STORE SPACES

Fast-fashion giant opens new pop-up—with an online twist

BY Deena M. Amato-McCoy

Zara is opening a digitally-focused pop-up store in London, while it prepares to re-open its flagship store.

The fast-fashion giant’s temporary location, about 2,150 sq. ft., features women’s and men’s clothing. However, the merchandise — along with the rest of the brand’s extensive assortment — is available for online purchases only. The store will also support online order pickups.

Store associates uses mobile devices to assist customers. Those who place orders before 2 p.m., can receive their orders the same day. Orders place later will receive them the next day. A Bluetooth-based card terminal system supports electronic payments.

The pop-up store also features a product recommendation system that displays product information on dedicated mirrors. Once customers scan an item using radio frequency identification (RFID) technology, the system can display — in the right size — multiple choices that coordinate with merchandise they are trying on, according to the retailer.

The pop-up, at London’s Westfield Stratford shopping center, will remain open until May. The shop’s main focus is to serve shoppers while the chain refurbishes and expands its flagship store, which is also located in the mall.

When Zara’s flagship reopens, it will have doubled in size to some 48,000 sq. ft. In addition to featuring its signature women’s, men’s and kids’ lines, the location will also feature “a radical new store concept with technology at its heart,” according to the company. This will include a dedicated area to pick up online orders. This automated collection point will be serviced by two small warehouses.

Here’s how it will work: As shoppers enter the store, they can use an optical barcode reader to scan the QR code or the PIN codes they receive when they place an online order. A dynamic robot moves orders through a small warehouse, and within a few seconds, the order is placed in a dedicated mailbox for pickup. The robot has the capacity to handle 2,400 packages simultaneously, according to Zara.

In addition, store customers will be able to pay using their mobile phones, via either the Zara app or the Inditex Group app, InWallet — and a digital receipt enables shoppers to confirm orders prior to paying for them. A self-checkout area will also augment a traditional cash wrap. Customers can choose to print out their receipts or store them automatically in their smartphones, Zara said.

The store will also feature a new interior design, with a two-story façade on the first floor providing a transparent view of the store’s architectural features and collections. The glass façade on the second floor will be equipped with a number of sensors that will project images from the current collections onto the glass as shoppers approach it.

The back-lit ceiling is designed to provide continuous and comfortable light. It will also be equipped with smart systems for reducing emissions and saving energy.

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