email marketing is fully adapted to this approach, giving customers who choose the more expensive option a more exclusive treatment. Even if it seems that Zalon is a totally different brand than Zalando, in reality they are one company that uses the same warehouse etc. But through subtle changes in the look and feel, plus a different name and logo, Zalando can double their email marketing to customers with a Zalando account and Zalon subscription.



Setting up relevant email workflows is key at Zalando. The 5 types of flows discussed in this blog will ensure a seamless user experience from platform to email and vice versa. By automating these flows, Zalando has managed to set up a weekly email ratio without losing relevance. Add to this a design focused on selling clothes without too many frills, double marketing with an exclusive touch à la Zalon and a strong CRM platform: you have a rock-solid email marketing strategy we can all draw some inspiration from.

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Posted on
May 11, 2021