Zalando to cut 250 staff and replace them with algorithms

Zalando to cut 250 staff and replace them with algorithms
Fashion items in Zalando's Winter 2018 collection. Photo: DPA
Popular online fashion retailer Zalando plans to replace 200 to 250 positions previously carried out by people with algorithms and artificial intelligence.

Affected jobs at Zalando, which has its headquarters in Berlin, will be mostly in sales and advertising. Products will be personalized with the help of algorithms, and the marketing department will be restructured, Rubin Ritter from Zalando's management board told the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ) in an article published on Thursday.

The layoffs are part of the growth strategy, said Ritter, who did not yet reveal when they will occur. In order to achieve its goals, Zalando must be optimally positioned in marketing – which includes “taking such steps,” he told the newspaper.

Zalando wants to personalize its customer contact even further by collecting data, according to manager Moritz Hahn.

Despite the restructuring, the e-commerce giant plans to hire an additional 2,000 people, most of them in Berlin where the company is building a new headquarters. Worldwide, Zalando employs 15,000 people – 6,000 of whom are based in the German capital.

“Marketing will become increasingly data-based in the future,” Ritter told FAZ. “Therefore we need a higher number of developers and data analysts.”

In 2017, Zalando already increased employee numbers from 12,000 to 15,000, it said in a press release this month, and intends to grow its revenues by 20 to 25 percent in 2018.

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