By  on October 12, 2005

Gap's new look for its Banana Republic, Old Navy and Gap Web sites emphasizes the "easy."

The makeover seeks to minimize the number of clicks shoppers must make to view product information by consolidating details such as size, color and price on a single pop-up box while keeping shoppers tethered to the main page. The sites are connected to a real-time inventory database, enabling them to display only those color and size options that are available and ready for shipment.

The site also suggests pieces to complete an outfit and alerts shoppers to discounts.

The Web site upgrades led to an extended shutdown that puzzled many in the industry.

Gap spokeswoman Kris Marubio said the overhaul, which was done in-house, included 11 major back-end systems. Building two separate systems running in parallel, to avoid the shutdown, would have been "superexpensive," she said. The Banana Republic Web site was taken offline for about three days in August. The Old Navy and Gap sites were open only to randomly selected visitors while testing and debugging went on for four weeks, until Sept. 21.

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