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Why Iconic Retail Brands like Gap, Inc. Need to Invest in Platforming their Brand

Hey, Gap, Inc! We see your hard work. Dedicating hundreds of hours to training employees, countless promotions emailed out to your customer base, and an expensive design team to keep your brand portfolio fresh. While this is the norm for most retail powerhouses, capturing and retaining quality customers requires more than just a large budget — you’ve got to be ahead of the game to stay competitive.

Apparel trends aim towards more shifting inventory, more images and description assets to manage. Brand portfolio strength is important - How can Gap, Inc. ensure the whole portfolio is staying on brand?

According to financial press releases, Gap Inc.’s net retail sales in 2017 amounted to about $15.9 billion overall in the US, and it’s only growing with the increased use of technology in retail stores. With this increased use of technology inevitably comes more digital assets across your platforms, online and in-person. Whether it’s through your e-commerce site or brick and mortar stores, all brand-related marketing materials, product shots, and social media content created for Gap, Inc is stored in some sort of asset management system.

Rather than storing important assets in a simple shared folder, the sophisticated taxonomy of a digital asset management (DAM) platform, like Brandfolder, can foster a consistent brand identity and optimize communication internally. Gap Inc., with a global presence, a strong e-commerce platform and thousands of stores across the country, we believe you could skyrocket your productivity and efficiency between all of your departments by investing in a DAM for your retail branding.

In this post, we’ll highlight how e-commerce experiences can benefit from a DAM solution. We’ll also discuss the future of DAM in retail, and how it will help to deliver an immersive digital brand experience for customers.

Gap Inc. Focus on Personalization with E-commerce

In order for Gap, Inc to retain a strong e-commerce presence, it’s important for you to be continuously aligning your products with the latest fashion and industry trends, and that’s not just limited to your marketing efforts. This includes constantly changing visual content across sites and social channels, and spending a significant amount of time to make sure assets are up to date. Having a global presence usually results in having multiple chefs in the branding kitchen across different offices, regions, or agencies.

When experimenting and testing different online experiences, personalization quickly becomes important.The key to personalization is having the content or rich assets to serve up. Retail brands get more value out of personalization and their creative assets by making them easy to organize, access and distribute.

By utilizing a DAM system as the source of truth for approved marketing assets, regardless of where your employees are in the world, they’ll have easy access to updated digital content and fewer questions to ask about what asset to use and where. Speaking of easy access: For a company like Gap, Inc with hundreds of thousands of SKUs, assets can be tough to organize and even harder to find quickly. Fortunately, Gap, Inc’s product level metadata (like SKU, category, season, etc.) can be piped into the DAM and mapped as custom fields. For users who are searching for a specific assets, those custom fields are surfaced as search filters for quick and easy discoverability.

Tired of emailing a long list of people each time there’s a change to your brand assets? Well, you’re in luck — Brandfolder’s Smart Asset Embedding feature powers all of your external facing assets on your e-commerce site or website directly from your Brandfolder. Instead of wasting time reaching out to every vendor or distributor who has your brand assets on their website, this feature will immediately update the assets to reflect changes to images. Once you update it in Brandfolder, it’ll update across the world!

Even better, instead of fussing over creating various file formats and sizes that different sites require, Smart Embed (Brandfolder’s CDN) enables dynamic formatting and resizing right from the embed link. The feature structurally groups related imagery (similar to a ‘product media kit’), and provides access to multiple files with a single CDN embed link. No more back-and-forth between designers to snag the perfect file — let Brandfolder do it for you.

The Future of Brand Health in Retail

It’s essential for retailers to preserve their brand awareness on mobile, deliver content in real-time and create a cohesive digital experience through all of their channels. With companies like Amazon offering same-day delivery, speed and convenience will also become two major factors in the retail game — and bingo, it’ll be all possible digitally. Saving consumers’ time and simplifying their daily shopping routine will become key, and the businesses who embrace this early on will ultimately win. For marketers, pumping out evergreen content (like images, product shots or marketing materials) multiple times a day to attract new customers can quickly become a logistical nightmare.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) has also started popping up across the world of retail. One of the most well-known examples is when UNIQLO launched their “Magic Mirror” technology a few years ago: a large digital mirror that let customers virtually try clothes on in different colors while posting to their social media. This groundbreaking technology instantly boosted their brand awareness and attracted attention from many in the retail space. While AI is seen as futuristic and ahead of the game, people don’t realize how often they already use AI — like when they’re browsing in Netflix’s “recommended” section or click on a suggested product in Shopbop’s search bar. Consumers have become accustomed to interacting with customer support chatbots, virtual shoppers (think Stitch Fix), and their trusty Google Home.

In the realm of retail, companies like Gap, Inc. have an especially challenging job when it comes to maintaining massive libraries of digital content. Not only do retailers have to keep track of these assets, but they can be subjected to steep fines for using content that they haven’t licensed for specific uses. New advancements in the Digital Rights Management field will allow marketers to set expiration dates to automate asset viewability, and will even be able to scan the web to detect expired images, videos, or other brand assets in the wild. In addition, new features like image recognition will use AI to detect images and recommend similar assets within your asset management platform. With DAM on their side, marketers will have more time to work on what actually matters, like launching their next campaign or exploring new verticals.

Gap, Inc with your fifty year legacy and timeless pieces, it’s easy to lean back and think your work is done — but customers are ruthless and you’ve got to keep delivering. Only the truly innovative retail brands will survive, and DAM will be the best partner-in-crime in helping you succeed for decades to come.

Want to learn more about Brandfolder and how it can help your retail business beat the competition?