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Zara to launch online in Australia

Global fashion giant Zara will launch its first local ecommerce offering, with a raft of features set to showcase the retailer’s integrated store and online approach.

After updating its website with a simple address to consumers: “Dear Australia, shop online March 14”, parent company Inditex will continue to roll out its global fully integrated physical and digital platform.

Zara launched in Australia and New Zealand seven years ago and cited “knowing and delivering exactly what our customers want…meticulous organisation, close attention to detail, and industry-leading technological innovation in every part of our value chain,” as reasons for the long delay in launching online, emulating rival chain Topshop Australia which only launched online platforms last year.

“Zara has had a very strong operating performance in Australia over the last seven years,” a spokesperson for the fashion brand told IRW.

“We have achieved very satisfactory sales growth and we believe that our fashion and the quality of our service online will be distinguishing. We are committed to continually reviewing how our operations can improve the customer experience.”

The new site will feature the typical services including home delivery, click-and-collect plus shipping to stores and returns are free.

Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) will also be incorporated within the system, allowing staff in physical stores to help customers find items instantly in-store, nearby or online.

“This system is key for our fully integrated approach to the stock between online and offline stores and is now available across Zara’s entire store base worldwide,” the spokesperson said.

Meanwhile Zara’s approach to the Australian market will remain “very much the same [as] any other market”.

“It’s a fully integrated approach that incorporates relevant flagships, shopping malls and our online store.

“We see great potential in the online market, and we believe that the quality of the service in Australia will be distinguishing, as demonstrated in the 44 markets we have been successfully operating online in.”

Further afield, Zara launched a pop-up store in January, focused on servicing online orders in London.

The temporary store at Westfield Stratford is designed primarily for customers to order and collect online orders and will be open until May, while the chain’s flagship store in the centre is refurbished and extended.

Inditex chairman and CEO Pablo Isla said the pop-up marked “another milestone in our strategy of integrating our stores with the online world, which defines our identity as a business”.

The pop-up store incorporates a product recommendation system based on information screens embedded into mirrors. Once customers scan an item using RfID technology, the system can offer multiple choices for coordinating and combining the item the customer is trying on with other garments and accessories.

Meanwhile, the refurbished flagship will stretch to 4,500 sqm and will be the first Zara store in the world to offer four sections. The retailer will be adding a dedicated area for the collection of online orders to its traditional women’s, men’s and kid’s lines, forming part of the company’s online integration strategy.

The new store will feature an automated online order collection point serviced by two small warehouses, which will enable shoppers to pick up purchases made online. The system is designed around an optical barcode reader, which scans the QR code or accepts PIN codes received by customers when they place orders online.

In a few seconds, it delivers the order to a mailbox from which the customer can collect it. Behind the scenes, a dynamic robot moves through a small warehouse with the capacity to handle 2,400 packages simultaneously.

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