Zara – What’s Going On?

I wonder how much I spend at Zara over the course of a year… it’s too scary a concept to actually work out, as I’m fairly confident it’s a small fortune. I love Zara – as does any fashionista worth her weight – it’s the go to brand for affordable, credible, trend worthy fashion season after season. Just take a look at Instagram  to get a feel for why there are so many sell out pieces (this leopard skin pleat skirt being the biggest hit of the season so far).

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When it comes to the high street brands I’m a laptop shopper – I enjoy scrolling through the new arrival images every Monday, thinking about whether an item will suit me, its quality, its longevity. Zara’s internet site is smooth and easy to use, just a couple of clicks and the purchase is made. It’s convenient and dangerously addictive. Just a few days later a branded box arrives neatly on my doorstep, encased in a plastic envelope to keep the rain off.

It’s exciting getting a Zara box. The clothes are beautifully wrapped in tissue paper and crease free. I get to try them on in the comfort of my own home, spend some time debating over whether to keep them or not. I can try them with other items from my wardrobe to ensure I can put some good outfits together. Sometimes I’ll wait for my husband to get home to get his opinion. Then the next day if I don’t feel it’s quite right I can just pop it back to the post office for a refund. Easy.

Now let’s compare that to the recent shopping experience I had in the Zara on Oxford Street. A jumble sale mess of creased clothes and rampant shoppers, security guards and impassive shop assistants. Ridiculous queues for the changing rooms, which are stuffy, scruffy, noisy and too small. I ask one of the shop assistants where a piece is that I’ve seen on Instagram. She has no idea and tells me to ask someone on the other side of the shop. I eventually find it and ask another shop assistant for my size. She literally snatches it out my hand and rushes off. By the time I finally get into the changing room I feel stressed by the number of people waiting and end up rushing to try things on. The clothes feel cheap and synthetic. I am hot and very bothered. I don’t buy the item. I see other items on my way out that I like but there’s no way I’m queuing up again and going through the whole palaver again… Hell.

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Ok, not really the Zara changing rooms… but what it feels like!

Why is this Zara? Why does the brand experience vary so much? It completely ruins it for me. When I pop into the local fashion boutiques near where I live in Hertford or St Albans, they are friendly and ensure customers have an enjoyable experience. It doesn’t take much. With Zara it’s the sheer volume that I hate so much. I’m not sure what the answer is – it’s a popular store and they just don’t seem to be able to meet the level of customers that they have in store.

I know Zara’s key strength is its speed at getting items from sketch pad to store – apparently it takes just 15 days. This means they are constantly feeding in new inventory with a limited lifetime, which draws customers in and is a great strategy to build loyalty and revenue.

Back in 2012 Mary Portas aptly reviewed the Zara shopping experience as ‘the Ikea of the retail world’ so it would appear the brand has not changed much in recent years. However there are changes afoot as Zara announces it aims to improve the instore experience by investing in technology . Changes include self service tills and an interactive inventory screen in each changing room. The hope is that by freeing up shop assistants they’ll be able to deliver some customer service (please invest in training too Zara!). It’s really good to see improvements being planned, I just hope it’s enough to keep its loyal clients happy…

6 Comments

  1. tinkertailoronline

    I think you must be a mindreader, how right you are! Last time I was in Zara I queued for about 30 minutes with my daughter who chose to spend her pocket money in there. I sent our a tweet in frustration, they asked me which store, I replied – end of communication. I wasn’t expecting compensation but an update and an apology would have been nice. Put simply they don’t have enough staff and I do wish they would stop stapling the two receipts you get when you pay! I love the clothes/ hate the shopping experience.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. katejones1

      Grrrrrr it makes me cross! Such a successful brand with huge margins… its all about the product, which sells regardless of no service… do we just accept it…? Not sure. The clothes are so good. Interesting to see what happens in the next 6-12 months with the technology roll out. Fingers crossed! x

      Like

  2. tinkertailoronline

    I worry it will be like at the supermarket where the self-service tills are often slower than the traditional ones… If I had stronger morals I’d boycott them!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. hey...is that me?

    This is exactly my experience in-store at Zara! The last time I went in, I was with the kids! They were wreaking havoc in the changing room queue, poor things. They were just so bored as it was, literally, a 30 minute wait. And, unless one arrives just as the store opens,the jumble sale-ness is almost to TK Maxx proportions! Let’s hope there is a change afoot…x

    Liked by 1 person

    1. katejones1

      Oh god, its bad enough for us adults, but complete and utter hell for kids! I remember as a child, we always used to buy clothes from a stall at the local market. My mum knew the guy who owned it and it was always a very chatty, friendly time. Nowadays my daughter Coco shops online… such a difference experience… she loves the inspiration she gets in Zara but hates the rudeness – last time she was in there one of the sales staff was so rude to my husband, she couldn’t believe it! Not a good example is it… x

      Liked by 1 person

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