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Zara to launch online in Australia

Stratfordpop-upstoreFashion giant Zara will launch its first local e-commerce offering on March 14.

The retailer has updated its website with a simple address to consumers: “Dear Australia, shop online March 14”.

Parent company Inditex has continued to roll out its global fully integrated store and online platform, with the Spanish group last year opening outlets in 52 markets during the period. Its store count reached 7504 in 94 markets at the end of October.

In its latest trading update, net sales for the nine months to October last year reached €17.96 billion (US$21.2 billion), up 10 per cent.

In January, Zara launched a pop-up store focused on servicing online orders in London.

The temporary store at Westfield Stratford is designed primarily for ordering and collecting of online orders and will be open until May, while the chain’s flagship store in the centre is refurbished and extended.

Inditex chairman and CEO Pablo Isla said the pop-up marked “another milestone in our strategy of integrating our stores with the online world, which defines our identity as a business”.

The pop-up store incorporates a product recommendation system based on information screens embedded into mirrors. Once customers scan an item using radio frequency identification (RFID) technology, the system can bring up, in the right size, multiple choices for coordinating and combining the item they are trying on with other garments and accessories.

Consumers can receive their orders within the same day, if placed before 2pm, or the next day, if placed in the afternoon while the store will also facilitate returns and exchanges.

Meanwhile, the refurbished flagship will stretch to 4,500 square metres and be the first Zara store in the world to offer four sections – with the retailer adding a dedicated area for the collection of online orders to its traditional women’s, men’s and kid’s lines, forming part of the company’s online integration strategy

The new store will feature an automated online order collection point serviced by two small warehouses which will enable shoppers to pick up purchases made online. The system is designed around an optical barcode reader which scans the QR code or accepts the PIN codes received by customers when they place orders online. In a few seconds, it delivers the order to a mailbox from which the customer can collect it. Behind the scenes, a dynamic robot moves through a small warehouse with the capacity to handle 2,400 packages simultaneously.

Store customers will be able to pay using their mobile phones, via either the Zara app or the Inditex Group app, InWallet, and there will also be a self-checkout area to complement the regular cashier desks.

Zara Australia has been contacted for comment.

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