Gap just appointed former Billabong CEO Neil Fiske as head of its namesake brand. Though the brand has seen better days, its recent changes indicate that it could be angling for a comeback. Fiske has a reputation of turning brands around, and the process might not be as difficult as it might seem.
One of the earliest adopters of digitally advanced features like Reserve Online and Pick Up in Store, Gap has shown that it’s willing to embrace the online shopping movement. However, it misses out in its email marketing, which focuses on general discounting at the expense of personalized content. Instead of pushing perpetual discounts, Fiske should consider tailoring emails to better connect with customers. Additionally, out of all the brands under the Gap umbrella, Gap leads Gartner L2’s Digital IQ Index: Specialty Retail in traffic and email list sizes—a perfect set-up if Fiske chooses to enhance the brand’s email situation.
Another area for Fiske to zero in on is Gap’s apps. As online apparel sales continue to grow, helping online shoppers find the right clothing size has become an increasingly important concern for retailers. Because Gap touts basics for every body, fit plays an important role in the path to purchase. In an attempt to assuage this path and the cost of free returns, Gap unveiled its Dressing Room app in 2017, which uses AR technology to help customers compare product sizes prior to purchase. Within the app, mobile shoppers enter their body details to produce a virtual 3D model display that can then “try on” various Gap items in all sizes before buying in-app if they choose to do so. Fiske can flesh this out further by asking users to engage on social media with their AR-assisted purchases and a hashtag to promote the app. Paired with Gap’s newest digital asset, the In Stock on Shelf app, this could help reflect more personalized and efficient service for customers, both digitally and in-store.
Gap has plenty of potential both online and offline. If Fiske points the brand in a more personalized direction, it could avoid veering off course into retail heaven and instead land firmly back on the ground.