Inspiration and sources
 
I want to dedicate this blog post to Zara’s E-commerce strategy. I have to admit that I found this topic while researching something totally different for my second post and thus changed my mind in the last minute.
I found the most interesting information on Almina AlTai’s blog but I also did some personal research / experience in order to report to you guys.
 
Zara’s entrance to online shopping with 3 years delay! 
 
So Zara was founded – as I forgot to mention in my last post- in 1975 or that is to say, the first shop opened in 1975. In its history, the spanish retailer kept its marketing expenses to a minimum of .3% of its profit at times. That is of course incredible little compared to its biggest competitor H&M (Zara just recently passed H&M in terms of sales). This also hasn’t changed much lately, but one interesting marketing tools was added this year. Since almost 3 months, Zara Online Shopping is on! Compared to H&M that introduced this service in 2007 already, Zara is a real laggard.
Apparently, the main reason for not joining the online pool was the low percentage of online shoppers. Check this:” Research from Gavilán Bouzos and professors Maria Avello and Francis Blasco supports that estimate and reveals part of the reason for fashion’s low Internet presence. Having studied the purchasing patterns of fashion’s biggest customer segment in Spain – women between 30 and 50 years old — they found that only 2.7% go online to shop for clothes. As Gavilán Bouzos notes, this segment comprises working women who typically have “an acute feeling” that they don’t have enough time and enjoy buying their clothes from a variety of establishments, but prefer locations that have a broad selection.”
 Naturally, most potential customers avoid online shopping due to the lack of physical contact with the merchandise other than items like plan tickets, which are bought primarily on the web nowadays (remember delta..? )
 
Advantages of online presence
 
The internet is nevertheless indispensable for the whole fashion industry. For example, it will make the brand more accessible in more ways and to more clients. In the short term, the prospects of profitability might be small but the investment risks are low beyond the development and maintenance costs.
With regard to Zara, according to WHARTON blog , in the medium term, the strategy allows it to prepare itself to compete when this channel is an authentic source of revenues and profits,and longer term, it could strengthen its image among customers as a dynamic technological innovator. (I had to smile at this opinion, if you read my last post, it showed that Zara is not quite up-to-date with its in-store technology so its funny that a webpage can create a totally different appearance)
 
 
Now, I’d like to come to the fun part, my own experience with Zara’s shopping offers. First of all, I have to say that there webpage has a very appealing design and structure and also the photographs used in the background and for the lookbook are great. Structure-wise it doesn’t differ a lot from other fashion distributors. Indeed, compared to online giant ASOS, Zara’s selection of online features is quite limited. What I find quite remarkable is the “people” feature (see picture above) that all  of the online shopping pages offer that I found so far. In this feature, fashion blogs are linked to the webpage so that you can see how “normal” people wear the stuff. I find that extremely helpful, since the fashion pictures normally don’t show what is wearable on the street. So its probably a really mutually beneficial thing that the bloggers (I guess) get supported and/or payed by the brand and the brand has an artificial mouth propaganda. One contra example of this relationship not being really fair is this:
Zara using blogging pictures for their design without permission. It seems to be really recent cases because I didn’t find any outcomes of  pressed charges yet. So sadly, the blogger scene has more (kinds of) stalkers that expected… 
 
 
by Inga Z.

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