Zara's Winning Marketing Strategy
Zara - probably one of the most successful fashion retailers worldwide. The brands business strategy seems to be solid, with them succeeding in so many key areas they seem to be performing extremely well in a notoriously competitive industry. So what are Zara’s key strengths that appear to be keeping them at the very top of their game?
In particular, my research seems to suggest that a significant factor, if not the main factor of their strategy that sets them above a lot of the rest is Zara's core focus on its customers that have been ingrained in the brand from the start. This has provided them with an unbelievable ability to deliver fast-fashion in the quality, quantity and at the locations that it's customers expect, something that a lot of retailers in this market are unable to keep up with.
Zara has a deep understanding of the entire value proposition it exchanges with the customers. Its fast-fashion deliverable is available in the quantity, format and time in which the customer needs the product. That translates into great value.
The New 4 E's of Marketing Strategy
The traditional 4P marketing mix was first suggested in the 1960's so the movement to a more customer-centric concept is key for any business hoping to compete in today's competitive markets. Zara has fully evolved with the times and has submerged this thinking into the seams of the business.
In the journey to a more customer focussed model, Product has become Experience, Price is now Exchange, Promotion is now Evangelism and Place well this is now Every Place. Understanding more than just the basics about your customers is no longer going to cut it and with product life cycles being shorter than ever before you have to begin looking at your output as a whole experience not just your catalogue of products. Do you understand how your customers shop? What is it that pushes them from looking to actually checking out? What do they do after they have made their purchase?
Shelley E. Kohan and Pam Danziger released a truly intriguing report last year analysing the differences between Zara and H&M's strategies and explained why Zara was excelling on the market and why H&M's were growing at half their pace.
'[Zara], understands that customers want to experience shopping, not just buy products. Zara is an excellent purveyor of product but also capitalizes on the store experience by continuously offering reasons for customers to visit the stores and catch the hottest trends at affordable prices. Zara has created a loyal customer whose visit frequency is about six times per year, as compared to other retailers in the contemporary market of two-three times per year.' They explained.
Data data data.
Data is and will always, in my opinion, is key, to everything you do and how you do it. Businesses so often invest in tools, people and processes of collecting data but somehow appear to massively underutilise it. Data is your absolute best friend this is your first-hand ear to the ground on your customers and your market. The Kohan and Danziger report notes, 'Zara has a highly evolved data infrastructure that allows for super-efficient analysis of what’s selling and being said on social media platforms. This data is used to improve various aspects of the business from product offerings to service enhancements. The two-way communication between the customer and Zara allows for continual improvement of product and services.'
Zara connects with its customers at every opportunity, aligning themselves as close to them as possible. This strategy executed effectively makes decision making and marketing a great deal easier, as you're practically in the minds of your audience.
On the surface, it actually seems like Zara hardly ‘promote'’ themselves, and in the traditional sense of the word …they actually don’t. It has been reported that Zara spends less than 0.3 per cent of sales on advertising. What they understand as a company is that by investing and propelling at the 4 E’s they have inturn created themselves a brand whos customers will ‘promote’. Zara invests in its digital imagery and video output on its website and through its social channels and as a result, their brand name gets over one million searches per month in this country alone. Pioneering the growth of social media as a marketing form and its influencers, the fast-fashion brand was one of the first in its market to really invest digitally at connecting with its online fan base.
‘Zara embraces the luxury brand ethos ‘less is more’, with most of their content displayed through images and videos on their website and social,’
said Senior account executive at W Enterprise, Georgina Ince