Rising competition from newer players on the fast fashion turf has made Inditex the owner of Zara chain and the leading global clothing retailer sit up and take notice. The younger players giving Inditex a run for the money to name a few are Boohoo.com and Missguided. The rate of generating new varieties on the fashion turf has been reduced to as little as one week for the Inditex rivals. They manage operations from design to point of sale in short time spans, resulting in the refreshing of their sites on a day-to-day basis with hundreds of novelty items. To counter these measures, Inditex, the Spanish giant is coming out with new technologies and reaching out to tech firms for tie ups besides, recruiting fresh talent from start-ups.
How far the Spanish fashion giant’s counter measures will prove successful will serve as an indicator to whether it can keep pace with the changing times and adapt to the new ambience in the realm of apparel retail. To make matters piquant, online giant Amazon is on the verge of outdoing Macy’s as the biggest seller of clothing in the American markets. The trend ahead would also be an indicator on whether a model that integrates online sales with a large network of physical stores can persist sustainably in the fashion market for the masses. For example, from the pricing point of view, tailored trousers sell under 30 euro and sequined dresses under 50 euro.
At present, Inditex has come up with an innovation unit. The unit is captained by former Telecommunications Engineer Alejandro Ferrer along with start-up veteran David Alayaon. The innovation unit is busy examining methods of enhancing stock handling. It has tied up with California’s Fetch Robotics in an attempt to explore the possibility of availing robots to handle stock inventory. Another tie-up has been made with microprocessor giant Intel for the manufacture of gadgets that can swiftly gauge the volume of clothing in boxes. Besides, to make use of its physical assets Inditex is exploring new technologies focused on areas like Location Intelligence and ultrasound technology that can track footfall in stores in addition to providing virtual assistants that can cater to customers on the shop floor. It now remains to be seen if the new counter measures adopted by Inditex can tilt the balance in their favour in the forthcoming months.