In short, The Gap has been spreading itself thin. It has nowhere to sit in its own portfolio: stuck somewhere between Old Navy, Banana Republic, and Athleta. Gap is still trying to grasp owning the essentials, but they haven't figured out what that is.
Gap undermined its original basis of casual American cool by over diversifying and becoming too mainstream.
How can a brand founded on essentials begin to speak to the new American consumer?
The Gap provides essentials to simplify life.
We are talking to 'Career Builders' and 'Parenting Professionals': ambitious people striving for success rather than keeping up with trends. Both groups tend to prioritize durability and functionality in their wardrobe choices as well as read reviews and labels before purchases.
Ever notice that really successful people always wear the same, simple clothing? Well there's a reason. People tend to make worse decisions after a continual amount of decision making. If people spent more time focusing on important decisions instead of on frivolous options that bombard Americans, like fashion, it could make a significant impact on strengthening their careers.
Since the Gap is emphasizing the functionality of clothing, we have to look deeper into the audience that we're attracting. After considering movement, weather, and activities, to name a few, we decided it was necessary to break down our inventory into four lifestyle collections: the outdoorsman, the creator, the traveler, and the professional.
Customers are able to take a quiz in-store or online that determines the most applicable collections for them. No matter their responses, the quiz will always show a percentage for each of the four lifestyles - making sure they are aware every type can still be beneficial to them in some way.
When you boil down an essential wardrobe, it comes down to timelessness and functionality.
The clothing items themselves have to be kept extremely streamlined. There should be no to very limited embellishments or frills. Words and graphics should be completely removed from all items, including holiday items such as Christmas sweaters.
By limiting items to neutral and universally flattering colors, any piece could, theoretically, be worn year-round or be paired with another. This also keeps the inventory stable and offers customers reliability. All of the colors chosen, including animal prints, are technically considered neutrals and will easily match other articles of clothing from different stores, giving the customers versatility with effortlessness and any added fashion personality.
Since the same cut of pants, for example, are available across the four lifestyles and that it's the fabric and not the color that truly differentiates them, the fitting room experience will be shorter, less stressful, and easier for both the customer and the employee.
Our store is spatially broken down into the four lifestyle sections: outdoorsman, traveller, creator, and professional. Within each section you will find in-action mannequins for easy wardrobe examples. Additionally, all inventory items will be physically displayed in locations associated with where you would place them on your body. For example, hats are displayed up top and shoes near the floor.
Access to the Lifestyle Profile quiz is available in-store via a hub with website-accessible tablets.
Bringing tailoring services to The Gap, functions to reiterate the quality, longevity, and personalization of our products while also creating an upscale feel.
Since our goal is to further careers, it only makes sense to continue to reach those that are striving for success. Travel and business go hand-in-hand.
When it comes to flying, many individuals find themselves these same predicaments. What if Gap had specialty airport outlets just for these cases? By providing prepared but easily customized suitcases, Gap clothes would not only allow a customer to get through a week by mixing and matching pieces, but would speak to practicality by specializing options based on the weather of each city. Extending The Gap's offerings beyond clothing would be an easy way to create brand loyalty and prove Gap as providing functional and effortless experiences.