Marketing strategy (customer co-creation)
Zara’s unrelenting focus on bridging the gap between fashion and mass market is perhaps the fundamental element to the company’s success within it’s short history. The first Zara store opened in 1974 north west of spain in the port city of A Coruna. The new company had a clear strategy to build Zara’s business model upon - “shrink the gap between runway fashion and the customer, bringing customers closer than ever to the products & design trends they want, all at an affordable price”. 50 years later that remains the company's stated mission.
Zara’s management are rapid in their efforts to fulfill customer needs, bringing designs from global fashion shows and runways to high streets quicker than their competition. Their ability to deliver fast fashion has garnered industry myths. Which I once read of the most fascinating story on Zara's customer co-creation strategy. It goes as so…
In 2015, a lady named Miko walked into a Zara store in Tokyo and asked the store assistant for a pink scarf, but the store did not have any pink scarves. The same happened almost simultaneously for Michelle in Toronto, Elaine in San Francisco, and Giselle in Frankfurt, who all walked into Zara stores and asked for pink scarves. They all left the stores without any scarves – an experience many other Zara fans encountered globally in different Zara stores over the next few days.
7 days later, more than 2,000 Zara stores globally started selling pink scarves. 500,000 pink scarves were dispatched – to be exact. They sold out in 3 days. How did such lightning fast stocking of pink scarves happen?
This is perhaps a industry rumour or myth stirred up by some marketer obsessing on how efficiently Zara machine is tuned. However, The communication infrastructure between regional management and floor staff needed to achieve such level of efficiency is innovative to say the least and must be carefully considered as a strategic objective for any brand competing in today’s highly demanding, fast fashion retail environment. Customer co-creation is the holy grail of modern business.