Spanish fashion and accessories retailer Zara has announced it is launching an online shopping option for Australian consumers from March 14, and is rolling out free delivery (as well as click and collect) and free returns.
It’s a move likely to at least rattle the immense market dominance of its online-only Australian competitor, The Iconic, which has grown from strength to strength both here and in New Zealand since launching in 2011 – coincidentally the same year Zara’s first Australian store popped up in Sydney.
After growing from just a tiny operation in Surrey Hills to a team of 400 employees in just five or so years, The Iconic has now become the leading online fashion and sports retailer in both Australia and New Zealand, and is certainly living up to its mantra of defining the future of fashion retail.
Founded on a premise of using world-class technology to give shoppers down under faster and more affordable access to tens of thousands of brands, it now boasts more than ten million visits per month, launches more than 200 products daily, and offers unprecedented delivery speed (Amazon’s not been able to match it).
While many other players in women’s fashion have been struggling over the past few years (think overseas competitors like Topshop, Gap and Forever 21 – all of whom have really struggled to navigate the unique Australian marketplace), others like Zara, as well as The Iconic and Cue which are both Australian players, have been going from strength to strength.
Earlier this year on the back of a bumper Christmas season, Cue announced it was launching three-hour, door-to-door delivery that would have a wider reach than The Iconic’s three-hour turnaround, with just a handful of regional areas excluded.
The Iconic’s success can really be attributed to it landing on the perfect combination of almost everything the modern e-consumer wants:
- Speed (order fulfilment and delivery, stock turnover, responsiveness, movement on fashion and consumer trends – the list goes on)
- Clever curation – a well-edited, well-organised offering of stock presented beautifully, and with practical filters to make it easy to find what you want, even among such a high quantity of items
- Market-leading innovation and investment in tech
- Exceptional Omni-channel approach to enhancing the consumer experience
While these success stories are rolling out these service offerings on a massive, national scale, there are still plenty of take-outs for the rest of the industry – right down to the smallest, privately-owned and operated, stand-alone store in one of the country’s many thriving regional centres.
All of these businesses are unwaveringly consumer-centric, and never lose sight of their consumers’ needs.
In an environment where consumers can and will get anything and everything they want, any time of the day or night they want, they will, and from wherever is offering it in a way that best suits their needs.
So aim for the best-quality data analytics tools you can get your hands on, shop your own services to see what your customer journey is really like (and shop your competitor’s journey as well!), and invest as much as you can into upping your own speed and fulfilment services over the coming year.
The team here at the National Retail Association is always on hand to help guide you on these and a whole range of other issues – whether it’s analytics, speed and fulfilment, through to your HR obligations and legal and compliance issues.
We also love to hear from you on the ways you’re improving your business, so please don’t hesitate to get in touch via 1800 RETAIL (738 245) [email protected].
Have a great week.
Dominique Lamb, CEO.