Store review

Gap - Florida


By Karl McKeever | 27.02.20

Back to basics

The recently updated Gap store in Orlando’s Florida Mall harks back to the brand’s glory days when it was riding high and could do no wrong. But with no innovative store design features or interactive digital technology, why call out the store for review and praise? Simply (and that’s the key word here), the store is a good example of how effective store planning and layout, outstanding VM techniques and meticulous retail execution can deliver high levels of brand competence – a simple retail truth that will never go out of fashion.

First opened in 2006, this joint Gap Women’s, Men’s and Baby Gap unit is no newcomer to the mall. And from a store design perspective, the upgraded store offers nothing new – by today’s standards it is unremarkable for this point alone

 

It’s a low cost refurbishment – but no less effective for it.

The store is unusual in that it has not tried to ‘selectively update’ and retrofit elements that are really not required, nor would have distracted from the overall brand narrative. With the refurbishment, the store has been reset with the brand’s stereotypical design and ‘look and feel’. Reusing the current wall and floor fixturing, tables and display focal points, it’s a low cost refurbishment – but no less effective for it.

Instead, it demonstrates how effective store planning, layout and presentation techniques (VM) and professional retail execution can deliver high levels of brand competence, without the need for expensive capital investment. All too often, this can overshadow the measure of true retail competence – distracting from, and over compensating for, weaknesses in store team capability to deliver simple tasks, to a high standard. Getting the basics of good retail right is an often crucial but forgotten component of creating brand credibility and trust in the shoppers mind, and delivering a great shopping experience.

 

VM has been managed with […] expertise and high retail standards.

Denim is one of the strongest departments for both men and women and is a testament to the capability of the team running the store. Clear product choice is presented on both perimeter walls and tables in both women’s and men’s areas. A combination of flat folding and hanging presentation methods are used, with illuminated signage and coordinated casual merchandise. VM has been managed with promotional clarity, presentation expertise and high retail standards.

 

A staple of the American casual wardrobe, it is a perennial for Gap.

As a brand, Gap is famous for Chinos. A staple of the American casual wardrobe, it is a perennial for Gap. Like the denim category, it presents a constant challenge of how to keep this rarely changing category looking fresh. Here this has been achieved by integrating the latest, colour coordinated ‘smart casual’ seasonal merchandise.

VM techniques that were made first popular by Gap including ‘locker-rooming’ (the practice of presenting colour coordinated product options vertically) show they still have a role to play in retail. Here they are used it to great effect for sweatpants, sweatshirts, caps and socks – creating an authentic ‘gym inspired’ fitness wear look.

 

It reminds us of what “Good Looks Like” for the Gap brand…

All in all, it is apparent where the credit for revitalising this store should lie – almost solely with the store team. Together, they have executed VM guidelines with great skill, and clearly continue to implement and manage ongoing store standards with meticulous precision.

Without headline-grabbing technology innovation or intricate architectural details, the store simply delivers easy, inspiring shopping, and we can’t fault that. It reminds us of what “Good Looks Like” for the Gap brand (so often today a rare find…), and it’s once famous levels of retail execution consistency. Above all, it is proof, if it were needed, that a store doesn’t have to be new to delight.

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