Language Matters

Kathleen Stein Smith, Ph.D

Italians are emotional, the Swiss are punctual: This shopping site is making billions by tailoring its services to European stereotypes

“The name Zalando is unfamiliar to most people outside Europe, but on the continent, the online shopping site has exploded since it started selling flip-flops in 2008. After a massive growth spurt in 2010—Zalando spokesperson Boris Radke says monthly sales shot from €2 million ($2.7 million at the time) to €70 million in just five months—the Berlin-based start-up expanded into other countries and product categories. In 2014, the company went public on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange.

 Now, it’s Europe’s largest dedicated online apparel retailer, with several thousand employees facilitating annual sales topping €2.2 billion. Zalando ships clothes and shoes to customers in 15 different countries, where shoppers demonstrate the idiosyncratic habits that make Europe’s e-commerce market so notoriously fragmented.”

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Languages do matter!


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