What Small Businesses Can Learn From Zara

ZaraZara have become a fashion powerhouse. I know very little about fashion but I can see how successful their business model is and why it works. The good news is that the model they use is perfect for small businesses like yours and mine.

Zara have been so successful because of the speed and accuracy with which they respond to customer demand. Detailed information is gathered from retail outlets and fed directly back to a team of designers who then create a range of similar designs. Zara don’t produce large amounts of stock to begin with, they produce a small amount of many different garments before deciding which range to develop. They cut out any kind of middleman. The information is gathered and relayed straight to a team of designers in Spain. Once decisions have been made, many of the garments are then produced in Spain before being shipped straight to stores.

They focus almost exclusively on the desires of the customer. The customer comes first.

It’s actually a very simple strategy.

Gather feedback regarding what customers want. Create products. Sell products. Gather feedback…

It’s not difficult to sell products when you’ve actually created something that people already want.

How to gather information;

1. Listen

If you listen to your customers carefully enough they will tell you what they need. What are their problems? How can you create something that will solve their problem?

2. Ask

Survey your customers to gather information. Create products based on the results.

3. Purchase records

Analyse your purchase records. What are people buying? Based on that information, what else would they be likely to buy?

4. Analytics

If you have a web based business or a blog then you will have a lot of information regarding what content people are reading. This information can provide you with many clues as to where the demand is.

All the information is out there. Many businesses go wrong when they assume they know what their customers desire. Listen to your customers and respond to the feedback. Test the market with something small scale. Develop the products that sell.

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