Zara is a Spanish apparel retailer headquartered in the Municipality of Arteixo, Spain. Inditex, one of the largest distribution groups worldwide, owns the company (“ZARA United Kingdom”, n.d.). Zara has a significant footprint in the fast fashion industry, selling clothes based on market trends. Besides fast fashion, Zara also specializes in selling accessories, beauty products, and perfumes. The company has a unique business model that makes it one of the most successful fast-fashion retailers and an ideal brand for this marketing report. Therefore, this paper will discuss why Zara is my favorite brand and its five dimensions of service quality, including an evaluation of the most critical dimensions. The article will also create Zara’s service blueprint, discuss its strategic pricing approach and assess its adequacy.
Why Zara is My Favorite Brand
One factor that makes Zara my favorite clothing brand is its unique business model and responsiveness to fast fashion. Chu (2019) notes that, unlike other brands that release the same apparel collections in one year, Zara designs, produces, distributes, and sells its cloth collection in only four weeks or less. Typically, it takes Zara at least two weeks to design and push a new clothing design in its stores. This information implies that the company can have up to 12,000 new styles in its stores each year. From a consumer’s perspective, this business model is fascinating because one can always find a new set of designs each week.
Besides its quick adaptability to new styles, Zara’s predictable and unique replenishment schedule also makes it my favorite apparel brand. Often, most brands in the apparel industry replenish their stores depending on shelves’ stock levels. Consumers purchasing from such brands encounter challenges in determining when the firm is likely to bring in new stocks. Contrary, Zara has a constant replenishment schedule, making it easy for consumers to predict when to expect the new product. This replenishment strategy benefits consumers because they can quickly determine when to visit the store for fresh stock and new designs.
The other reason why Zara is my favorite brand is because of its differentiated production process. Typically, the majority of the clothing brands produce and sell large volumes of apparel in their stores. On the one hand, this strategy may be advantageous because it promotes economies of scale, whereby the entities save more by producing the clothes in bulk. Contrary, Zara produces few quantities of every design and capitalizes on creating more fashion designs. Although such a strategy may be costly to the firm, it has significant benefits because one can always expect something new in Zara stores. Besides, Zara’s production strategy creates a fascinating consumer experience and intrigues consumers to explore and navigate its stores more quickly and efficiently to grab themselves the existing products before they ran out of stock (Danziger, 2018). This unbeatable shopping experience in the stores adds to my brand’s admiration.
Furthermore, Zara’s value-based pricing model also makes it one of the most attractive clothing brands. Arguably, for a firm that produces its items in small quantities and introduces new designs after every two weeks, it would be expected that the pricing would be relatively high to compensate for the lost economies of scale. However, Zara maintains a value-based pricing strategy that makes its products more competitive and affordable to most shoppers. Zara’s modest investment in advertisement and control over its supply chain probably allows the organization to save on its operational costs, thus charging less for its commodities.
The 5 Dimensions of Service Quality
The five dimensions of service quality is a framework that consumers can use to assess a service’s quality. Pakurar et al. (2019) note that service quality is determined by whether a service meets consumers’ expectations and provides the desired level of satisfaction. The five dimensions of service quality are reliability, responsiveness, assurance, empathy, and tangibles.
Reliability is often ranked as the topmost dimension of assessing a service’s quality. Pakurar et al. (2019) describe reliability as the extent to which an organization strives to fulfill its promises to consumers and pay attention to the results. The assurance dimension describes the employees’ attitude and behavior and their ability to offer friendly, confidential, courteous, and competent services (Pakurar et al., 2019). On the other hand, responsiveness describes employees’ willingness to inform consumers when things will be done, offering undivided attention and responding to client’s requests. Empathy describes the degree to which a firm makes consumers feel prioritized in service provision in the form of caring, paying personal attention to their needs, and making them feel special (Pakurar et al., 2019). On the other hand, tangibles refer to the physical facilities consumers can use to assess quality, such as a firm’s machine (Pakurar et al., 2019). In essence, the five quality dimensions are measurable attributes that consumers can use to rank a firm objectively using the different and individual components.
In Zara’s context, the five quality dimensions can be evaluated based on how the firm delivers its services and products. For example, when using the SERVQUAL tool, it is evident that Zara satisfies the reliability dimension. Most notably, this fast fashion company keeps its consumers informed about new arrivals, which occur each week (Eggertsen, 2017). Besides, Zara is also reliable because it provides its services at the promised time. Zara strives to respond to people’s needs through the best experience. Since its institutionalization, the company has managed to keep this promise by making short production runs and investing in state-of-the-art logistics to allow refreshments of their stores with new styles twice a week (Eggertsen, 2017). In essence, Zara’s ability to deliver its services and products on a timely basis, and as promised, makes it a reliable brand.
Besides reliability, Zara is also responsive in its product and service delivery. For example, Chu (2019) notes that the brand designs produces, distributes, and sells its collection in four weeks as opposed to its competitors, who take several months. The author notes that the brand responds quickly to fashion trends and the environment in a few weeks compared to its counterparts (Chu, 2019). Zara’s agility in bringing new designs into the fashion industry allows consumers to enjoy fresh designs before going out of fashion. Zara’s responsiveness is also evidenced by its employees’ ability to respond to customer’s requests and offer prompt services. For example, literature shows that Zara’s employees are provided development opportunities that enable them to be sensitive to consumer needs and wants (Roll, 2020). Eggertsen (2017) also adds that the company’s website has an online chat feature that allows consumers to talk with real people and raise concerns about the brand. Zara’s promptness and agility in introducing new designs, its employees’ ability to respond to consumers’ needs promptly, and commitment to integrate an online chat feature to address consumer concerns make the brand responsive.
Besides reliability and responsiveness, Zara also meets the assurance quality dimension. The brand’s international reputation instills confidence in consumers who transact through its website. Besides, the company’s brick-and-mortar stores allow consumers to experience the brand’s products and services’ tangibility. In essence, Zara’s traditional stores and global reputation are a source of assurance for its domestic and international consumers.
The other essential service quality dimension that Zara satisfies is empathy. As discussed, the empathy dimension focuses on a firm’s ability to feel the consumers’ “heartbeat” (Ann et al., 2019). Put differently; this dimension describes a firm’s capacity to understand consumers’ feelings and respond appropriately. In this context, Zara exhibits empathy by understanding the fast-fashion industry, adapting to consumers’ needs, and investing time to know its clients. For example, industry reports show that Zara uses a reverse strategy, a top-down approach, whereby it collects information about consumers’ tastes and preferences from the source. This strategy mainly involves sending scouts to the streets and in malls within cities to observe the fashion trends and urging the store managers to note consumers’ tastes and send the information back to the company’s headquarters for operationalization (Eggertsen, 2017). The individualized attention that Zara offers to consumers also helps the company to tailor its clothing based on regional preferences. Fundamentally, Zara’s individualized attention to its consumers and managers’ attentiveness to consumers’ interest in taste and preferences exemplifies its empathy.
Apart from reliability, responsiveness, assurance, and empathy, Zara also satisfies the tangible dimension. For example, besides its website, the firm has several stores distributed across the globe. A Statista report shows that as of 2020, Zara operated 345 Zara stores and 65 Zara Home stores throughout America (Sabanoglu, 2019). Zara stores have modern aesthetics and equipment such as smart mirrors that allow consumers to view other available items in the stock as they fit in the chosen apparel. The company’s stores are also visually appealing, with the signature black and white color theme (Hanbury, 2018). Apart from the stores, the company also owns several warehouses that are located near the outlets, making it easy to replenish the store shelves. Therefore, Zara’s physical stores and warehouses are among its key tangibles that prove its authenticity.
Of all Zara’s dimensions of service quality, reliability is the most important for its success because it is among the critical elements that consumers evaluate when selecting a brand. Arguably, every consumer wants a brand that delivers its promises and keeps them updated about the available services. Therefore, for Zara to maintain its success, it must remain reliable in product and service delivery.
Responsiveness is also the second most crucial quality dimension that the organization must uphold to remain successful and competitive. Arguably, consumers’ taste and preferences in the fast-fashion industry keeps changing with market trends. For this reason, consumers are always watching out for brands that can keep pace with the trends and introduce new and affordable designs in the market. Therefore, Zara must remain highly responsive to the changing trends in the fast-fashion industry and its consumers’ needs and wants.
Besides reliability and responsiveness, assurance is also a vital service quality dimension in Zara. This dimension is especially critical because the organization mainly depends on word-of-mouth for advertising. Arguably, consumers who receive the best treatment in Zara stores are likely to share their experience with others, thus promoting its name and reputation. Therefore, Zara should continue promoting assurance in its stores by training its employees to be courteous.
Examples of the Five Dimensions of Service Quality in Zara
|Zara (consumer)||Keeps its consumers informed about new arrivals
Provides its services at the promised time
|The brand responds quickly to fashion trends and the environment in a few weeks compared to its counterparts.
Company’s website has an online chat feature that allows consumers to talk with real people and raise any concerns regarding the brand
|International reputation instills confidence in consumers||Understanding the fast-fashion industry, adapting to consumers’ needs, and investing time to know its clients||The firm has several stores distributed across the globe
Zara stores have modern aesthetics and equipment such as smart mirrors
Service Blueprint for Zara
A service blueprint is a map that outlines the processes that a company undertakes to provide services to the final consumer. This service blueprint shows buyers’ processes in purchasing commodities from Zara stores, the firm’s physical evidence, and the support processes. In this case, the company’s physical evidence includes the physical outlets, the store shelves, fitting rooms, and the cashier desks. When consumers visit Zara stores, they select clothes from the stores’ shelves and proceed to the fitting rooms. Store attendants are among the available support at this purchasing stage, whose part of the task is to take other similar items that the buyer may want to try out before making a purchase. After fitting the clothes, buyers proceed to the cashier desk, where a POS device is used to scan the prices and facilitate the purchase completion.
Zara’s Strategic Pricing Approach
Zara mainly uses value-based pricing as its strategic pricing approach. As the literature suggests, this pricing approach is based on the perception of the benefits that a product or service offers to consumers and how the benefits are perceived and weighted by buyers based on the amount of money they pay (De Toni et al., 2017). In this case, Zara prices its commodities depending on the perceived value they provide to consumers. Among the value that the organization considers include the material quality, designs, and the promptness of introducing the design in the market.
In essence, Zara’s value-based pricing is ideal because it helps the organization to extend its consumer-centric approach of product and service provision. Notably, the technique allows the entity to command prices by focusing on the consumer’s perception of the value created. Besides, value-pricing helps Zara increase the brand’s value by pricing its products based on the perceived value they offer consumers. Nevertheless, the organization’s pricing approach may not be adequate because it fails to consider production costs, affecting its profitability. Arguably, the value and price that the brand sets on its products may contribute to low-profit margins because limited attention is directed to the total costs of producing, transporting, and introducing the new designs in the market.
Overall, Zara remains one of my favorite brands because of numerous reasons. These reasons include its unique replenishment schedule, making it easy to determine when to visit its stores, responsive production process that pushes new designs into the market in few weeks, and its value-based pricing model. Zara also meets the five dimensions of service quality; reliability, responsiveness, assurance, empathy, and tangibles. Some of the examples that substantiate the quality dimensions include keeping its consumers informed about new arrivals, providing its services at the promised time, responding quickly to fashion trends and the environment in a few weeks compared to counterparts, and maintaining a company’s website with an online chat feature that allows consumers to talk with real people and raise any concerns regarding the brand. The paper also shows that of all the five quality dimensions, reliability, responsiveness, and assurance are the most important to the company’s success and competitiveness in the fast-fashion industry.