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Zara’s In Store Mode Pilot Offers Win-Win for the Retailer and Pandemic Era Shoppers

Trend Spotlight from RI 2021: How Leaders are Surviving and Thriving by Unlocking Omni Integrations

For almost two decades, we have been tracking cutting edge concepts from around the world through our annual Retail Innovations publication. RI2021 includes 50 global cases categorized by four megatrends: omni-integration, extreme convenience, extreme experience, and sustainable practices.


Image Source: Colitco

This week we are spotlighting Zara, a brand well-known for introducing omni-integration initiatives into their stores and the second concept we’ve highlighted from the Omni-Integration section of the book.  This section of RI21 includes retail and brand leaders championing a range of both digital focused and digital first modern retail concepts. The other week, we highlighted Carturesti, the Romanian bookseller that successfully expanded the role of each channel in a changed post-pandemic landscape.

Zara Pilots In-Store Mode

In September 2020, the Spanish fast fashion behemoth launched “in-store mode” in several Spanish cities, designed to make shopping easier, safer and more sustainable.

For example, when online shopping, the customer has the option to shop available inventory from the store closest to their location with pickup ready in just 30 minutes.  Not only is this service convenient to the consumer, but it also reduces crowding in stores.

When physically in-store, customers can use the app to locate products viewed online, and wayfinding functionality guides them to its specific location. Once the item has been found, app users can reserve fitting rooms and fast track the fitting room lines – solving for another frustrating conundrum facing pandemic era shoppers.

Finally, at checkout, the app produces a QR code that is unique to each purchase. These codes are all stored on the app for easy recall, reducing the need for printing paper receipts and expediting the check-out process.


Image Source: Geospatial World

Why We are Inspired. The additional functionality offered by Zara’s omni-integrated “in-store mode” gives customers the ability to seamlessly move through various stages of the path to purchase on their own terms. Plus, the app offers a rare win-win for customers and retailer alike.  From Zara’s point of view, geolocation and inventory availability optimizes the last mile and reduces costs associated with shipping when customers select to retrieve their items in person. Additionally, allowing customers to engage in a “self-service” experience as enabled by the app frees up store employees to spend their efforts on other more productive pursuits.

Stay tuned as we continue highlighting examples from each of our four key trend areas. Follow along with us on our blog and our Instagram feed and stories.

For more inspiring case studies, make sure to download Your Copy of Retail Innovations 2021 here.

Alyson Fischer

Alyson Fischer is an engagement manager and cross-functional leader with 10+ years of experience helping Global 100 clients tell data-driven stories to elevate the customer experience and inspire dynamic engagement across channels.

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