Zara is one of the world’s largest retailers, with over 5,000 stores in a mammoth 78 countries, and separate websites representing each. Due to it’s vertical integration and just-in-time manufacturing structure, Zara has one of the speediest manufacturing turnarounds in the fast fashion industry. Their ability to respond to new trends and consumer demand is unbeatable, with product available in store 4-5 weeks after design. With such a sophisticated and all encompassing set-up, it seems bizarre that there’s one major arena Zara have totally avoided: Twitter.
Zara’s Twitter absence stands out. Not only because nearly all major brands (and most not-so-major ones and probably even your dad) have grasped the social importance of the format, but also because they have tackled Facebook so well. Their Facebook brand page has over 11 million fans and encourages interaction with street style submissions (albeit heavily edited). They clearly grasp that social is of huge importance, so why the radio silence on the Twitter front? Could it be that the company is too vast to make their communications relevant on a large-scale?
Other global brands have commandeered the Twitter-sphere well. H&M, who have over 2,000 stores in 48 countries, have amassed nearly nine hundred thousand Twitter followers, with a 40% growth rate in the past year. They approach their fragmented markets with a number of country-specific accounts (UK, Japan, France, and Germany) as well as a main profile, @HM. Their digital marketing reached new heights with the hype-storm they created surrounding the Versace collaboration. Topshop, too, manage their multi-national markets with custom accounts for New Zealand, Australia and Canada, as well as their main site and an American HR account. Their online fanbase has grown by 29% in the last year. Having recently launched German and French retail sites, it will be interesting to see how quickly they launch their first non-English language Twitter accounts. Regional accounts would be a good option for Zara, appealing to their whole market with language-specific updates.
And then enters Adidas, who have an impressive 20 million opt-in followers. They tackle their broad market not by region, but by sport. With three Twitter accounts and four Facebook pages, their fanbase has grown by 39% in the last 12 months. This too could be an option for Zara – with a presence for each of their accounts; Women, Men, Kids and TRF.
Inditex, the fashion group which owns Zara, isn’t opposed to Twitter. Other brands they own have presence on Facebook and Twitter, including Pull & Bear, Stradivarius, Massimo Dutti and Bershka. Interestingly, Zara Home, which runs as a separate website and often based in stand-alone stores, does have a Twitter account. With over sixteen thousand followers, the communications are in both Spanish and English.
Zara’s absence needs addressing, and quickly. It is possible to tweet links to garments from the Zara online store and the Zara hashtag (#zara) is used continually. Enabling potential consumers to create conversation about your brand without being involved, and in control, makes little business sense. Owning your online presence should be top of all brand’s priorities. Just imagine if Zara applied a little of that same polished execution we see across their manufacture and marketing offerings to a Twitter output…