Innovation in customer services

Customer services are central to our business model. Listening to customer fashion requests and desires in store and fulfilling them as soon as we can calls for an ongoing commitment to innovation. In 2015, this principle guided the consolidation of the RFID system or the self checkout tills and the interactive fitting room projects.

Bershka staff at the store in Calle Colón, Valencia.

From the birth of Zara to the more than 7,000 stores on five continents that we have today, Inditex’s trajectory has passed through various stages. We have, however, stayed true to our original goal, which is to listen carefully to customers’ needs and to offer them the fashion they want.

That is why commitment to our customers is at the centre of our business model. This is a sustainable model that rests on four pillars: the online and physical stores, where customers’ demands and desires are analysed daily; the design teams, who renew the collection based on this information; the supply chain, which make short production runs; and logistics, which guarantee that there are new products in store twice a week.

In recent years, newest technology and, above all, social networking have empowered consumers through multiple tools that allow them to choose how and where they communicate with companies. And customers expect rapid, transparent and, most importantly, human responses from these companies. Faced with new challenges in customer service, at Inditex we remain committed to specialization through our brands’ websites and their social media profiles.

Beyond the continual evolution and strengthening of the dialogue with our customers through various channels, our Group continues to develop mechanisms and projects that allow us to improve quality of service and the shopping experience, across the company’s premises and platforms.

Radiofrequency identification technology (RFID), which has been applied in Zara during the past years to stock management, has increased its implementation in more of the brand’s stores and markets. Self-checkouts and interactive fitting rooms have also been introduced and developed during this period. All of them are new systems tailored to our stores, with the aim to improve the service offered to our customers and make their shopping experience richer.

Additionally, to improve this dialogue with customers, Inditex runs ongoing training programmes for its store employees, focusing on customer service. During these programmes, people are named within each team to be responsible for evaluating and improving customer relations.

We do not concentrate solely on themes linked to fashion or the collections. Although trends and products form the majority of customer requests and queries, they also make their social and community concerns, which define them as citizens, known to Inditex. This is demonstrated by the growing number of inquiries made about our supply chain, our suppliers, our Code of Conduct and the environment, among other issues. An area where team work is key in order to offer fast, coordinated, global, transparent responses and to meet our customers’ high expectations.

Information security and privacy

Protection of our customers’ personal data and information security are an absolute priority for Inditex. The Group’s Information Security Committee ensures that all of our divisions are aware of the importance of information security and privacy, which are an inherent principle of our management. By default, privacy is incorporated into all our business processes and tools involving personal data, and we adopt the necessary measures from the outset and throughout the data lifecycle.

Our Information Security department uses the latest technology and security solutions. These include our Technology Centre, located at the Group’s headquarters in Arteixo in A Coruña, Spain, which also provides a laboratory for new technology initiatives, and is the platform that offers us a maximum security guarantee in all processes.

This centre is designed to mitigate physical and geological risks, as well as providing dual equipment and cable systems that guarantee the continuous operation of all our systems. Thanks to its TIER IV and LEED Platinum certification, Inditex’s Technology Centre is the only data processing centre in the world that combines maximum certification in infrastructure reliability and environmental sustainability.

Technology applied to customer services: Self checkout tills and interactive fitting rooms

Driven by excellence in customer service in our stores, we have developed specific projects in order to improve the shopping experience. With this aim, we have started to test and implement self checkout machines and interactive fitting rooms at Zara stores.

Self checkout units complement the purchasing options in order to speed up the paying process at stores, since customers can independently complete the payment for their selected items without approaching the till point. Located next to the fitting rooms, the device scans the pieces that the customer is about to purchase. Those pieces will be displayed on the screen while waiting for the customer to confirm, scan additional garments or correct possible mistakes and subsequently proceed with payment.

Alarms are removed from the items after their payment. Garments are accurately identified with the help of the RFID technology and put into bags. This system has been tested and implemented during 2015 at Zara stores in Marineda Shopping Centre (A Coruña, Spain) and Mercado de San Martín (San Sebastian, Spain). 2016 foresees the implementation of approximately 50 self checkouts throughout several stores of the brand.

Interactive fitting rooms began their trial stage in 2015 at the Zara store located in Mercado de San Martín shopping centre. This system was implemented to cut customers waiting time to be handed other sizes, colours and models while trying on some clothes, avoiding their need to leave the fitting rooms to search for the items themselves.

This service is available through tablet devices, located inside each of the fitting cabins. They allow customers to directly communicate with the counter placed at the entry of the fitting area. With this system, customers can also request the advice of store staff as personal shoppers. Information on the garment, pictures and tips, included in the “Match with” option, are taken from

RFID Technology

One of the results of Inditex's commitment to innovation, which has seen more than 1,000 million euros invested in technology over the last four years, is Radio Frequency Identification technology (RFID), which Zara has developed in recent years with the aim of responding to customer needs in store.

RFID allows garments to be individually identified, from logistic platforms through to their sale. This technology represents a huge step up in technology that allows the entire workflow to be redesigned in stores where it is implemented, leading in turn to an improved level of customer service.

Thanks to this system, tracking products is much quicker and more precise: when a customer looks for a specific product, the staff can check its availability in real time in that store, a nearby establishment or on, facilitating the shopping process. Even payment processes benefit from this process, since RFID technology is integrated into our tills.

During 2015, RFID technology was introduced at 1,542 stores and 63 different markets with a Zara presence. Its introduction was completed in 47 markets. By the end of 2016, we expect RFID to be operational in all Zara stores worldwide.

The RFID process begins by coding each garment when it is alarmed in the logistics centres, which allows unitary control of the merchandise. At this stage of the process, the option to have up-to-date information at any point during the distribution process becomes available.

When the merchandise arrives in store, RFID also provides information about which garments need to be replaced and where they are located, which reduces the time needed for this task by half. This makes inventories and stock takes more efficient and 80% faster, dramatically reducing losses. All this allows teams to dedicate more time to better quality customer service.

Number of messages and calls received by the Inditex Group’s customer services team in 2015

Forms (*) Emails sales in store Emails online sales Calls sales in store Calls online sales
Zara (**) 2,920 42,543 1,509,332 119,475 2,724,576
Pull&Bear 177 4,071 119,067 384 156,941
Massimo Dutti 243 7,441 135,803 8,387 211,478
Bershka 453 5,222 101,046 8,339 180,093
Stradivarius 378 6,066 104,672 5,107 109,451
Oysho (***) 352 n.a. 43,867 n.a. 45,586
Zara Home (***) 100 n.a. 151,905 n.a. 188,263
Uterqüe 51 2,830 17,650 2,637 27,511

(*) Complaint forms only for Spain
(**) Zara reports an additional total of 1,999,829 online chats with customers and 86,641 interactions on social networks
(***) Oysho and Zara Home combine customer services data for online and physical sales
n. a.: no applicable

Presence of Inditex Group’s brands on social networks in 2015

Zara Pull&Bear Massimo Dutti Bershka Stradivarius Oysho Zara Home Uterqüe GROUP TOTAL
Facebook 23,736,474 4,665,369 1,742,411 8,586,012 3,472,438 1,396,748 1,435,875 165,950 45,201,277
Facebook (Care) 125,792 n.a. n.a. n.a. n.a. n.a. n.a. n.a. 125,792
Twitter 1,084,566 296,423 58,762 366,451 186,838 87,104 74,761 14,770 2,169,675
Twitter (Care) 7,441 n.a. n.a. n.a. n.a. n.a. n.a. n.a. 7,441
Pinterest 9,245,835 1,340,023 369,806 2,260,982 1,708,409 567,891 520,698 88,483 16,102,127
Instagram 11,500,000 1,700,000 518,000 2,700,000 2,000,000 688,000 737,000 122,000 19,965,000
Weibo (China) 650,242 33,355 25,098 30,180 26,440 15,781 n.a. n.a. 781,096
Vk (Russia) 228,480 37,722 11,427 74,488 25,718 10,230 4,854 n.a. 392,919
Youtube 24,417 14,242 5,358 16,261 4,137 2,473 n.a. n.a. 66,888