7. April 2020

Connected Retail: Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield Germany enters into strategic cooperation with Zalando – and offers stationary retailers the chance to connect to the omnichannel platform with immediate effect

Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield (URW) Germany is now working together with Zalando within the framework of the Connected Retail program. The partnership enables URW to connect to Europe’s largest online fashion platform, reach new customers through Zalando and improve inventory turnover at participating brands. The cooperation has been in planning for a longer time, but has now been brought to a quick conclusion due to the considerable challenges for stationary retail caused by the Corona crisis. As a result, stationary retailers in the shopping centers operated by URW are quickly provided with an additional sales channel for their goods. URW is the first shopping center operator to cooperate with Zalando in the Connected Retail program. The company will initially assume the role of intermediary and sales partner in this extensive network of online and offline retail. An expansion of the partnership is already planned.

“Due the infrastructural connection of our centres and their urban catchment areas, we already offer our retail rental partners ideal access to their customers in the physical world. Owing to the cooperation with Zalando, we now want to provide our tenants with even better support in reaching customers in the digital world and thereby opening up our own offering to an even larger target group. Together with Zalando, we have planned the strategic partnership in detail over the past few months and have now decided to conclude the talks quickly – in particular due to the Corona crisis and the massive and existential restrictions for brick-and-mortar retail. We can start immediately with affiliating brands from the shopping centres operated by URW to Connected Retail. The system is already functional at the present time without opening the shops and is fully within the scope of the regulations of the public authorities,” says Andreas Hohlmann, Managing Director Germany at Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield.

“We are very much looking forward to working with Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield on Connected Retail. Especially in view of the current challenges, it is great that we have concluded the cooperation with URW and that our program will be accessible to an even broader range of retailers,” says Carsten Keller, VP Direct-to-Consumer at Zalando SE.

Combining online and offline trade and optimization of logistics processes
Connected Retail connects stationary retailers with the Zalando platform. If a customer orders a product online, the order can be forwarded directly to an affiliated partner retailer who has it in stock. The employees in the store or a local warehouse of the retailer take care of the shipping. URW Germany’s cooperation with Zalando contributes to a decentralization and optimization of logistics processes – especially on the so-called last mile – and thus contributes to sustainable supply chains by reducing trips and shortening distances.

Within the framework of the cooperation with the online platform, URW Germany assumes the role of a distribution partner for the stationary retailers and supports them in connecting to the platform. The focus is initially on the greater Berlin area and major key account tenants. URW Germany operates seven shopping centres in Berlin. The other assets are also to be connected to the platform in the immediate future. URW currently operates 24 shopping centres in Germany – including destinations in all urban metropolitan areas.

(Image: Zalando)