Zara Uses Robots to Speed up Pick-Up Process
As technology becomes increasingly used in every aspect of our world today, fashion brands are moving to join the trend as well. Most clothing retail stores have websites that customers can order new items from to be delivered or to be picked up in store. However, Zara is taking it one step further by utilizing robots in its stores to speed up the process of customers collecting orders. A third of Zara’s global online sales are now being collected in person; however, queues build up quickly in some cities due to the wait time needed for store attendants to find and hand out packages to everyone. That’s why earlier this year, Zara announced its plan to introduce robots into stores to help customers retrieve their online orders.
Pedro Aguilar, a former Euromonitor analyst in London, discussed his recent experience at a Zara store on Oxford Street. Upon arriving in the store, he had no way of telling where he was meant to go to pick up an order he had previously purchased online. After being told to wait in the long checkout line, Mr. Aguilar was then redirected to a different section of the store, where he had to wait in yet another queue. An employee was writing down customers’ order numbers and finding each package by hand.
This problem is slowly being rectified by Zara’s introduction of robots in its stores. Deemed “click and collect,” the process will allow customers picking up an order to scan or enter a code, alerting a hidden robot to find the shopper’s package in the back storeroom and deliver it to a collection point, from which customers can then pick the order up.
Continuing its integration into the technological age, Zara has decided to open a digitally enhanced pop-up store in the Westfield Stratford mall in London. Featuring both women’s and men’s clothing, the store will only sell merchandise online, with store employees using electronic devices to help shoppers buy their items. Digital orders placed before 2pm can be collected that same day, while those placed after the deadline would be available the following day.
This Zara store also includes a product recommendation system integrated into the mirror: customers can scan an item using radio frequency identification technology, and the system suggests items that go well with the scanned clothing.
The efficiency that these robots and recommendation system can bring reflects the rapid development of technology that has dominated the globe. At the rate at which automation is evolving, there is no telling the speed and extent to which technology will enhance business.