Gap.com Going Offline Sparks Consumer Interest
By George Anderson
Taking its Old Navy (www.oldnavy.com), Gap (www.gap.com), and Banana Republic (www.bananarepublic.com) online stores offline for several days to
complete repairs and upgrades to the sites may have been one of the smartest moves that Gap Inc. has made recently.
According to Hitwise, Old Navy and Gap saw shoppers come back in higher numbers when they were back online. Old Navy’s traffic was up five percent
and Gap’s was up 13 percent for the first full week that the sites were back up and running.
“The lengthy closures for Gap’s online stores provides a unique opportunity to examine how consumer behavior changes when top sites within an industry
segment are inaccessible,” said Bill Tancer, general manager of global research at Hitwise in a released statement. “In this case, Gap’s online stores experienced both an
incremental lift in visits after the stores reopened as well as increased search on their brands during the site closure.”
The site’s being shut down, it seems, increased consumers’ curiosity about Gap Inc.’s online businesses.
Searches conducted online for the Old Navy and Gap were up 69 percent and 88 percent during the week the sites were closed for business. According
to Hitwise, the share of searches for the two sites was greater than during the peak of the 2004 holiday season.
“Search term data provides unprecedented insight into how key events impact online and offline brands,” said Mr. Tancer. “While it is counter-intuitive
that the market share of visits to Gap and Old Navy online stores would increase after lengthy closure, this data, in conjunction with the search term data, demonstrates the strength
of the two brands and points to firm loyalty of their customers.”
Moderator’s Comment: What is your takeaway from Gap Inc.’s decision to close its Web sites for upgrades and consumers response during the period during
and immediately following the sites being closed for business? –
George Anderson – Moderator