In the face of competitors Uniqlo relying on technology to achieve breakthroughs, Inditex Group also set up an innovation department internally, and hired talents from start-up companies to participate in the development of new technologies. It is reported that the group's newly established innovation department is led by former data engineer Alejandro Ferrer and founder founder David Alayon. The department aims to further shorten the product cycle by introducing high-tech technology to improve the Group's inventory management approach.
The new division is also working with California-based robotics company Fetch Robotics to plan to use robots to replace labor in inventory management. Another innovation is to work with chip maker Intel to develop machines that can quickly detect the number of clothes in the box. Felipe Caro, a professor at the UCLA Anderson School of Management, believes that Zara must achieve local production without further shortcuts if it wants to further shorten lead times.
In addition to technical efforts, Inditex Group is also adjusting its own operating model, will adopt a central inventory model to centrally manage the distribution of products for each brand, and the number of new products delivered to all stores worldwide will be increased twice a week. The official website will be updated on the same day or the next day.
In the store, Inditex Group has also begun to accelerate the deployment of new retail through technology, and hired technology co-founder Carto's co-founder Sergio Alvarez to participate in the development of "smart operation" systems that connect physical stores and online businesses, such as tracking with sonic technology. The flow of passengers in stores, virtual assistants that provide services to consumers, etc. Through this intelligent operation device, consumers can download the app before reaching the offline store and switch to the in-store mode, so they can quickly find the desired product and obtain relevant information, and encourage consumers to try on the online order.
At the same time, Zara has fully introduced RFID technology, and the group's Massimo Dutti and Uterqüe have gradually introduced this advanced technology. RFID refers to a radio frequency identification-based electronic label system, through which the retailer can easily trace the full chain dynamics of goods from the factory to the retail store, making the operation more efficient.
Pablo Isla said that after the launch of RFID technology, 60% of Zara online orders are currently returned to online stores. It is reported that the Inditex Group's goal is to fully penetrate RFID technology into its other brands in 2018, and plans to fully promote it in 2020.
For other brands, Inditex Group plans to continue to add flagship stores in major global markets and renovate existing stores with new retail technology. Pablo Isla also stressed that more accurate production of products and reduced waste have become a way to promote the sustainable development of the Inditex Group. The Inditex Group has merged Zara and Zara Home to create synergies and increase profitability.
In addition, the Inditex Group has also begun to increase its investment in social media platforms such as Instagram. The total number of fans of its 8 brands on social media has increased by 22 million to 143 million compared with the previous year. The most active account is often with KOL. The collaborating Stradivarius, Pull & Bear and Bershka also collaborated with stars such as Miley Cyrus.
It is noteworthy that Inditex Group founder Amancio Ortega is about to become Amazon's landlord, and its transaction of 655 million euros to acquire some of Amazon's Seattle headquarters is about to be completed. This transaction is also the largest real estate transaction in Seattle since 2015. In addition, he has non-residential real estate investments such as joint offices in central locations in major cities in Spain, the United Kingdom, France, the United States and Asia. According to estimates by relevant agencies, the total value of Amancio Ortega's real estate portfolio in 2017 is approximately 8.759 billion euros.
Some analysts speculate that in order to seek new growth drivers, the Inditex Group may launch a new acquisition. "According to the current size of the Inditex Group, any acquisition will be profitable in the short term because it is prone to synergies." Inditex The group's consultants revealed that the management of the group was always too cautious when there was a potential acquisition target, which prevented the parties from reaching an agreement.
After experiencing pure apparel retailers, listed companies, and the fast-paced benchmarks around the world, Zara, 44, stood at the crossroads.