Case Study


Driving relevance through flexible email targeting

Partner Agency
Retail | E-Commerce

Zalando is Europe’s leading e-commerce platform for fashion, offering customers an extensive selection of apparel, footwear, and accessories for men, women, and children supplemented by free shipping and returns. Zalando’s portfolio extends from prominent global brands as well as local labels and fast-fashion brands, all the way to private labels designed in-house. Zalando’s regional platforms are custom-tailored to the needs of customers in 15 European markets: Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Luxemburg, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Sweden, Spain, and the UK.

Zalando’s international e-commerce shops attract over 200 million visits per month, with over 70% originating from mobile devices in Q1 2017. Within said quarter, the number of active customers climbed to 20 million.

The Challenge

Companies with rather large CRM departments are often faced with the challenge of integrating external CRM tools – such as the Selligent platform – across their organization into the day-to-day work of CRM managers. Ideally, CRM managers would on one hand like standardized templates that match their company’s Corporate Identity for drafting their email messages. On the other hand, managers want these templates to be adaptable quickly and intuitively to the specific requirements of a campaign, target group, or market region – at minimal technical complexity.

Similarly, Zalando wanted a new type of complex, yet user-friendly interface that offers a variety of layout and visual options, specifically avoiding the need to create an entirely new template for each email variation. Thus, Selligent was faced with the challenge of providing Zalando’s Direct Marketing managers with a self-explanatory, fail-proof user interface that offers the desired amount of customization in order to send emails in their day-to-day work. This new interface would empower Zalando’s Direct Marketing managers to build their own messages in a market- and target group-specific way.

Integrating a variety of external tools
Standardized templates allowing for visual variation
Complexity with user-friendly interface

Working closely together, Zalando and Selligent developed and integrated a variety of solutions to match specific communication requirements.

The Path To Success

Split simplified user interface (=express) and complex “backend” (=editor): Direct Marketing managers spend the majority of their time working in the highly intuitive Express user interface, allowing them to choose from several visualizations while freely arranging content fields within an email. Additionally, managers are also free to add new or re-use country-specific content and target those – for instance, by leveraging specific customer segments or personal preferences.

Centralized code storage: Zalando’s templates are created on a one-time basis through the Selligent platform and the HTML code is stored in a central location. When drafting new emails, Direct Marketing managers can simply add new content, without changing the fundamental template structure. The main advantage: time efficient editing and optimized post-processing.

Visualizations and drop-downs: Upon creating a new template, the number of available content fields as well as the types of available visualizations and their possible combinations are pre-defined right from the start. The template is then built entirely in Selligent Editor with all options and limitations pre-defined in a user-friendly interface. Direct Marketing managers are then free to choose from a number of visualizations in the Express tool via drop-down menus while arranging, combining, and populating them with content. Additionally, they can aim their messages towards pre-defined target groups (such as gender) via simple checkbox options.


The combined benefits from these solutions delivered measurable results to Zalando with a quick turnaround.

Simplified workflow for the team: The optimized Express user interface allows Direct Marketing managers to quickly and independently use complex templates to draft and customize their own email messages. Here, the setup minimizes the potential for error whilst streamlining workflows. Furthermore, the CI framework already built into the templates means that additional interactions with the design team are no longer required.

Enhanced targeting options: The new set-up empowers Direct Marketing managers to easily target content within their emails to specific users. As a result, Zalando can deliver relevant messages in a flexible manner.

Advanced data maintenance and optimization: Although the initial set-up of these technically complex templates required some time, the effort offered immediate returns such as saving time whilst editing and executing optimization measures. The user-friendly interface also minimizes the amount of training needed while onboarding new colleagues.

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