ZARA: IT for Fast Fashion
Önder BARLAS Executive MBA Student Boğaziçi University, Istanbul Abstract: In 2003 Zara faced a problem whether to upgrade the operating system they used for their point-of-sale (POS) to a new Windows based one, or to continue using the stable and old one. This report aims to analyze the problem by conducting a SWOT analysis and offering a solution path best suited on Zara’s strategic position in the clothing industry.
1. Brief Information about Inditex and Zara Inditex is a global specialty retailer that designs, manufactures, and sells apparel, footwear, and accessories for women, men and children through its chains around the world. Inditex owns Zara, Massimo Dutti, Pull & Bear, Bershka, Stradivarius, and Oysho. Over 80% of Inditex’s total employees are part of the retail sales force and 8.5% are in manufacturing, design, logistics, and distribution. The remaining 11.5% are part of the corporate headquarters. Zara is the most profitable brand of Inditex. It has opened his first store in 1975 in La Coruna in Spain. Today, La Coruna has become the central headquarters for Zara. The group is present in all continents: Europe, America, Asia and Africa. At the beginning of 2003, Zara operated 531 stores around the world. 2. Description of Zara’s Business Model Zara sells clothing for men, women and children. Zara’s target market is very broad because they do not define their target by segmenting ages and lifestyles as traditional retailers do. Zara targets young, educated people
that likes and is sensitive to fashion. As it has become globally standardized due to advances in communication, Zara uses this to their advantage by offering the latest in apparel on time. For that reason, 80- 85% of the garments that Zara offers globally are relative standardized fashionables. This is due to the fact that Zara’s marketing teams believe that a product that sells well in a fashion capital such as New York will most likely sell well in another such as Milan, Sao Paulo or Madrid since fashion has become more globally accessible. Zara’s main competitors are multinational clothing retailers such as H&M, Gap, and Benetton. Zara is different from its competitors in three ways: Zara does virtually no advertising (twiceyearly ad promotion on sales and opening new store announcement). Thus, Zara’s marketing expenditures averaged 0.3% of revenue, instead of the 3% to 4% for competitors. Zara only sells trendy clothes and not try to produce “classic” clothes which would always be in style. Zara’s clothes have fairly short life spans. About 75% of the
Management Information Systems
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ZARA: IT for Fast Fashion
merchandise changes over every three to four weeks. The shoppers do not expect Zara garments to be highly durable. Zara introduces substantially new design collections throughout the year. Other competitors introduce new design collections at the start of the fall/winter and spring/summer. Zara has empowered its employees: They decide what clothes should be in stores, the designed the garments by pairs for a specific collection. Their role is to create clothes not to be sold for a long time but only for a short period in appropriateness with the current trend.
All finished garments are sent to Zara facility where they are ironed, inspected, given a machine readable tag, and sent to a distribution center. Ordering: Every major section of a Zara store (man, women, children) has to place order quantities to headquarter twice a week with strict deadlines. As there is no inventory in store computers managers need to conduct a walkaround to check the stock for each section. Managers can see the newly available garments by using a PDA that is linked each night via dial up modem to main IS in La Coruna. Fulfillment: Fulfillment or shipping clothes to stores involve other commercials. They determine which store has to be supplied depending on the stock level. They work with...
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