What retailers could learn from Zara’s e-commerce platform

By Georgie Ince

Dec 20, 2018

In a landscape where there has been a high-street store closure every other week over the summer, it paints a gloomy picture for the future of the shopping experience. As the consumer moves online, a seamless shopping experience is essential and retailers have to prioritise this if they want to survive against the competition.

Gone are the days where consumers are happy to queue for the dressing rooms and tills, the shopping experience is not the sample sales in ‘Confessions of a Shopaholic’. With more choice than ever, independent shops are on the rise thanks to progressive ecommerce and technological platforms, like Trouva. There is clear a trend on what consumers treasure: their time.

As an avid shopper who regularly browses instore and shops online, there is one store that I feel gets the experience right and that is Zara.

Zara, owned by Madrid Inditex, and described by Forbes as the master of fast fashion, has one of the best retail systems on offer. It caters for a wide range of customers demographics, from the baby boomers who prefer an in-store experience to the millenial’s that lean towards self-checkout and online browsing.

In a recent interview, Julian Shovlin, Managing Director and founder of high street store iSmash, stated, “brands that are smart and ensure their online and offline presences overlap can benefit in the current climate” and in the next few months it will become evident as consumers turn to the brands that they feel put them first.

Zara has streamlined the online and offline experience, but also goes beyond technology to embrace the changing consumer. Staff scan barcodes on out of stock products, so you can order it online or check another store, so customers can get their hands of the coat they’ve been after. When it comes to ordering online, the website is easy to navigate, while products are displayed in multiple ways and constantly refreshed.

A developing factor for consumers is the impact of products on the environment. Zara has addressed this and made very clear that your shopping arrives in a recycled box and every item is not wrapped in plastic – this is something that Amazon is regularly criticised for.

For those wanting to collect in stores, there is an easy collection system with allows you to pick-up an order in a matter of minutes. In May this year, Zara launched their first every digital integrated store with automated order and collection and self-checkout. This works in tandem with their paperless system and in the case of a returned item the refund goes into the account you paid with, with no need to present your card.

Zara recently announced that by 2020 they would like to distribute worldwide and there shouldn’t be any reason that the brand shouldn’t have every success if they continue developing their shopping experience to incorporate what consumers value most, time!