Zara reopens in London with host of new technology features

Inditex-owned fashion chain Zara has reopened the doors to its flagship store at Westfield Stratford City in London, promising customers a host of technology-enabled features.

The London store, which has been closed and under refurbishment since January, is the first Zara globally to feature four distinct sections – with a dedicated online area joining the traditional women’s, men’s and kid’s sections.

Automated order collection points, self-checkout and mobile payment systems are also included, with Inditex chairman & CEO Pablo Isla calling the reopening of Zara’s flagship in Stratford "an important moment for Inditex”.

The 4,500 sq m space is viewed by the retailer as a key moment in the business’s attempts to integrate its store and online platforms, with the online area enabling shoppers to self-serve when collecting purchases made through Zara’s website.

Zara said 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 a matter of seconds, according to the retailer.

Away from the eCommerce zone, interactive mirrors equipped with RFID have been installed which detect the garment a customer is holding and allow shoppers to see what a complete outfit will look like in the mirror without the need to try on all the clothes.

Online orders are available in store on the same day if made before 2pm, or the next day if made in the afternoon. 

Isla commented: “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.”

Zara staff in Stratford will also have access to iPads so they can advise customers about inventory and availability – and accept payments – on the move. Customers can pay using their mobile phones via the Zara app or the Inditex Group app, InWallet.

What’s Hot on Essential Retail?