• 7 min read

Selling via Zalando: shipping & handling returns

Pieter Schalk op 30 november 2020

The growth that Zalando has experienced in recent years cannot have escaped anyone's notice. Zalando is already active in 17 European countries. Both with their own Zalando webshop, but also increasingly by means of "sold through Zalando": brand owners or distributors who sell through Zalando, but deliver from their own warehouse.

Many relations retrieve the Zalando order data to their own system (such as an e-commerce system, OMS, ERP or WMS) via an order platform such as that of ChannelEngine. And only then do the challenges begin!

Grow along with Zalando’s success

Zalando asks you to sell products in at least 3 countries. In addition, they prescribe which local carriers you must use per country for the Last Mile delivery, as well as for the return shipment. This return shipment must be made available immediately in the shipping box via the label-in-the-box principle. And that's not all. There are even more hurdles before you can start working with Zalando:

  • You need to get the web orders from Zalando to your own order system.
  • You need to be able to book, print and track a return shipment with your own order system.
  • You must have all documents, such as the invoice and packing slip, checked and approved by Zalando beforehand.
  • You must have your own transport contacts with the local carriers, per country, specifically designated by Zalando.
  • You have to make sure that the outgoing shipments also enter the transport system of the local carrier: first mile to last mile.
  • You must have your own contract for all carriers, per country, to be able to facilitate local return shipments.
  • It is also wise to have consumers return locally due to costs and speed. This means that you must have a local, physical return address abroad to which your customers return, and that periodically the collected returns will be returned to your DC: last mile to first mile return.

Challenges to start working with Zalando

There are quite a few things you need to arrange before you can actually get started. At Transsmart we've noticed that these are problematic issues for many fashion and textile companies. Because we like to help and innovate, we have brought together a number of ERP and e-commerce partners and customers. Together we set to work to look at the various angles and are working out a solution.

Scenarios: how Transsmart can help you

It soon appeared that multiple scenarios were needed for booking and printing the shipping & return labels:

  • Scenario 1: For companies that can already split a return shipment and thus book two different shipments at Transsmart.
  • Scenario 2: For companies that can only book outbound shipments. For these customers, the alternative has been devised where the return label is immediately printed at the packing table, when the outbound shipment is printed. Transsmart automatically creates a second shipment here.
  • Scenario 3: For companies that do not yet work with Transsmart but still want to use this solution. For this purpose, we have devised a smart process in which companies still become customer of Transsmart, but where the impact can be kept extremely small.
  • Scenario 4: For companies that only want to book return labels with Transsmart.

In all scenarios we will make sure that the required information is seamlessly reported back into the system of Zalando & ChannelEngine.

From innovation to ‘product’: will you help?

As mentioned before, we are currently working hard to develop this innovation into a real 'product' that we can use for everyone. Do you find it interesting to talk about this? And do you want to be part of the team that will test the solution as soon as the first beta version is available? Leave your details below. Pieter Schalk from Transsmart will contact you.

Picture of Pieter Schalk

Pieter Schalk

Pieter Schalk is one of the founders of Transsmart and is actively working on innovation projects.