As part of an overall digital enhancement of its in-store operations, Gap Inc. has deployed a solution that consolidates and personalizes the communications sent from headquarters to more than 3,000 company-owned stores. Gartner estimates that by reducing waste and improving productivity, the Retail Zipline solution saves nearly $20 million annually for the retailer’s Old Navy brand, where it has been in use the longest.
Additionally, Gap has rolled out an “In Stock on Shelf” mobile app that alerts store associates when a store shelf needs to be restocked with items located in the back room. Developed in-house, the app has “reduced the number of times an item is in the back room, but not on the store floor, from 40% to just 1%,” said Brandon Panepinto, Director of Product Management for Gap Inc. in an interview with Retail TouchPoints.
“At Old Navy we’ve rolled out Buy Online, Pick Up In-Store, and we continue to roll out next-generation and mobile POS solutions that make it easy for our associates to service customers,” Panepinto added. “From checking customers out in a fitting room to checking if an item is available, or ordering what they’re looking for and having it shipped to them, these solutions really empower our associates to serve customers in the best way possible.”
Seeking A Faster, Mobile-Friendly Communications Solution
Gap had begun its search for an improved communications solution back in 2016. Prior to that, “we were using an older solution to publish information to our store teams, and they’d only receive the information on a back office workstation,” Panepinto explained. “We lacked a mobile-friendly solution, so it was limiting as to where and when our teams could receive messages. Additionally, it took our content publishers up to 30 minutes to publish content, making it time-consuming and inefficient.”
Old Navy had been using the Retail Zipline solution primarily for email. The solution provider pitched a more comprehensive platform that could work across additional Gap Inc. brands, which include Gap, Banana Republic and Athleta. Retail Zipline’s solution is designed to provide a personalized digest for store leaders, district managers and headquarters that includes a calendar, daily checklist and the ability to track store-level execution of tasks.
The pilot began in spring 2016 in approximately 40 to 50 stores for each of the four brands. “During that time, we visited stores, held focus groups and we measured success by going deep on the qualitative side in the beginning, middle and end of the pilot,” said Panepinto. “Today, we have those pilot brands as well as Intermix using the solution across more than 3,000 company-operated stores globally.
“We’ve heard feedback from store leaders that they now feel more connected to our brands, and more empowered as they have personalized and relevant information for them at their fingertips,” Panepinto added. “From the HQ publisher’s perspective, they love the ability to target specific messages down to the store leader level, which ensures we only reach who we need to and reduce the noise.”
Panepinto also likes the solution’s ease of use and the support that Gap Inc. has received from Retail Zipline. “The solution is highly responsive, and that’s on top of a rich feature set including strong search functionality and easy onboarding,” he said. “The in-app training is really helpful, so we didn’t need to do too much additional training on the tool. The user experience is very clear to use, especially with the drag-and-drop functionality that makes it simple for publishers to use. We had our Zipline team working closely with our product management team to incorporate feedback and move quickly.”