As a retailer its always a challenge to balance store refits while keeping the tills ringing… you see the partial close, pop-up option through to the full close. Zara has just taken an alternate route allowing it to test a whole raft of Omnichannel integration, while creating a buzz at the same time.

Their Westfield Stratford City London store is currently being refurbished, so they have opened up a temporary click&collect concept store. Coming in at 200sm it is a long way off their standard store size. To cater for this, they have edited the displayed fashion range to a core offering; they have the various sizing options and nothing more. While you can access the full catalogue range, you can’t buy anything in store and take it with you.

Speaking to local consumers the concept is well received and elicits interest purely in it’s different offering.
It is all good and well to experiment with technology but if it a. doesn’t deliver or b. is technology for technology sake then you run the risk of creating customer frustrations which were not there previously. However so far so good for the pilot store offering.

How it works:

It is a great balance of technology, logistics and service:

  • Order before 2pm and receive the same day, or the next day for afternoon orders
  • Sales assistants have mobile devices to support them in customer service re sizes, stock and collections
  • Customers can pay by card via Bluetooth and there is also a self-checkout area to complement the regular check-out
  • The mirrors are ‘SMART’ providing product recommendations via RFID tags on the items you are trying on (or sizing info etc.)
  • The store will also facilitate returns and exchanges, an important aspect to have included in any omnichannel offering
Zara Stratford London click&collect omnichannel offering

The temporary Zara click&collect store at Westfield Stratford city

The new refurbished store is due to double in size (to 4,500sm) and re-open in May 2018. However, the click&collect integration will remain with a dedicated space for collecting deliveries, this will be easily done via QR code recognition or pin, both of which are sent to the customer on purchase. But the most exciting component happens behind the scenes; a dynamic robot which moves through a small warehouse with the capacity to handle 2,400 packages simultaneously.

The chairman and CEO of Inditex, Pablo Isla, stressed the relevance of both concepts, saying that they mark “another milestone in our strategy of integrating our stores with the online world, which defines our identity as a business”.

Australian Online sales

The NAB Online Retail Sales Index (NORSI) recently reported November 2017 the strongest monthly growth rate since December 2014 (+4.7% mom s.a.), noticeably prior to the domestic Amazon launch (Dec 2017). Combined with the comparison to traditional retail via ABS data the NORSI showed online outpaced traditional by 1.5% in October 2017.

Of course, November was potentially buoyant due to the growth in domestic adoption of the black Friday and cyber Monday sales, but still online sales is not something to shy away from. The more traditional retailers innovate in this space the more likely their success, especially first to market solutions like this.

Author Jessica Sinclair

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