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Zara flagship dedicates entire section to online services

A new Zara flagship unveiled in London this week gives an insight into its new global direction.

High in technology, compact in footprint, Zara believes the new Westfield Stratford store concept will “transform the customer shopping experience at its heart”, integrating online and in-store shopping.

It is the Spanish fast-fashion retailer’s first store in the world to introduce a fourth section after women’s, men’s and kid’s: online. A separate area has been designed to house two automated order collection points.

The system’s optical barcode reader scans QR or Pin codes that customers receive when they place orders online. Behind the pick-up point, a robotic arm collects trays and organises the packages optimally according to their size, delivering orders for customers to collect in seconds.

The system can handle 2400 orders simultaneously, enabling shoppers to collect purchases made through Zara’s e-commerce platforms. Online orders are available in store on the same day if made before 2pm, or the next day if made in the afternoon.

Zara says the customer service features go beyond integrating online and offline shopping. The new store aims to create a “seamless, convenient and enjoyable shopping experience”.

Interactive mirrors equipped with RFID readers can detect the garment a customer is holding, enabling customers to see what a complete outfit will look like in the mirror.

Zara staff will use iPads to advise customers and accept payments on the shop floor. Customers can pay using their mobile phones via the Zara app or the Inditex Group app, InWallet.

And to complement the regular cashier desks, there is a self-checkout area with a system that automatically identifies garments being purchased. Customers can simply confirm their items on a screen at the self-checkout before paying with their cards or mobile phones.

The 4500sqm store has been under renovation since January and was temporarily replaced with the brand’s first pop-up store for the purchase and collection of online orders only, some of the features of which are replicated in the Zara flagship.

Inditex chairman and CEO Pablo Isla described the reopening of the Zara flagship as an important moment for the company.

“We are in a unique position as we enjoy a global sales platform that fully integrates stores and online. In recent years we have invested in the most advanced technology and optimised our stores for this aim. Our business model combines stores and digital seamlessly, and we are ready for the opportunities that this brings with current and new customers,” he said.

From a design perspective, the store has a two-storey facade without shop windows on the first floor, providing a transparent view of the store’s interior architectural features and collections.

The refurbishment of the Zara flagship follows the brand’s introduction of an augmented reality experience at 120 flagship stores worldwide for a fortnight earlier this year.

This story first appeared on sister site, Inside Retail Asia.

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