In the run up to this year’s InternetRetailing Summit in Berlin we’re speaking to senior retailers who are taking part. Today we hear from Andreas Antrup, vice president, data and advertising at Zalando [IRDX RZAL].

InternetRetailing: At the InternetRetailing Summit you’re going to be talking about the value of innovation. Tell us about innovation at Zalando through one or two examples.

Andreas Antrup, VP advertising at Zalando: Innovation has been part of Zalando from the start, when free shipping and returns meant a blanket guarantee that customers could check and send back any products that were not to their liking.

More recently, Zalando innovated in order to overcome a significant barrier towards adopting ecommerce – that of customers being out of pocket when they pay for things that they want to try. The solution there was payment by invoice, so that the customer just pays when they know what they want to keep. It’s another way of issuing a guarantee to the customer.

IR: How do you encourage innovation at Zalando?

AA: If you look at the company from the outside you’d see explicit measures that push innovation forwards. Our company goals include clear expectations of improving and increasing new customer experiences. This applies to a framework whose central pillars include the assortment that we sell, the convenience proposition around that, such as delivery and logistics, and the digital experience, which goes across the Zalando shop. Within these three areas, we’ve innovated where it’s necessary to keep up the pace. It’s important to reflect market demand.

But more importantly, innovation is part and parcel of our culture. If you come to Zalando and ask for the innovation department you won’t find one. Innovation is simply expected, everywhere and from everyone in the company.

IR: Do you have advice for other retailers on where it’s worth innovating?

AA: There’s always a lot of trends and new opportunities that one could pursue. While it’s true that one should plant many seeds if one wants to reap the harvest later on, one also shouldn’t plant too many. It’s easy to lose focus and to be stretched too far. Many trends blow over – remember the…