product offerings could not be more different, with Sprint focusing on telecommunications and Zara on clothing, there are some similarities between these two stores. Sprint and Zara both position themselves to a mainstream shopping audience, with a fairly broad appeal to a price-conscious consumer from multiple age groups. Although they offer completely different products, their pricing strategies are therefore similar. The shopping mall is the preferred geographic location for both Sprint and Zara stores, which are only found in stand-alone boutiques on urban high streets. Neither store has a luxury positioning but both stores offer a range of items at different prices for a diverse consumer market. Likewise, both Sprint and Zara have a few select stores for a more upscale bracket with Sprint’s “Studio” line and some Zara stores located near to high end shopping zones.
However, a Zara store has a far more stylish and aesthetically pleasing appearance than the more functional, utilitarian Sprint look. The Zara logo is clean and modern simply featuring the brand name in a characteristic font without an accompanying logo. Sprint’s yellow fan-shaped logo is uninspiring. However, Sprint’s products are actually utilitarian in nature, as the company is a service provider and only partners with manufacturers to place their brand on phones and other products. Zara does have a strikingly similar approach to clothing, which lacks originality, veers towards copycatting of luxury brands, and stresses the importance of trend as opposed to a few flagship items. Zara’s approach to clothing marketing has therefore been dubbed “fast fashion” because of its similar ecological and ethical footprint as fast food (Wicker, 2016).
Customer service is roughly equivalent in each store, but there are different customer service needs for a telecommunications versus clothing store. Depending on the Zara store, sales personnel range from totally detached to openly helpful. The same can be said for Sprint. However, a telecommunications company in the United States is bound to have more customer complaints and in fact receives a deplorable one star on the Consumer Affairs website (“Sprint PCS,” 2017). It is not so much the physical products that customers will complain about but the quality and pricing of the service plans that gouge consumers. A completely different issue exists with Zara, a store that will simply take back an item with a good return policy and which does not offer the type of service like telecommunications in which a customer is actually subscribed and locked into a contract. Therefore, Zara’s customer feedback is generally far more positive than for Sprint.
Both Sprint and Zara claim to support diversity of course. In practice, Zara does claim that half of its American employees are black or Hispanic whereas Sprint does not reveal data on the parent company website (“A Commitment to Diversity and Equal Opportunity,” 2017). Zara has been accused of discriminatory acts towards customers. For example, a survey of Zara employees showed that 46% admitted to racially profiling customers and flagging African-Americans as potential thieves, compared with 14% for Latinos and only 7% for whites (Gajanan, 2015). Therefore, both Sprint and Zara have a long way to go towards achieving an improved diversity outcome.
Zara’s social media presence is richer than that of Sprint, which focuses mainly on advertisements. On the other hand, Zara creates marketing content that is informative and engaging to encourage long-term relationships with consumers. The Zara website is far more interactive and attractive than the Sprint one, which is limited in scope and as stripped-down as one of their retail stores. The Sprint website can be confusing because of the different plans and phones and lacks quality photographs, whereas the Zara website is replete with attractive photographs that showcase their different product lines. Thus, although positioned similarly, Zara and Sprint differ on most accounts.
“A Commitment to Diversity and Equal Opportunity,” (2017). Inditex. Retrieved online: https://www.inditex.com/sustainability/employees/commitment-diversity-equal-opportunity
Gajanan, M. (2015). “Zara accused of creating culture of customer discrimination in new report.” Guardian. Retrieved online: https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2015/jun/22/zara-reports-culture-of-favoritism-based-on-race
“Sprint PCS,” (2017). Consumer Affairs. Retrieved online: https://www.consumeraffairs.com/cell_phones/sprint_pcs.htm
Wicker, A. (2016). Fast fashion is creating an environmental crisis. Newsweek. Retrieved online: http://www.newsweek.com/2016/09/09/old-clothes-fashion-waste-crisis-494824.html
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