How an Global Fashion Brand Became a Localization Leader
By utilizing a one-of-a-kind company model together with a comprehensive localization plan, Zara is one of the most well-known global brands for attractive, cost-saving clothing.
Fashion is a worldwide industry. Trends can cross boundaries from New York to Paris to Seoul, and luxury global fashion labels have been long the forerunners of any international fashion movement.
However, the rise of fast fashion culture (defined as low-cost, quickly-produced clothing that fulfills worldwide demand for the newest styles) has made keeping up with new trends easier and more accessible than ever before for style-conscious buyers.
GTE Localize will explore Zara’s localization strategy and examine how they become a localization leader in this blog.
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Inditex’s enormous effect
Inditex has had the greatest impact on the fast-fashion industry, more than any other clothing manufacturer.
Zara, the company’s flagship brand, is already a household name, but other worldwide popular brands include Massimo Dutti, Bershka, Oysho, Pull&Bear, Stradivarius, and Uterque are also growing fast.
However, as we’ve seen in recent years, there’s never been a more challenging time to be on the main road. Consider the Arcadia group. The company, famous for many popular brands including Topshop, Miss Selfridge, and Debenhams and seen as a model of brand success, failed with £750 million in debts in November 2020.
So, how can Zara succeed where so many others have failed? It is possible that their unique business model and flawless localization plan are the secrets.
The supply chain localization model used by Zara
How has Zara become a worldwide fashion brand if it isn’t investing in localizing its branding and advertising for various regions?
The specific interaction between store managers and the design team may be the answer. Zara’s Spanish design team collaborates closely with each store manager to localize each location’s products.
Zara’s Model in summary
The following is a summary of Zara’s model for the localization strategy:
- The design team at Zara keeps track of fashion trends and shop sales, then produces 1,000 designs per month based on this.
- These designs are shipped all over the world to be manufactured.
- The final designs are returned to Spain.
- Local store directors in each country inform Zara’s headquarters in Spain on what the outlet needs and how much it costs.
- Based on local needs and trends, the design team then flies or trucks consignments to each of Zara’s 1,608 stores. Consignments arrive twice a week at a store.
Zara has been able to expand from Spain to 77 markets across the world, including mainland China, where it opened 44 stores in 2006 and continues to expand.
Is Zara’s success rely on online localization?
Zara ensures that its online customers may browse and learn about its products in their native language in addition to localizing its supply chain.
Zara’s usage of written product reviews on its websites according to InternetRetailing is particularly notable for its accessibility and thoroughness.
Every EU country now has its own Zara website, which is available in more than 20 EEA languages. For example, shoppers in Switzerland can browse in one of four languages spoken there.
A localization lesson learned
On the other hand, Zara’s localization strategy hasn’t always worked out.
Zara’s German online shop listed “dreifarbige Sklaven Sandalen” (a direct translation from the Spanish “sandalias de esclava,” which translates to “three-colored slave sandals” in English) as a newest sandal design in 2015.
For better or worse, the Spanish word “esclava” (“slave”) is often used in regard to sandals, relating to a certain kind of bracelet design.
Many German buyers were naturally offended by the direct translation of “sandalias de esclava” into German (“dreifarbige Sklaven Sandalen”), as the German word “Sklaven” has extremely negative overtones compared to its Spanish equivalent.
Zara was eventually pushed to make a public apology for the translation error in a media release.
So, after this enormous blunder did Zara learn its lesson?
The revenue speaks for itself
Inditex’s first-quarter sales and profitability increased this year as a result of Zara‘s global development, which included the launch of websites in Brazil and eight other countries, including Morocco and Saudi Arabia. As a result, net profit increased by 10% to €734 million (£653 million).
Inditex’s strategic focus on localizing the Zara shopping experience, both online and offline, has won them a place among the world’s most successful fashion firms.
Despite previous mistakes, it is obvious that Zara continues to thrive in international marketplaces, and its popularity as a truly global fashion brand shows no signs of decreasing. The localization strategy contributes greatly to the revenue of Zara.
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To have a look at how you might succeed in the global market, let’s contact us for a free quote today!