Zara has opened its pioneering new store at Westfield Stratford today, which it says will transform the customer experience and integrate online and in-store shopping.
The store, which totals 4,500 sqm, marks a significant milestone in parent company Inditex’s strategy of integrating its store and online platforms and is the first in the world with a dedicated area for the purchase and collection of online orders.
This dedicated area features two automated online order collection points, serviced by a concealed area able to handle 2,400 orders simultaneously, enabling shoppers to collect online purchases. 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. Online orders are available in store on the same day if made before 2pm, or the next day if made in the afternoon.
The new store’s customer service features are also oriented towards creating a "seamless, convenient and enjoyable" shopping experience. Interactive mirrors equipped with RFID will be able to detect the garment a customer is holding, enabling customers to see what a complete outfit will look like in the mirror.
Zara staff will also be equipped with iPads and will be able to advise customers and accept payments. Customers can pay using their mobile phones via the Zara app or the Inditex Group app, InWallet. Complementing 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 self-checkout before paying with their cards or mobile phones.
The Stratford store has been under refurbishment since January, and was temporarily replaced with Zara’s first pop up store for purchase and collection of online orders only, some of the features of which are being replicated in the flagship.
Pablo Isla, Inditex Chairman and CEO hailed the opening as "an important moment for Inditex". "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 both 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,” Isla said.