Zara débuts pop-up store focused on online orders in London

  • Temporary store at Westfield Stratford introduces innovative technology  while groundbreaking flagship store is refurbished and extended

Tomorrow Zara unveils its first store anywhere in the world designed primarily for ordering and collecting of online orders. The store will be open until May at London’s Westfield  Stratford  shopping centre, while the chain's flagship store in the centre is refurbished and extended.

The flagship store is being doubled in size to 4,500 square metres. When it reopens in May, it will feature a radical new store concept with technology at its heart designed to transform the customer shopping experience. 

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”.

The pop-up store spans nearly 200 square metres and offers a select choice of women's and men's clothing for online purchase directly in-store, along with the rest of the brand's extensive fashion range.

Store staff will be on hand with mobile devices to assist customers, who will be given the choice of receiving their orders within the same day, if placed before 2pm, or the next day, if placed in the afternoon. Payments are also made easier thanks to an innovative card terminal system operated via Bluetooth. The store will also facilitate returns and exchanges.

Among other innovations, this pop-up store boasts 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.

New flagship store will integrate online and offline

Next week work will begin on expanding and refurbishing the existing Zara store in Westfield Stratford, which is due to re-open in May. The new store will stretch to 4,500 square metres and will be the first Zara store in the world to offer four sections: in addition to the traditional women's, men's and kids' lines, Zara is adding a dedicated area for the collection of online orders, in keeping with the company's online integration strategy.

This new concept attempts to further enhance the in-store shopping experience by adding new customer services. The store, which will feature a new interior design, will stand out for its two-storey façade without windows in the first floor, providing a transparent view of the store's architectural features and collections. The glass façade on the second floor will be equipped with a number of sensors which will project images from the current collections onto the glass when shoppers approach it. It is also worth highlighting the back-lit ceiling designed to provide continuous and comfortable light. 

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 on www.zara.com whenever it suits them. This 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 just 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. 

All this new technology is oriented towards creating a unique shopping experience in which the latest developments make  fashion trends stand out even more. 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, which will speed up the payment process. This system will automatically identify the garments being purchased so that customers only have to confirm their items on a screen before using their card or mobiles to pay for them. Then they can choose to print out their receipts or store them automatically in their mobile handsets.

In keeping with Inditex's eco-efficient store programme the Zara store in Stratford will also be equipped with smart systems for reducing emissions and saving energy.