One of the issues that has marked the agenda in what refers to retail during this year has been the crisis of H & M. The company has shown poor financial results, it has entered a hole and has had to face a complicated situation in which it had too many stores and also too much excess clothing. In March, H & M had over $ 4 billion worth of clothes that it had not sold.
H & M was beginning to see itself as an example of market change and how things were beginning to be different in the relationship between consumers and sellers. But the H & M crisis was not only striking as far as she was concerned but also because her great competitor, the Zara de Inditex, was not in a similar situation. While H & M was facing a debacle, Zara continued to grow and grow, entered into lists of more valuable brands and remained a benchmark for success. In fact, Zara is the most valuable Spanish brand in the world.
The key to what one had pushed to the crisis and another is not, in fact, in which the two companies have done things in a different way. H & M has opened many stores and is installed everywhere, while Zara has faced the conquest of the market in a different way. Although Inditex arrived quite late in the world of electronic commerce, it has been able to recover lost space and to position itself more and more prominently in that environment. In fact, 10% of everything they sell is already buying online.
Zara – and Inditex in general – has managed to make a good omnichannel strategy, which has become a very valuable asset. Not only in the store do they recommend following the online purchase when there are supply problems, but also the online store also has an echo in the physical store. Everything is connected and the purchasing process is very integrated, as also happens in the other Spanish fashion giant, Mango.
Faster than the competition in reaching the market
But Zara not only triumphs because it has a good online / offline strategy, but also because it has understood one of the crucial elements in the contemporary market. Zara has made speed a key element in its connection with the market.
Since one of its products is designed in its headquarters in Arteixo, Galicia, until it reaches its consumer in let’s say New York the company does not let more than 25 days pass. As they explain in an infographic in CBInsights, everything is measured so that things happen in a dynamic, fast and efficient way.
From day one, in which the first draft of a piece of clothing is made according to the latest trend in fashion, until the 25th, when that piece appears on the shelves of your New York shop, timed stages are passed to be as efficient as possible in times. Between day 2 and 5 the prototype of the product is made, between 6 and 21 it is manufactured in a textile factory, between 21 to 24 everything arrives at a logistics center in Barcelona and from there it is distributed to the rest of the world.
The company also uses RFID tags in its garments, which makes it much more efficient to follow them in stores and in the logistics chain. The inventory is much easier to control as well and it is also much easier to detect patterns of consumption and potential deficiencies in the market, anticipating the peaks of need of consumers.
An increasingly dynamic market
This is also very important because the concept of fast fashion is increasingly determinant in the world of fashion and especially because what is considered ‘fast’ means to be more and more and faster. Since a trend appears until consumers find it in their stores, there are fewer and fewer times.
It is no longer the case that the catwalk trends reach the fast fashion chain stores before the sophisticated designer stores that put them on the catwalks, but that the fashion world, its design and its commercialization are increasingly influenced by real time and more linked to it. In fact, analysts already foresee a future in which mass fashion will be able to also reach smaller and more specific niches using these trends.