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Filling an online Gap

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Fashion clothing retailer Gap launched its first transactional website for UK shoppers this week, and the early reaction to the company’s new online offering has been positive.

Graham Charlton, UK Editor at Econsultancy, wrote in his blog that although the site has been a long time coming and is lacking features such as video, virtual wardrobes and blogs, “it does the basics well”.

With IMRG-Capgemini eRetail Sales Index research showing that online sales in the UK regularly total more than £4 billion per month - reaching £5 billion in July alone - it does seems bizarre the business has only just developed a portal for its European consumers.

Jamie Talmage, Retail Analyst at accountancy and business advisory firm BDO, said: “I don’t think Gap was convinced that online growth could be maintained long term.”

Clothing retailers like New Look, Next, Debenhams and Top Shop have established successful online and multichannel operations in recent years, and sales on these platforms have grown rapidly, perhaps proving to Gap that its caution was misplaced.

Talmage also noted the success of other businesses in this sphere, saying: “Clearly online-only retailer Asos.com has had first mover advantage here, while Net-a-Porter has also done well in the luxury fashion space.

“Of the store-based groups New Look and All Saints have good integrated sites that are trading very well I think.”

Meanwhile, Econsultancy’s Charlton is confident that Gap can make a success of its new gap.eu site - despite the delay in launching - and follow in the footsteps of some of the aforementioned brands.

“Gap’s entrance into the UK eCommerce market is long overdue, and given the popularity of the brand and its existing high street presence, it should do well online,” he explained.

Talmage continued: “Most retailers have found that online creates a win-win situation.

“Driving footfall into stores because overall brand presence is wider, and creating a profitable revenue stream that is protected from the vagaries of high street trading. Online is an absolute no brainer.”

Published on Friday 27 August by Editorial Assistant

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