ZARA Struggling To Impress Port Elizabeth And Durban Customers

Our groupie media would have us believe that all South Africans are crazy about these international brands. We are led to believe that all South Africans wants to emulate the likes of  Bonang and shop at Fendi, Gucci or Somizi's favorite brand to flaunt, Louis Vuitton. Latest report by Financial Mail show that South Africans aren't as taken by these glamorous names as we think. 

According Noah Capital Markets retail analyst Roger Tejwani, Zara with four or five stores in SA, has only made an impact in Cape Town and Johannesburg but its Durban and Port Elizabeth stores are not trading as successfully.

He somewhat explains this lack of interest from Durbanites and the PE folks as lack of education about brands. Bit of an insult if you ask me. 

On one hand we preach "Proudly SA" and when consumer ignore these foreign brands we call them stupid on the other. 
"I think there is more education needed for consumers in those areas as regards international brands and brand awareness. Someone like Cotton On’s penetration has been rapid and it is making an impact on Truworths and its Identity brand, and on Edgars,"  Tejwani says.
 When I was putting together an outfit for Durban July, I checked out Zara in Sandton for some shirt or T-shirt. The experience was a bit of a disappointment. Firstly the staff there are so unprofessional, or perhaps I just went on a day they were in a bad mood. 

The usual smile and eagerness from the staff, one experiences in other clothing stores when you browsing the isles, did not exist there. Instead the guys in their black suit at Zara - Sandton seemed more interested in carrying on with their personal conversations than help customers. Unfortunately this created an uneasy feeling of awkwardness to even try to ask them for help. 

It felt like the staff was doing me a favor by even giving me their attention. Atleast the guys at the till counter seemed more appreciative of my business.

I am by no means saying this is an every day occurrence or it is everybody's experience at the store. According to the report, Sandton branch is doing well. However, I am a customer and I can tell you that I will think twice about entering Zara Sandton again. 

Branding is more than just about the product or label. It is also about the experience the vustomer has with the brand. Walking in that Zara store ... for me, did not ignite any sense of something better but rather something pretentious. I get better service at YDE Rosebank than I did at ZARA Sandton.  

Perhaps instead of assuming that Durbanites and PE folks are not clued up about international brands because ZARA branches in these cities are not doing well, these analysts should actually invest in getting to know the inhabitants of these cities and how the staff in this branches engage with them. It might be that customers are put off going into the store, like I was at the Sandton branch, by the atmosphere created by the staff.

ZARA may have lost me as a customer. Not because of its products but my experience at their store. I am certain that there is more to the failure of ZARA in PE and Durban than just what Tejwani says. It can't all be the customer's fault. 

Powered by Blogger.