Zara: Fast Fashion from Savvy Systems
Both Zara and The Gap are retail online clothing giants in the fashion s industry. Zara, now worldwide, was founded in Spain. The Gap, also now worldwide, is a US Corporation. Both companies made a critical strategic decision on the future growth of their companies, with Zara taking the lead to move their significant marketing online. Gap later followed. Both still make retail sales but are positioned on the Internet. Zara currently has over 1M hits on its website each month. Read this chapter to understand how early the use of IT, particularly data collection and analysis, helps gain a competitive advantage. How did Zara use data to make early decisions about its business operations? How did Zara's use of data compare to Gap's?
- Zara has used technology to dominate the retail fashion industry as measured by sales, profitability, and growth.
- Excess inventory in the retail apparel industry is the kiss of death. Long manufacturing lead times require executives to guess far in advance what customers will want. Guessing wrong can be disastrous, lowering margins through markdowns and write-offs.
- Contract manufacturing can offer firms several advantages, including lower costs and increased profits. But firms have also struggled with the downside of cost-centric contract manufacturing when partners have engaged in sweatshop labor and environmental abuse.