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Gap Changes the Retail Landscape With New Omnichannel Offerings

Gap Inc. is steadily changing the way consumers will shop with one omnichannel upgrade after another.

The retailer recently launched its “Reserve in Store” service at select Gap and Banana Republic stores in Chicago and San Francisco where shoppers can find goods they like online and reserve them to be set aside for next-day in-store pick up.

Here’s how it works: Customers select the garment of their choice, choose the size they want and place the item on hold at any nearby store that has the item and offers the shopping service. A Gap employee then pulls the items, places them on a special Reserve in Store rack with the customer’s name on it and an email or text message goes out to the shopper letting them know their goods are on hold. There’s a five-item per day limit for reserved items. Once in store, customers can take their designated loot to the fitting room to try on or head straight to the cashier and checkout.

The supremely seamless transition from click to brick makes perusing a store in search of the right garment in the right size or waiting for a store employee–who may or may not actually be looking–to find it, a thing of the past.

This site to store service could prove better for business than solely cyber retail as a brick-and-mortar presence is still key to the shopping experience. When it comes to clothing, most customers still like to try things on. As retailers continue to build on the omnichannel buzzword and tap into what’s keeping shoppers shopping, creating one more or less unified buying process will be key.

Gap has been increasing its investment to serving customers across multiple channels and integrating retail and technology. In August, the company announced that Padmasree Warrior, chief technology and chief strategy officer of Cisco Systems, would serve on the board of directors in a move to use her tech expertise to carry the brand forward in terms of innovation.

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The company also took to Tumblr in August with its latest fall marketing campaign “Back to Blue,” calling on creators to share content regarding what “blue” means to them and buying all of the social site’s mobile ads for one day. Gap knows the media landscape has changed and the campaign was designed to accommodate heavy social media participation and a goal of increasing the brand’s multichannel presence.

Gap reported Q3 earnings early this month with total net sales of $3.98 billion, up 3 percent from the same period last year. As of Q2, online sales were up 27 percent driven by the company’s ship-from-store offering introduced last year, the Find-in-Store option which tells customers the nearest place they can find a product they are seeking and the recent Reserve-in-Store capabilities. These new omnichannel platforms are expected to continue adding to the company’s momentum in the coming year.