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LONDON – A new store by Spanish fashion brand, Zara, potentially paves the way for a new shopping experience where the boundaries between online and in-store shopping become increasingly blurred. The store in Westfield Stratford features a dedicated area for the purchase and collection of online orders. This includes two automated online order collection points, serviced by a concealed area which can handle 2,400 orders simultaneously, enabling shoppers to collect purchases made through Zara’s ecommerce platforms.

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 seconds.

The store concept represents an interesting solution for Zara, marking a significant milestone in parent company Inditex’s strategy of integrating its store and online platforms. We expect other retailers in apparel will be watching with interest.

The new store also features interactive mirrors equipped with RFID which will be able to detect the garment a customer is holding, enabling customers to see what a complete outfit will look like in the mirror. Online orders are available in store on the same day if made before 2pm, or the next day if made in the afternoon.

The Stratford store has been under refurbishment since January, and was temporarily replaced with Zara’s first pop up store for purchase and collection of online orders only, some of the features of which are being replicated in the flagship.

Pablo Isla, Inditex Chairman and CEO, commented: “The reopening of Zara’s flagship in Stratford is an important moment for Inditex. 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.”

The refurbishment of Zara’s Stratford flagship follows the brand’s introduction of an augmented reality experience at 120 flagship stores worldwide for a fortnight earlier this year, including at London’s Oxford Street.

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