Tomorrow, Zara mannequins are coming to life. The fast fashion destination is giving its display windows an AR makeover, enabling passersby to simply point their smartphones at empty display windows to make virtual models appear, move, and converse on their screens. If they like what they see, they can shop items directly from their mobile phones. A latecomer to e-commerce, Zara’s latest move may be what it needs to rise through the digital ranks.

Since entering the e-commerce world, Zara has tailored its digital strategy to complement its fast-moving inventory. The brand boasts outsized search visibility on trend-based terms, strong social media accounts that double as digital catalogues, and site features that create a sense of urgency. While most retailers see lower open rates from sharing too much promotional content, Zara adopted the tactic and managed to raise its open rate by 6% as a result. Weaving AR into its digital portfolio could put the brand ahead of rival H&M.

Fast fashion brands like Zara are leading the way with innovative digital initiatives such as adaptive guided selling tools and purchase analytics driven by product microchipping, while most retailers are still struggling to adapt. Year over year, fast fashion players have seen an average 25-point increase in their Digital IQ Index: Specialty Retail rankings. But with rival H&M currently eight spots ahead of Zara and boasting its own potential plans to invest in experiential technology, Zara still has a ways to go before it can snag its ticket to the top.

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