As one of the most popular retailers on the high street, Zara can be a logistical nightmare—especially if you brave it at lunchtime on payday… Queues snake round the shop, newer pieces get snapped up in minutes, and anything in your size has that strange way of just not being there at all. Moments like this often induce insurmountable levels of fashion frustration, but what you really need is some expert advice. So we’ve called it in from an ex-Zara employee with the insider know-how to find out how to get the very best out of a shopping spree at any given moment. Keep reading to see their top tips.
Marianne Smyth wears a cardigan from Zara.
1. Get Algorithm-Smart
"What makes Zara so smart is they have embraced algorithms a long time ago. They know what sells well every season, so there will always be reproductions and variations of a best-selling product. If you missed out on that pinafore dress, within a few weeks their designers will produce a new similar dress to quench that thirst. Also, you know something’s a best-seller when throughout the collection there will be different variations of the same item. Every store manager knows what is selling the most on their floor that week. The algorithms make sure that they are keeping the store stocked in that style. It’s up to the managers to inform their sales team to exhibit them more prominently, and show them to customers."
2. Ask Advice From the Right People
"Most people who work in retail are either doing it to pay the bills or because they love clothes. Most people who work in Zara, love Zara. So they will appreciate style and can help you find an outfit. The most creative ones are the store coordinators. Look for people wearing their own clothes and looking at walls trying to figure out how they can place the clothes in order to make them aesthetically pleasing and convey the seasonal message. They will know all the trends and all the items and are almost always great stylists."
3. Don't Wait Around to Buy it
"Customers will always ask: will you be getting more stuff like this? Honestly the staff will have no idea what the rest of the season will look like. Yes, there are key trends, but since Zara design, create and produce items and have them distributed within just a few weeks, there is no way you can predict what’s coming in. Managers will only know what’s coming in when they do the order for next week's stock. So if you like it, buy it. Items have a short life span in Zara and if you miss out on it, you won’t likely see it again. Now is the time to buy your winter basics, like turtlenecks, knits and trousers; the winter collection officially ends in December, after which they put everything on sale and start to bring springtime pieces."
Anna Borisovna wears an outfit entirely from Zara.
4. Don't Forget the Stock Room
"Always ask for something you don’t see. Stock rooms are massive and some things are still stored because there is no space on the floor, or it doesn’t go with the items currently being displayed or simply because there aren’t enough sizes of that one item for them to display."
5. Know The Stock Delivery Dates
"All Zaras get new stock twice a week. Depending where you're from, it's usually Mondays and Thursdays. Staff are there at 7am/8am opening boxes so new stuff will be hitting the shop floor by 9.30am, so Monday and Thursday mornings are the best time to get your hands on sizes. Saturday is naturally the worst!"
6. Be Canny With Your Diary
"Save up for your big Zara shop until just after the runway collections have shown. The brand is brilliant at picking up what was most successful on the catwalk and reinterpreting them for a more affordable and commercial market."
7. Be Sales Smart
"People go crazy for Zara sales so they reduce prices by only a little in the first few days. As with everything they do, they price things smartly. The more they are in demand, the less they take off the price, but if it’s not, they go down to 50% or 60% in the first sale. In winter, coats, knitwear and suits are only reduced a little. Anything which is still lingering from the summer months, like swimsuits, light knitwear or light fabrics will be a real bargain."
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