To solve for fashion retailer Zara’s customers facing long lines to pick items up in its stores, the company is turning to a high-tech solution for its “click and collect” service. Robots will now fetch items from the back of the house and speed up the in-store pick-up process, the Wall Street Journal reported.
Customers who have placed online orders can scan or enter a code at collection points in Zara stores. Then robots search for the corresponding order and bring it to a drop box where a customer can pick it up.
One-third of Zara’s worldwide online sales are already picked up in a Zara store. That demand created long lines in some of its locations as employees manually searched for and found customers’ orders. Customers can pick up items at thousands of the brand’s brick-and-mortar stores, with 85 locations in the U.S. offering the service.
In addition to Zara’s experiments with robots, the company has also decided to open a digitally enhanced pop-up store in a U.K. mall. The 2,150-square-foot location will feature both women’s and men’s clothing, but with a unique twist: All merchandise will only be available for online purchase. In addition, the store, located at London’s Westfield Stratford mall, will support pick up for online orders.
Store employees will use mobile devices to help customers shop. Those who place digital orders before 2:00 p.m. can retrieve their orders the same day, while those who do so after the cutoff will have to wait until the next day. Customers will use a Bluetooth credit card terminal to pay for their items.
In addition, the Zara store features a product recommendation system that works with a mirror. Shoppers scan an item using radio frequency identification (RFID) technology and the system will show other items that might pair well with the selected clothing — and in the correct size.