Last year, a particularly frustrating experience in Zara’s Oxford Street store lead me to write this article, praising retailers who – in contrast to the Spanish retailer – typically excel when it comes to their in-store customer experience.
Since that time, it appears Zara has undergone quite a few changes, largely through an increased investment and focus on technology.
From this it aims to offer customers a slicker, more streamlined, and ultimately enjoyable experience – as well as to combat the growing competition of ecommerce front-runners.
So, here’s a run-down of how Zara is using technology to gain an in-store edge, as well as what value it provides consumers.
Streamlining checkout with self-service
There’s no denying that Zara is one of the most in-demand retailers of the past few years. As of May 2017, it was ranked as the 51st most valuable brand in the world by Forbes, with sales increasing 13% to reach a record £602.7 million.
This is pretty evident in Zara stores, hence my frustrating experience last year. Shops are typically packed, often resulting in long queues for the fitting rooms and even longer ones to actually buy something (or god forbid, make a return).
In a bid to combat this, Zara has now launched self-service checkouts, allowing customers to skip the queue and buy for their items via do-it-yourself kiosks (à la Tesco).
However, the technology looks and feels much slicker than your average supermarket. Since being made a permanent feature of stores last September, I’ve given it a go a few times myself, and have actually left feeling quite impressed.
Instead of receiving the classic ‘unexpected item in bagging area’ alert, I enjoyed an intuitive and relatively easy-to-use experience. One of its best features is that it adds any item to your basket that you hold up in front of it (meaning no searching for or scanning pesky barcodes).