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Zara: building on boom times

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IT WAS a boom year online for fashion retailers in 2015 and Zara – and its owner Inditex, which also owns Massimo Dutti – saw online sales grow by 16% across the latter part of last year. Within this boom, many fashion retailers have embraced apps as they ramp up mobile strategies to reflect changing customer behaviour. Zara has been an exemplar in this respect.

What has marked Zara out this year has been that it has done a great job of linking its store real estate and its online presence through its app and related digital services.

Zara’s app has been beautifully designed, with super-easy navigation and clear and plentiful images that show garments from all angles – and all of which are zoomable. This simple fact alone is one of the essentials in a good retail app and, as the IRUK 500 research shows, is missing from many retailer apps at present. The app also features other such ‘essential basics’ as a scanner and location services, plus myriad ways to share. Again, these basics are missing from many other retailer apps and help mark Zara out as a winner.

It also features a centralised account so that, when logged in, users can move across channels, and keep their baskets and settings. However, what really sets it apart here is that new customers are taken straight to the checkout rather than having to create an account before they can then buy. Instead, Zara cleverly asks for all that information as part of the checkout process and then simply requests a password to set up an account after the checkout is complete. This removes one of the biggest barriers to getting users to sign up and buy.

The other area where Zara’s app excelled in the IRUK 500 research was in load speed. The html load time of its mobile homepage was less than 0.5 seconds and the page contained just

12 elements, meaning that in less than a second a user was in and able to interact with the app. “Even compared to the other retailers in this dimension, Zara has one of the best-performing mobile sites and adheres to all the web standards and best-practice techniques,” says IRUK 500 senior researcher, Martin Shaw.

This somewhat prosaic-sounding metric is actually crucial to the success or otherwise of a mobile app or site. The quicker users are in and using the features, the more the momentum of their desire to buy is maintained. This rapid load time combined with a really slick checkout and good design all helped Zara to the number two spot in the IRUK Top500 Mobile and

Cross-channel Dimension, and mark it out as an Elite retailer.
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