Zara has long been known as a fast fashion leader, but the retailer has been slow in one area: fulfilling buy online/pick up in-store (BOPIS) orders. The bottlenecks are a particular problem for Zara, a division of Inditex, because one third of its global online sales are picked up in store locations, including the 85 shops located in the U.S.
The retailer will deploy robots operating behind the scenes in stores, according to the Wall Street Journal. Shoppers will scan or enter a code at in-store collection points, which will trigger the robot to search for the correct package in a small warehouse, then deliver it quickly to a drop box.
In January 2018, Zara opened a pop-up store in London designed primarily for ordering and collecting online purchases. Associates at the store are equipped with mobile devices to help customers. Orders received by 2 p.m. can be picked up that same day; those received later are available the following day. The 2,000-square-foot store will also facilitate returns and exchanges.
The pop-up, located in the Westfield Stratford shopping center, includes a product recommendation system based on information screens embedded in mirrors. RFID technology allows customers to scan items; the system then brings up, in the right size, multiple choices for coordinating and combining the item the shopper is trying on with other garments and accessories. Zara plans to keep the store open until May, when renovations on its flagship store are completed.