Introduction and e-Business background
ZARA is a Spanish clothing manufacturer founded in 1975. It is a part of Inditex Group that makes it the world’s largest and successful clothing retailer. The company offers its customers with a wide variety of men, women and children clothing. ZARA has over 2,000 stores in different parts of the world and has a policy to invest a certain percentage of their revenue in opening new stores . The store has the most unusual strategy in the market as they do not advertise their products. One of the strategies of ZARA is that they take only one week to manufacture a product and bring it out in stores. It is mainly because the company has all its production units in Europe, which is unlike other fashion brands . The competitors of the clothing brand take time in launching the products in stores as the production units of other brands are in China. The trend of the industry is that on an average it launches new products in six months but it is not the case with ZARA .
E-business is one of the easiest ways of selling products to the customers so that a large number of customers can avail the products even if it difficult for them to reach the stores. ZARA had to develop its online shopping store in order to expand its business . The company had several outlets in Europe but it was not able to capture a big area of the American and Asian market because of limited number of stores in these markets. ZARA stepped late in the online industry because it wanted to create a high demand in the public for its online shop. In 2010, ZARA launched its online shop which was only limited for its customer in 6 countries and within a month the website started catering customers from 5 more countries . The company offers all its products on the online store of the company on the same price and allows its customers to enjoy the sales offer from their website .
Every organization needs to focus on the marketing strategies to attract customers towards their products. ZARA does not focus on a particular type of marketing and uses several platforms to market its product . Social media, email marketing and website marketing are elements that ZARA uses to market its products. As the target audience of the brand is young and middle age customer therefore it is important for the company to gain the attention of these customers by marketing on the platform, which is widely used by their target audience . The company uses social media websites to market their products. It is easier for the company to get the reviews of the customers on social website and make strategies by focusing on the wants of their customers .
The official website of ZARA provides an opportunity for its customers to find exactly the same products which are available at the stores. It is a part of their e- marketing strategy to provide its customers with the same facility as they can provide them at stores. To market their product, the company is also focusing on making applications for smart phones so that its customers are aware of the new products of the company . The new clothing line that appears in the market can be brought into the notice of the public through their mobile application. The customers can even add the products to the cart to purchase them through the ZARA application. Using social media and smart phone applications help the company to reach their target audience easily. These platforms are the best for the company to market their products .
ZARA uses a transaction based in which they build relationship with the customers by providing high quality of service through their online channel . The process on the front end of the model look very simple and it is easier of the customers to use it. All the complications of the model are at the back end and the company takes good care of the back end model so that the customers are satisfied with the applied business model, which assures their convenience .
Figure 1 Front and Back end of the e- business model
ZARA has a nicely developed website for its customers so that the customers of the company can take full advantage of the facility provided to them. Though the company developed its website very late as compared to its competitors in the market but the company by now has a fully operational website all over the world and in different languages as well . The company offers similar products in similar price range to the customer on their website as they think it is useless to provide different offers and can distract the customers. The marketing mix of ZARA website is discussed below .
IT is difficult for the customers to purchase products especially clothes from online store as they cannot feel the fabric. There is a need of interactivity for shopping online which is not possible. ZARA does not require working much on the interactivity because the brand is famous for the quality of their products. The customers of ZARA have trust on the products that will be delivered to them but still the company is focusing on some innovation in their process online store. The company is striving hard to create a virtual character to dress the clothes. By implementing this option on their website, the customers will be able to have their own account which will add to the value of the products of the company .
The prices of the products are not cheaper on online stores. All the options that are available at the shop are also available at the online store at the same rate. The discount sale offers are also available at the online shops. The online shops are a bit risky because of the delivery charges that the customers have to pay. In addition to it, a certain amount of product (worth $ 50 at least) must be brought to have a delivery. The website provides sections of the products that are available so that the customers do not have to look at all the things. The customers can choose a particular item and select the products available at that item .
The place of the products must attract the people. The website of ZARA is not very fancy neither very formal. The colour pattern used in it goes along with the brand. The description of products is very well provided to the customers so that they can have full information about the products. Each product placed on the website has a price with it so that the customer knows the amount of the product. The place that is the website lacks a comment or a query option which can be very helpful for the customers. The products of ZARA are placed well and can be viewed from every corner of the world but still the company lacks behind in providing delivery in all parts of the world .
Promotion is very necessary for everything. ZARA has lately started online shopping and it needs to create awareness in the people about the online shopping store of ZARA. The company needs to promote itself through social media and emails so that people are aware about the online store of the company .
The e-business model that is used by the company is used by many organizations. It is one of the most successful business models. The B2B e- business model that is used by the organization is a transaction-based model, which helps the organization in building good relationships with its customers. The e- business model allows the company to use a specific online method to make transactions from the supply chain. The same process is used throughout the entire infrastructure.
Online shopping is usually based on this e- business model as it is the simplest form to deal with customers. The back end users are aware of the typical format that needs to be used for every transaction. The entire infrastructure of the organization is based on the same model, which allows the organization to complete its work easily and provide better services to the customers. In addition to it, ZARA has a vertically integrated business model because of which the company is able to design, manufacture and distribute its products with the help of available resources .
The company has not fully developed its mobile commerce facility to facilitate its customers. The mobile application of ZARA is in process and it plans to grab attention of customers towards it. With the help of mobile application of ZARA the company will be able to reach out to its customers easily. The customers of the company can benefit from it as they do not have to go to the stores to look for the new products that the company has launched. Customers will be able to use the mobile application to see and place an order to different products of the company .
The company is serving its customers through mobile commerce as it has a fully developed website which allows its customers to see and select the products they like to purchase. The customer can view the price of all the products of the company and place an order with ease .
Sales and customer service
Sales and customer service is an important part of ZARA. The company is focused towards providing excellent services to its customers before, at the time of and after purchase of the product. The customers are the top priority but it does not mean that the customer have a high bargaining power. The company policy includes provision of excellent services to the customers especially to those who use mobile commerce platform to purchase the products .
After discussing the entire B2B process of ZARA it is observed that the company is working very well and the e- business models chosen by the company are very effective to grab the attention of the customers. The customers of the company are an important part of the company and therefore the company considers it their responsibility to facilitate them and provide excellent quality of products. The company started its e- business functions late as compared to its competitors but it was because of a certain reason as the company wanted to create its need in the market. The action of the company is justified as the revenue of the company has increased a lot after providing e- business services to its customers. The major chunk of the company’s revenue is derived from the purchases made in the European market. The company has all its main production units in Europe, which allows the company to launch new products in the market in a week’s time.
It is recommended that the company must establish it smart phone application as early as possible and add unique features to it. Features like providing notifications of arrival of new products and spotting the closest ZARA outlet to its customers should also be a feature of their smart phone app. The company must also provide delivery is all the parts of the world so that people all over the world can buy their products. The products of the company are not delivered in many countries therefore the company must extend its target area and provide services to maximum number of people.
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