NEW YORK — Gap’s flagship e-commerce site is poised to strike a higher profile.
This story first appeared in the August 25, 2003 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
This month, in fall magazines and in Gap’s 2,147 stores nationwide, Gap is launching an ad campaign trumpeting elements that distinguish Gap Online from the brand’s brick-and-mortar stores with the slogan: “There’s more at Gap.com.” Those features include a wider selection of apparel sizes than can be found in stores, apparel styles exclusive to the Gap Web site, outfitting ideas and suggestions for baby gifts.
Marketing messages in-store will be placed in various locations, such as signs on pants walls and in dressing rooms that will guide customers who are seeking an extended selection of sizes to gap.com. Magazines carrying the campaign include Lucky, In Style, Vogue, W, Rolling Stone, Essence and Latina.
That effort will be followed in October, said Felix Carbullido, Gap Online’s vice president and general manager, by a “three-city campaign blitz,” in New York, Chicago and Washington, which “will reemphasize the value of Gap Online.”
“We are trying to move beyond the days of old, beyond just slapping a Web site’s URL on everything,” Carbullido said in an interview Friday from his office in San Francisco. “The October campaign will employ ads on bus sides, billboards and innovative marketing vehicles,” along with a new wave of advertising in magazines and in-store.
These marketing plans, Carbullido said, reflect the viewpoint of Paul Pressler, who exited a 15-year career at Disney to take the helm of Gap last September as its president and chief executive. “With Paul championing the Web sites, the whole company has seen the advantage of integrating the online division with the stores,” Carbullido said. “Gap Interactive has been profitable for a number of quarters,” he added, without specifying. The unit comprises e-commerce sites of Gap, Old Navy and Banana Republic.
Since Gap’s TV commercials featuring Madonna and Missy Elliot began airing on July 31, Carbullido said, “cord sales online have far exceeded expectations: We sold out in the first week.” The effort got a lift from an option offered online to have back pockets monogrammed, like those worn by the divas in the TV spot, and by e-mail previews of the commercials sent to online customers a day before they began airing.
Aiming to capitalize on the back-to-school season, the second-biggest period for the apparel business after holiday, Gap.com for the first time is offering b-t-s online exclusives and its entire school uniform assortment. One-fifth of the uniform line itself can only be bought online. According to Carbullido, the share of uniforms Gap sells online is well into the double-digits and has exceeded expectations by 40 percent. It will be updated next spring.
If customers find a Gap store is out of stock in a particular back-to-school item, Gap Online will ship it free from the Web site’s distribution facility in Columbus, Ohio. Currently, more than one-third of the products for women, men, boys, girls, and babies at gap.com are not available at Gap stores.
“Gap Online’s special sizing assortment has been the golden nugget,” Carbullido related. “We’re expanding the exclusive online product around size as well as style.”