Zara is feeling the heat from younger online-only e-retailers such as Boohoo, ASOS, and Missguided. In as little as one week, these new players are producing pieces from concept to consumer. Compare this to Zara which takes three weeks. Now Zara has found itself turning to technology start-ups to add a new edge. Amazon has basically already taken over Macy's spot as the biggest seller of clothing to Americans. The ever-changing landscape of the apparel industry is wild and unforgiving. You move with the times or you get left behind.
Inditex (who owns Zara) has an innovation unit, led by Alejandro Ferrer and startup founder David Alayon, that tests ways of improving stock handling. They have partnered up with Californa-based Fetch Robotics to test robots to work in stock inventory. The unit has also teamed up with chipmaker Intel to create devices that can quickly gauge the volume of clothing in boxes. Location intelligence is another project they are working on which allows apps to switch to 'in-store mode' as a customer enters a physical store so they can locate products and receive unique offerings.
Inditex CEO Pablo Isla said tight control of stock through tagging meant more garments can be sold at full price as items in stock at a store can be offered online as well. "This is full integration between store and online stockrooms," Isla said. Inditex is continuing its effort to integrate online sales as well as focusing on large stores where consumers can experience brands and physical products.