Meet the newest retail tech platform competitor – Gap Inc.
Gap Inc. appears to be the latest chain to follow a rapidly growing retail tech trend.
In a recent column, I wrote about how a growing number of retailers are trying to move into full-fledged technological platforms. Tech giants like Amazon, Apple, Google and Facebook serve as a model that retailers Instacart, Walmart, Target and Kroger have all tried to follow.
Specialty clothing retailer Gap Inc. is also showing clear signs of its intention to transform into a technology platform. Since moving to the cloud in October 2020, Gap Inc. has focused on acquiring and applying cutting edge solutions, as it is now able to act as a technology provider.
Here are three areas where Gap is slowly but steadily moving towards a technology platform.
Gap recently acquired Context-Based 4 Casting Ltd. (CB4), an artificial intelligence and machine learning platform based in New York and Tel Aviv. The start-up provides technology to increase sales and improve customer experience through predictive analytics and demand sensing.
Additionally, CB4’s technology has been implemented by retailers such as Levi’s, Urban Outfitters, Lidl, and Kum & Go. This places Gap in the enviable position of providing technology to other retailers, just like Amazon’s. made in license its “Just Walk Out” standalone checkout system to retailers, including Trip to Hudson.
Examples of other retailers pursuing the evolution of the technology platform that are diving into supplier waters include Target cockade digital advertising network and Walmart’s GoLocal same day delivery service.
The specialty clothing retailer also focused an investment of more than $ 100 million in distribution centers in Phoenix and Gallatin, Tenn., On increasing speed, flexibility and efficiency. The 1.4 million square foot business expansions. in Gallatin and its 400,000 sq.ft. The Phoenix plant now supports online order fulfillment for more of its brands.
Earlier this year, Gap plans announced to open a new, 850,000 square foot. customer experience center in Longview, TX to support Old Navy’s growing online business. Similar to its other Customer Experience Centers, Longview’s new facility will feature state-of-the-art order processing technology and automation to meet the evolving needs of buyers. Gap also plans to expand the capabilities of its customer experience centers in Fresno, Calif., And Fishkill, NY, next year as well.
[Read more: CSA Exclusive: Gap Inc. exec talks about retailer’s supply chain transformation]
Gap has also deployed AI solutions and robotic technologies in its distribution centers. The company’s focus on maximizing supply chain efficiency with the latest advanced distribution technologies is reminiscent of how Amazon and Kroger are developing their own next-generation distribution center models.
In August 2021, Gap acquired Drapr, a startup that allows customers to create 3D avatars and virtually try on clothes, in the wake of a new initiative under its Old Navy banner called “Bodequality», Which offers each of its female models, in all sizes, with no price difference.
The Drapr platform is designed to help customers find the best clothing size and fit for their personal style and body shape, while helping retailers reduce unnecessary returns.
“Drapr’s technology will help us provide a more personalized and inclusive fit experience for all of our clients by showing them what an item will look like on their body while recommending the best fit based on their individual preferences,” Nancy Green , President & CEO of Old Navy, said at the time of acquisition. “We plan to leverage Drapr to help Gap Inc. improve our customers’ fit experience and accelerate our ongoing digital transformation. “
It’s one thing to implement a technological solution, but quite another to acquire the entire company that develops it. Gap’s decision to purchase Drapr directly allows the company to gain a unique competitive advantage through its virtual testing capability, as well as tailor the technology to meet specific proprietary needs, and resell or re-sell it. license it (or parts of it) to other retailers.