Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Mind the Gap

I have the privilege of walking by a Gap store every day of my working life since it sits just outside of the subway stop I come out of and it's conveniently located next to Cameron's office. I used to have a love affair with the Gap when I was in high school... it was about the only place I shopped because it was so classic. Over the years, I have watched it steadily decline, especially the last few. It's as if they are having a serious identity crisis because they are trying to be all things to all people. I think the quality of their clothes has gone down, and I now think of them as an overpriced Old Navy... gasp. Take their ads, for example...
I'm Classic...

No, I Rock Color...

No, I'm Classic...

No, I'm color and comfortable...

Wait, I'm Classic like Audrey Hepburn...

Yes, I'm Classic Black and White...

Oh, and I'm edgy...

All of these ads have taken place probably within the last 12-18 months. They seem to be suffering from a case of schizophrenia. GAP used to be the store for the classic look... jeans, khakis, button downs, a splash of classic color and few other standard and essential wardrobe items. Now... I can't decide what they are. One minute they are all about the classic look and the next it's the beach bum look. I think of the other brands associated with this company... namely Banana Republic... and they don't seem to have this identity crisis. Sure their styles change with the seasons and the times, but they remain classy and stylish still maintaining the integrity of the brand. Most good and successful retail stores adhere to this business model. That's why there are so many of them. If you want to be all things to all people... you get to be a Target or Nordstrom or some other department store. I can't shop at the GAP these days. Every time I go in there thinking the experience is going to be different, I just walk out disappointed and disenchanted. You just can't be all things to all people. Be what you are good at, and you will attract the kind of people who like that and are loyal to it. Otherwise... retail suicide.

4 comments:

Kristyn said...

I'm totally with you -- on style and quality. The last few things I got there stretched out quickly or tore just like Old Navy stuff. I have sadly started going elsewhere!!

Beth, Cody and Morgan said...

We are still die-hard GAP fans at this house. I have noticed having a harder time blowing through the giftcards as quickly but I can always find everything to fit my body which is nice. I loved my GAP maternity clothes. Classic is good but boring is bad...if you don't freshen up every now and then and try something new than you become some old person store. And we all know the people spending the real money are a lot younger with mommy's credit card.

Nicole Cave said...

Hey Nikki,
What ever happened with sis. Urie? I am asking for my mother-n-law. She's wondering about her health?

McLeod Clan said...

Nikki,

I have to tell you that I remember your days when the GAP was your love. Oh how things have changed!