Spain's most world-famous high-street clothing chain, Zara, has launched a booking system for fitting rooms. This was done to get people shopping again. Paired with a system allowing customers to check what is in store before heading there in person.
Over the past few months of lockdown, when non-essential retail outlets were starting to reopen to the public, Zara – Inditex's star brand – had to keep its fitting rooms off limits and restrict numbers of people on the premises.
Even now the fitting rooms are back in use, while being disinfected regularly, limits still apply to ensure social distancing. This ultimately means that queues tend to build up for their use, and in large cities and shopping centers. Therefore, customers may be hanging around waiting for ages. Only to rummage through all the rails and find the items they had hoped to buy are out of stock, or no longer available in their size.
Window-shopping, which can sometimes lead to on-the-spur purchases or a plan to go back later and buy specific items after payday, has become a thing of the past. Consumers are reluctant to take up space inside a shop that could be occupied by someone with definite intentions of spending money.
Zara has all these eventualities covered now. Booking a fitting room is available once on site, via a mobile app or on Zara's website. Additionally, the site allows people to browse their nearest store's wares and know for certain whether or not an item they like the look of is going to be there for them to buy, saving them an unnecessary trip.
The click-and-collect online purchase service has now been reduced to just half an hour and is available at all stores. This means that customers can buy what they want or need and then pop to the shop, rather than the other way around, and reduce their time on the premises, not having to queue at the till to pay.
Zara is the latest in a long line of retailers to set up a near-instant click-and-collect service as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak. Other high-profile chains to do so include Amazon and Spain's largest department store, El Corte Inglés.
Currently, the fitting-room booking facility is only available in 25 shops nationwide. This also counts for the option to check stock in individual stores. However, Inditex wants to roll these out to every premises in the country over the next few months.
Inditex has not announced plans to do so for its other brands. However, these could be next if the new systems in Zara prove successful.
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