What to expect from Zara’s online store
MUCH has been written about the decline of retail in Australia.
Fashion retailers in this country have been finding it particularly hard. Over the past few years shopping centre stalwarts such as GAP, Topshop and Oroton have bowed out of the local fashion landscape.
Flying in the face of that is Spanish retail giant Zara - a brand that seems to be going from strength to strength. They announced this week that they will be launching their Australian online shopping platform on March 14 (until now, Aussie Zara fans who have been unwilling or unable to visit stores in-person have simply been redirected to the company's US or European e-stores when trying to purchase items online).
Shipping and returns within Australia are free (however next day delivery for orders under $75 will incur a delivery fee of $7.95).
The web store will also offer a "click and collect" option - where customers can pick up items they order on the internet from a physical Zara location.
Stock available in Zara's Australian stores and new online site will be "refreshed" twice a week from the company's 10 logistics centres in Spain.
"Our main goal with zara.com/au is to offer the best fashion at affordable prices with the best service in the apparel online market," says a spokesperson.
"Zara has had a very strong operating performance in Australia over the last seven years. We have achieved very satisfactory sales growth and we believe that our fashion and the quality of our service online will be distinguishing. We are committed to continually reviewing how our operations can improve the customer experience".
Zara's first Australian store was opened in Sydney in 2011.
The Spanish fashion and accessories retailer was founded in 1975 and today it has 2266 stores around the globe, raking in $US9 billion in revenue each year.
Today it is the main brand owned by the Inditex group, the world's largest clothing retailer.
It has been reported that Zara needs just one week to get a new item on to shelves, compared with the industry average of six months.
It releases around 12,000 new designs each year, but has a zero-advertising policy, instead investing in new stores.
Despite its no-advertising policy, it has a huge celebrity following, including model Emily Ratajkowski who wore a $A250 mustard-colour Zara suit when she married Sebastian Bear-McClard in New York this month.
The Duchess of Cambridge, known for mixing high-end British and international designers and chain store brands, has also worn Zara, including a floral dress while travelling to her sister Pippa Middleton's wedding last year.
Why it could shake up the online fashion market in Australia
Zara's main online competitor will be leading e-store The Iconic, which offers free standard and express delivery nationally on orders that are "$50 and over".
Another of Zara's major rivals, Country Road, offers free delivery on orders over $100, along with same-day delivery in metro areas for a $15 fee.
CR also offers a leading "click and collect" service, that is free of charge.
Returns to Country Road are also free when done in-store and incur a flat fee of $8.95 via post across Australia.
Comparatively, another of Zara's competitors, Witchery, still charges $9.95 for web orders under $200 within Australia.
Witchery offers free shipping to members who spend over $200, and a same-day delivery service for $14.95, according to its website.
One of Zara's other rivals, affordable Swedish retail chain H&M, does not currently offer online shopping to Australia.
Instead, its website directs Aussie customers to create a "wish list".
H&M's site displays the range of items available in its Australian stores, along with local pricing.
- With Alexis Carey and Nadia Salemme