"The customer is at the heart of our unique business model,which includes design, production, distribution and salesthrough our extensive retail network." ~Zara.com
An important part of Supply Chain Management is, of course, the customer! Without the customer, all other components of the supply chain are pointless. Even though this would seem to be common sense, it is important that companies not lose sight of what makes their customers happy.
In the fashion industry, it's all about what customers want and Zara recognizes this. Their goal is to provide a "Customer Experience". By the architecture and design of any of their stores, it is obvious that Zara is no ordinary retail store!
In the fashion industry, design is the first component of the supply chain and its goal is to satisfy consumer demand. Consumers’ desires can be influenced by culture and social latitudes that apply to an era and location. Designers can also try to stimulate consumer demand for new fashions through the art of combining different materials, colors, patterns, and styles. It is also important that they anticipate changing consumer tastes, due to the amount of time it takes to bring a garment to the market. Retail and online stores provide the forum to distribute the company's product to its customers.
Zara is a perfect example of a company that has excelled at providing the ultimate customer experience within the fashion industry:
More than 80% of Inditex's (Zara's parent company) training budget is spent on store personnel and providing customer services. Their goal is to encourage freedom and a comfortable shopping experience for their customers. One way that Zara accomplishes this is by taking an active role in customers' shopping experience only when the customer requests this.
While much of the fashion industry tries to anticipate consumer tastes, Zara has taken a different approach--their goal is to respond quickly to new fashion trends rather than to predict it and, thanks to the efficiency of their supply chain, this has worked well for them! And because they are able to respond so quickly, they are able to deliver new fashions to their stores twice a week. As a result, customers visit their stores more frequently.