Inditex-owned Zara is deploying ship-from-store capabilities in an effort to maximize inventory, slash shipping times and better leverage its store investments.
According to a report from The Wall Street Journal, by year’s end the fast-fashion chain known for runway-inspired styles will equip 2,000 of its more than 2,200 locations across 48 countries with the ability to fulfill e-commerce orders from physical stores.
Exposing more of its inventory this way should greatly reduce online stock-outs when available merchandise is sitting in a store nearby.
What’s more, shipping product from store to door is expected to reduce transit time and elevate customer satisfaction. Because orders dispatched from a centrally located store can arrive more quickly than those sent from a distant warehouse, Zara expects to drive a greater share of full-priced sales.
Omnichannel technology has been a major focus for the Spanish retailer this year. To address the overwhelming response to its click-and-collect offering, Zara deployed robots in store to aid with picking orders for customers arriving to retrieve their merchandise.
“The strength of the integrated store and online model, bolstered by continued innovation, is driving solid growth and notable job creation,” chairman and CEO Pablo Isla said on Zara’s Q2 2018 earnings report.
Though U.S. apparel retailers have caught on to the power of a retail model that leverages digital and physical assets for the best interest of the customer, European counterparts have been slower to catch on to omnichannel strategies. According to analysts cited in the WSJ report, Zara parent company Inditex is the first continental clothing seller to debut ship-from-store services.
Zara also has demonstrated a willingness to experiment with technology as a customer engagement tool, incorporating augmented reality into stores and packaging earlier this year as a means of bringing a new dimensions to window displays, e-commerce boxes and merchandise presentations.