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How Did This Happen to the Gap? Don’t Let It Happen to You

By Axia Public Relations

The clothing retailer that most of us grew up with is no longer on our radar screen as “the” store to shop at. In fact, it hasn’t even been on our “stores to shop at” for a number of years now. What happened to this once clothing emporium and shrine to casual wear? Did the Gap change, or did we? Apparently, we changed, but the Gap didn’t change with us. It remained stagnant.

In one key phrase, you can blame the Gap’s decline on marketing and merchandising blunders. More specifically though, here’s what happened: Ultimately, the Gap’s decline boils down to the fact that its core audience grew older and its target audience shops elsewhere, like Abercrombie & Fitch. The Gap just didn’t adapt well to these demographic changes.

  1. The company got greedy and opened Old Navy, selling the same merchandise found at the Gap, only at lower prices.
  2. Employees inherited the casualness of Gap, resulting in a lack of selling skills and product knowledge.
  3. The Gap didn’t do its research with its customers by asking them pertinent questions about price and fashion sense.
  4. Merchandise and store ambiance no longer appealed to customers who grew up with the Gap.
  5. TV commercials featured celebrities, yet said nothing about the store, as their young and older customers couldn’t identify with them.

And how does this affect you? Well, here’s the multimillion-dollar question: With America’s rapidly changing demographics, how will your product stand up to the test of time?
Are you prepared for this, or will you be the next Gap? Call us; we can help you plan for the next generation of customers who are just around the corner, waiting to see if you are going to appeal to them.



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Topics: public relations, crisis communications

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