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?

Don't Guess, Gather Data


Rather than create trends by pushing new lines via catwalk fashion shows, Zara designs follow evidence of customer demand. Data on what sells and what customers want to see goes directly to "The Cube" outside La Coruña, where teams of some three hundred designers crank out an astonishing thirty thousand items a year versus two to four thousand items offered up at big chains like H&M (the world's third largest fashion retailer) and Gap. While H&M has offered lines by star designers like Stella McCartney and Karl Lagerfeld, as well as celebrity collaborations with Madonna and Kylie Minogue, the Zara design staff consists mostly of young, hungry Project Runway types fresh from design school. There are no prima donnas in "The Cube". Team members must be humble enough to accept feedback from colleagues and share credit for winning ideas. Individual bonuses are tied to the success of the team, and teams are regularly rotated to cross-pollinate experience and encourage innovation.