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First Look: Zara unveils pioneering store concept

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Global apparel giant Zara has taken the wraps off its transformed flagship at Westfield Stratford mall in London, debuting a format that revolutionizes the in-store shopping experience.

The two-story, 48,000-sq.-ft. store feature digital technology that integrates the online and offline shopping experiences, with such features as automated order collection points, self-checkout, interactive mirrors and mobile payment systems.

In addition to Zara’s usual departments for women’s, men’s and kids,’ it offers a dedicated section for the purchase and collection of online orders. This section has two automated online order collection points, serviced by a concealed area able to 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 online orders. Behind the pick-up point, a robotic arm collects trays and organizes the packages optimally according to their size, delivering orders for customers to collect in seconds.

The store has an array of features designed to create a seamless and convenient shopping experience. Interactive mirrors equipped with RFID 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 2 p.m., or the next day if made in the afternoon.

Store associates are equipped with iPads and can accept payments. Customers can pay using their mobile phones via the Zara app or the Inditex Group app, InWallet. Along with regular checkouts, there is a self-checkout area with a system that automatically identifies garments being purchased. Customers can confirm their items on a screen at self-checkout before paying with their cards or mobile phones.

The new Zara has been designed to stand out as a unique shopping destination. It has a two-story façade without windows on the first floor, providing a transparent view of the store’s interior architectural features and collections. The store also boasts smart systems that reduce emissions and save energy.

“The reopening of Zara’s flagship in Stratford is an important moment for Inditex,” stated Pablo Isla, chairman and CEO of Zara parent company 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 optimized our stores for this aim.”

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