The company has kept mum on how much it lost in sales, but an article in the New York Times estimated it at “millions of dollars” based on normal site sales. The Gap stands by its claim that it was not possible to migrate to a new system without the downtime. Apparently at The Gap it’s still necessary to put your khakis on one leg at a time.
But at last the new sites launched. What did the great effort yield?
For the purposes of this review, we concentrate on The Gap (the clothing store, not the corporate parent), whose new e-commerce site is as simple as its style: fresh, casual American.
Gap.com is a traditional e-commerce site, but it is first-class in terms of usability. Functionality was one of the areas that The Gap struggled with in building this new site, and we applaud it for scoring such high points.
Among the many features, each clothing selection displays a different rollover for every color. Moreover, a clear message pops up if the visitor attempts to select a size that is not available in the chosen selection.
Similar to Victoria's Secret, The Gap distributes through multiple channels. Unlike VS, The Gap's models are often cut out of the picture, with the upper half of the face generally hidden. The focus here is on the clothes.
If the site's look and texture is rather minimalist, it does fit the rather banal design identity of the offline brand. The grayish, whitish, seamless design is aligned with the collection and the stores' environment. Some simple but rather cool features offered online include the GapBody Solutions (what to wear under your party outfits), Panty Rise Shop (find the perfect rise for you), and Collections (everything you need to know about bra and panty sets). Unfortunately, these self-help features are illogically stacked under "Our Top Picks," and it’s therefore rather easy to miss them. It is one of the few flaws in the otherwise excellent usability of the site.
The other flaw in usability is that none of The Gap’s new sites attempt to work on more than three browsers. Again to this we smile at the cute pre-2000 feel of it all. (Perhaps someone should audit the programming department at The Gap and weed out the troglodytes.)
One other thing: The Gap, with its insistence on the capital T on the article, thereby leading the customer to assume it must be a very important part of the brand, doesn’t own thegap.com.
Win some, lose some.