Gap to make $300 million digital investment

Gap (NYSE:GPS) is making a $300 million investment in digital as the retailer builds out omnichannel capabilities and focuses on responsive design.

Executives talked up technology, innovation and scale as competitive advantages during the retailer's annual shareholder meeting in San Francisco last week, noting the chain is making progress toward bridging digital with its physical stores.

"We have the world's best collection of American brands coupled with a strong economic model and runway for global growth," said Glenn Murphy, chairman and CEO. "As the retail landscape evolves, we continue to deliver on our omnichannel roadmap and focus on owning the shopping experience of the future."

New initiatives include offering reserve-in-store, find-in-store and ship-from-store options to be tested later this year. The reserve-in-store service began as a test in June 2013 and will be expanded to all Gap stores in the United States by the end of the second quarter, thus enabling online and mobile shoppers to reserve and pick up items at more than 1,000 Gap and Banana Republic store locations.

Mobile is a big focus for Gap going forward. "The opportunity to better monetize the huge amount of incremental traffic coming off of this device we see as very significant, and you will see pretty radical progress in our mobile Web experience, and the experience delivered to this device over the course of the next several months," Art Peck, president of growth, innovation and digital, said during the meeting, according to Mobile Commerce Daily.

Much of the investment will go toward developing websites with responsive design. "Responsive design (is) a big buzzword in the industry," Peck said. "We are rolling out responsive design as we speak." The redesigned sites will feature an improved check-out experience and better browsing, features that Peck said will enhance Gap's ability to drive m-commerce.

There will also be a test of mobile point-of-sale technology that will be part of a new loyalty program that the retailer plans to test later this year.

Gap has been playing catch-up in the digital space. While many of its competitors have long offered in-store ordering for out-of stock items, Gap is just now talking about implementing endless aisle inventory.

For more:
-See this Gap press release
-See this Mobile Commerce Daily story

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