e-commerce Editor's pick mobile Retail technology

Zara launches tech-enabled pop-up ahead of new London flagship

Zara's new tech-enabled pop-up store
Zara’s new tech-enabled pop-up store

Zara is launching a tech-enabled pop-up store in London designed for click and collect purchases ahead of a new permanent flagship space.

The Westfield Stratford City pop-up, opening today, offers a small edit of men’s and women’s clothing that shoppers can purchase online while there in person. Doing so enables delivery same day if placed before 2pm, or the next day if placed in the afternoon. They can also access the full catalogue of the collections to choose from online.

Staff are on hand to assist with mobile devices, while an easy payment system operated by Bluetooth is also aiming to facilitate a frictionless experience. Meanwhile, a product recommendation system based on RFID technology means customers are able to use mirrors to scan items to get more information about them, as well as see other suggested coordinating pieces.

The pop-up will be open until May while the retailer’s flagship is refurbished and seriously upgraded. The new space to follow will then be 48,000 sq ft and similarly focus on placing technology at its heart.

Zara's new flagship due to open in May
Zara’s new flagship due to open in May

It will feature four sections: women’s, men’s, kid’s and click and collect. The latter will see automated collection points where an optical barcode reader can scan QR codes or PINs received by customers. Orders are then delivered to a mailbox manned by a robot behind-the-scenes for customers to then collect items at their convenience. The robot has the capacity to handle 2,400 packages simultaneously.

Further tech features include mobile payments either through the Zara app or the Inditex group app, InWallet, and a self-checkout area that sits alongside the regular associate-serviced desks.

Meanwhile, the two-storey store will feature sensors on the top floor that project images on the windows when shoppers approach them.

Pablo Isla, the chairman and CEO of parent company Inditex, said: “[Both stores] mark another milestone in our strategy of integrating our stores with the online world, which defines our identity as a business.”

The move comes after Inditex rolled out in-store mobile payments through all its stores in Spain, and the trial of interactive fitting rooms and self-service checkouts in Spain, Germany and the US in 2016.

business digital snippets mobile social media Startups technology

What you missed: endangered fashion unicorns, Dior’s YouTube moves, Facebook marketplace

fashion unicorns
Fashion ‘unicorns’ have become an endangered species

This week’s round-up of relevant fashion business, digital comms and tech news neatly sums up a series of things to be tracking at present: the evolution of social media businesses into greater advertising and commercial retail opportunities, the role customer service and messaging apps play together, the explosion of all things virtual and augmented reality, and an ongoing bevy of start-ups to know about.

Meanwhile, also worth reading this week is detail on David Lauren’s promotion to the role of chief innovation officer over at Ralph Lauren, Dior’s catch up strategy on YouTube, and the growth of physical stores by online players including Warby Parker and Bonobos.

  • Fashion ‘unicorns’ have become an endangered species [BoF]
  • Dior’s borrowing Chanel’s strategies to catch up on YouTube [Glossy]
  • Mastercard launches ‘selfie pay’ [FT]

  • LVMH to buy majority stake in Germany’s Rimowa for $716 million [BoF]
  • Swarovski, maker of all things bejewelled, refashions itself as a tech company [NY Times]
  • As their incomes rise, Chinese consumers are trading up and going beyond necessities [McKinsey]
  • Ralph Lauren promotes founder’s son to chief innovation officer [Bloomberg]

  • Facebook launches Marketplace for local buying and selling [Reuters]
  • For young brands, is the Instagram opportunity shrinking? [BoF]
  • Pinterest Promoted Video lands in the UK with Hunter on board as a partner [The Drum]
  • Snapchat users are spending 78 seconds on average playing Under Armour’s Cam Newton game [AdWeek]
  • An inside look at Snapchat’s new advertising API technology [AdAge]

  • Reebok adds Gigi Hadid to #PerfectNever campaign [MediaPost]
  • Farfetch inspires consumers to find the perfect product in new #TheOne campaign [Luxury Daily]
  • Google, Facebook become focus of holiday digital campaigns [MediaPost]

  • Warby Parker, Bonobos have big plans for physical stores [WSJ]
  • Shopify adds Facebook Messenger direct sales channel [Retail Dive]
  • Salesforce launches LiveMessage to provide customer service across messaging apps [VentureBeat]
  • Cocktails, cinemas and concierges: Malls weave a web of their own to entice customers [Financial Post]
  • Now you can sign up for a “.shopping” domain name [Apparel]
  • The Outnet launches first android app [Fashion United]

  • Japanese brand Anrealage hosts augmented reality fashion show [Glossy]
  • Mark Zuckerberg’s VR selfie is a bigger deal than you realise [Wired]
  • Will Google’s ‘soft and cozy’ approach to VR headsets make the space more mainstream? [AdWeek]
  • The mainstreaming of augmented reality: a brief history [HBR]

  • Venture capitalists invest $56 billion in start-ups so far in 2016 [Reuters]
  • New app co-created by Elon Musk’s estranged wife could be a game-changer for retail [BGR]
  • Online fashion retailer Grana raises $10M led by Alibaba’s entrepreneurship fund [TechCrunch]
mobile product technology

Topshop introduces second bPay wearables collection

Topshop’s latest bPay accessories line

Topshop has launched a second collection of accessories activated for payments thanks to a partnership with Barclays’ bPay contactless technology.

Hot off the heels of its successful November iteration of bPay wearables, which featured brightly coloured pieces in a monster motif, the new items target a more luxe aesthetic.

The six-piece collection features bracelets, phone cases and robot-themed keyrings in gold metallics and faux snakeskin detailing. The price point comes in slightly higher than the original £15 by dropping stickers from the line and adding in better quality materials. For £25-£35, a shopper can pick up the new wares both in-store or online.

Each accessory holds a small bPay contactless chip, which links to a secure digital wallet. Anyone with a UK Visa or MasterCard debit or credit card (not just Barclays customers) can use it, adding funds via a mobile app or online through the bPay web portal.

The focus is on a quick purchase market – much like competitors Apple and Android Pay – accommodating transactions up to the contactless limit of £30. Keep the device topped up between £5-£200 and it will be accepted anywhere with contactless payment scanners.

e-commerce mobile

Apple Pay = Apathy we’re told, but let’s give it time, not time-out

apple pay

Apple Pay is struggling to gain traction outside of the US market, according to research specialist Timetric. The service launched in the US 18 months ago and has proved relatively strong there with most of its total usage of $10.9bn last year coming from Apple’s domestic market.

However, it’s facing resistance from both banks and consumers as well as battling some technical challenges elsewhere, Reuters reported, citing the Timetric research. While the service is reported to be popular among Apple diehards in markets like the UK, China and Australia, it’s failing to win large numbers of new users outside of that core group.

Apple Pay is currently available in six countries and the number of banks offering the service is limited, although it has grown in recent weeks with some new banks signing up in Singapore, Australia, New Zealand and Canada.

The $10.9bn total transaction figure is seen as relatively small, especially given the potential size of the mobile payments market. In key market China, around $1trn in mobile payments was processed last year, much of it by Alibaba and Tencent, according to iResearch data.

Part of the problem has been technical issues. In Australia, where Apple Pay only launched last month, there have been a number of technical failures. “Bendigo Bank is experiencing some unforeseen technical issues in accepting Apple Pay payments at selected merchant terminals,” a Bendigo spokeswoman old Reuters.

But Apple said that Bendigo’s experience isn’t representative and that new technology can take time to win over a wide customer base. The company is continuing its push to make Apple Pay a success internationally.

Analysts told Reuters that Apple’s relatively slow country-by-country rollout of the service is a problem for it and sees it coming up against fast-developing mobile payments businesses from domestic banks in markets like the UK, Australia and Canada.

Juniper Research said $14bn was spent via contactless cards in the UK last year with consumers now comfortable with using them. They’re therefore unwilling to make the extra effort to register their cards for Apple Pay so they can use their phone or Apple Watch instead. A similar situation has been seen in Australia with Reuters quoting an unnamed retailer saying uptake had been slow.

This post first appeared on, a style-meets-business blog by journalist, trends specialist and business analyst, Sandra Halliday

Editor's pick technology

10 wearable tech gifts for the fashionistas in your life


If the new Hermès Apple Watch is a little out of price range, but you’re after something more than the standard fitness band to fulfill your wearable tech gift giving quest this holiday, look no further…

In honour of those thinking about fashion and not just function, our Forbes round-up of 10 wearables now on the market, is well worth checking out. Ranging from Everpurse x Kate Spade New York, to Altruis, The Unseen and Topshop x bPay, they not only do neat things like pay for products or help charge your other devices, but look pretty good too. There’s also Unmade, Gemio, Ringly, Away, Misfit x BaubleBar and Love & Robots.

e-commerce Editor's pick mobile technology

ICYMI: Topshop releases cute contactless payment accessories


As far as functionality goes, wearable technology that offers the ability to make payments is trending. Henry Holland launched a NFC-enabled ring in partnership with Visa; Rihanna’s favourite designer Adam Selman teamed up with MasterCard on a dress, gloves, earrings and sunglasses that could likewise make a quick and seamless payment; and now Topshop has entered the market.

One of the first to actually be available to buy, the British high street retailer has introduced a line of accessories that incorporate bPay by Barclaycard contactless payment technology. In a bid to find a solution that consumers are actually interested in using, not only do the accessories have the ability to make a purchase, but they look rather appealing for the target market in question too.


The launch collection, which hit stores last week, sees a monster fish print on wristbands, an iPhone case and keyrings. They range in price from £15-£32. A luxe metal and snake effect design will follow later this year.

Tami Hargreaves, commercial director of digital consumer payments at Barclaycard said: “[This] marks the first time that our bPay chip is being incorporated into a product range from a major fashion retailer. The collaboration shows how the worlds of fashion and technology can combine to create a stylish and easy new way for people to pay using contactless, for everyday things – be it a morning coffee, a new lipstick or a bus trip across town.”


Each accessory holds a small bPay contactless chip, which links to a secure digital wallet. Anyone with a UK Visa or MasterCard debit or credit card (not just Barclays customers) can use it, adding funds to their digital wallet via a mobile app or online through the bPay web portal.

In September, bPay also launched a partnership with Lyle & Scott for a contactless payment jacket.