Gap History Case Study- From the Beginning

Gap History Case Study- From the Beginning

Gap has been in existence for well over five decades, and it’s one of the top classical and popular clothing line retailers in America. This business has been making a tremendous impact on the clothing line and the US economy. Donald Fisher and his wife Doris Fisher founded “The Gap Inc’s clothing line in 1969, which started as a single store and has grown to be an empire of so many franchises today. Getting a complete knowledge of Gap History will enable you to gain insight into its massive expansion and how it was able to attain popularity. This article review will give every detail about Gap and its vibrant marketing campaign; without delay, let’s learn about Gap’s History from top to bottom. 

Gap History- How It Started

Gap initially didn’t start as a trendy brand; it began as a desire to get the right fitting jean. It was a single store in San Francisco, selling jeans to satisfy people’s fashion tastes. Donald and Doris founded “The Gap” on August 21st, 1969, on Ocean Avenue in San Francisco, California. This duo said their sole aim to start the store was that they couldn’t find fitting jeans to wear, which

led to the business idea. Donald was fascinated with selling clothing in chain stores, and he also saw the need to satisfy the need for good-fitting jeans; with this dream in mind, he ventured into a clothing line.

Donald and Doris created a solution to the dilemma that most young people find themselves in about getting the right clothes. The couple raised $63,000 to open their first store in San Francisco. The name of the store was initially “Pants and Discs,” but later changed to “The Gap,” which is a short form for “the generation gap.” The store began selling jeans from Levis Strauss, and it also sold recorders; the store sold recorders to attract youngsters indirectly

For over five decades, the Gap has been committed to satisfying the needs of young people. As a result, the company started to bridge the difference between the adult and the young fashion-wise. The company has varieties of clothes, such as Gap’s casual, well-made jeans, khakis, and t-shirts, which have become the trend of American fashion worn by all ages and for all economic backgrounds.

The Growth of the Company 

Initially, the Fisher didn’t think that Gap would make waves; opening a small store on Ocean Avenue was just a stepping stone little did they know that it would bring so much fortune to date. However, with the growth of Gap, it has become impossible not to see the Gap logo or shirt anywhere. The gap store gained popularity in no distant time; it became the go-to store for jeans and T-shirts at an accessible price. In 1969, the store started with Men’s jeans and record tapes for sale. By the second year of operation, the store had gained popularity in the fashion industry.

Having recorded such progress within the second year of operation, Fisher decided to expand the store; they got another store in San Jose, which became the second Gap store; it was 6,500 square feet, half of the space as a stock room; it sold Levi jeans for girls. The second store opened in 1970; with the rapid growth of sales and popularity, the Fishers established a corporate headquarters in Burlingame in 1971. In addition to this, they expanded their market, owning 25 stores in different locations and expanding massively to the east coast in 1973. Despite the expansion, the company still focused on jeans, with Levi’s as their top brand among the clothes they sold. 

A Change in Tides

Subsequently, the company grew over the years; within four years of operation, it had made a profit worth $15million per annual sales. The company had a good campaign marketing strategy. Radio and television put up ads for “Fall into the Gap”; to encourage people to buy fashionable and affordable clothes at the Gap stores. With this marketing strategy, by 1976, the Gap already had 200 stores across the United States. However, Gap History faced challenges because Levi’s brand no longer allowed their jeans to be on sale but sold at the same price as Levi’s company. Although the Federal Trade Commission passed a rule that manufacturers should not order stores to charge a minimum fee, with this new order, Gap experienced a fall in the profit margin because a lot of stores slashed their prices on Levi’s clothes.

While the slash on Levi’s jeans in other stores became alarming, the need for jeans began to dwindle. The change in Gap history tides took place in the early 1980s. By this time, Fisher recognized and took the necessary steps to revive the company’s growth. This is where the company’s rebranding came into play.

Gap History – Rebranding the Company 

In 1976, after the slash in Levi’s price on jeans, Gap became famous; it began to produce its clothing, caps, and other wear alongside Levi’s jeans. This time, Gap chose to start its in-house production and gave it a new label, “Gap Fashion Pioneers.” With this, Fisher attracted considerable network interest, and he made his public stock offering of $1.2million, which got sold out at $18 per share.

In the 1980s, Gap decided to add to its portfolio, which led to the company buying the Banana Republic and a mail-order business in 1983, San Francisco, which was in Mill Valley, California. The new store at Mill Valley had a brand that drew a lot of youngsters to it. It had African safari-themed clothes made with khaki. Banana yielded so many sales, making Gap earn so much profit.

To rebrand the Gap company, Fisher hired Millard Mickey Drexler, a retail expert in the clothing line; he changed the chain store of women’s clothing known as Ann Taylor under Gap. He sold off old products on the shelves and in the stores by slashing the price, increasing Gap’s sales. However, Millard realized that the long-term customers of the Gap company, who were becoming older and had different tastes in clothing, wanted a more trendy style. So Millard turned up the fashion sense of the company, changed things a little differently from usual, and made sure everything produced and sold was designed by Gap company and given the “Gap” private label. 

Gap History- Marketing Strategy

It has not been quite a rosy one for Gap all through the years, but they could keep up even with the pandemic and other challenges. You might be curious to know how Gap was able to keep up; this part of the article will tell you what Gap has done to stay on top of its game.

Product Expansion Strategy

Gap initially focused on classic jeans, shirts, caps, and jackets in different colors. The company’s growth moved into new apparel and opened a store Gapkids. In addition to this, the company started Gapbody for athletic wear and intimate apparel. Gap history also shows that the company launched BabyGap, a clothing line for babies. The company didn’t stop there in its expansion journey. Gap acquired other clothing brands such as Old Navy for family wear, Athleta consisting of active women’s wear, Hill city, Janie, and jack for high-quality children’s wear and intermix. However, Gap created partnerships with different firms to expand its network, enabling it to cater to local and international customers.

Company’s Placement Strategy 

Over the years, Gap has expanded its local and global market; its products are accessible in different stores for purchase worldwide in 3,000 functioning stores. In addition, it has over 500 franchise stores in other countries and its e-commerce sites. Although Gap could top the industry and maintain its status as the largest retail company, Gap History significantly influences its growth. Gap owns many stores to improve working relationships with partners and the business itself; Gap became versatile by creating a close working relationship with its suppliers and collaborating with international NGOs.

Promotion and Pricing Strategy 

Gap provides various incentives to its customers to promote sales on its online platform to encourage consistency in buying. This includes e-gift cards used in purchasing goods on all sites and stores. With these gift cards, online products purchased get delivered in time with the offers of a personal message. In addition, one of Gap’s strategies is promoting its products through advertisement, and the company’s campaigns are pretty impressive. For example, it used the black and white magazine, and Vogue magazine featured celebrities wearing Gap outfits alongside other items from the company. 

Gap history reflects several commercials with celebrities who advertised their clothing line. Additionally, Gap has been successful in advertising and marketing, with strategic tools satisfying its customers with what they love. Gap trendy taglines are the primary promotional sales technique. In addition, Gap promoted its brands by organizing a competition and gifting GAP products and accessories.

However, Gap has a very competitive pricing strategy, so it began to lose to other retail brands in the fashion line. Gap made the mark by optimizing the cost of its quality product at a reduced price. The company also integrated a mix of its product line and psychological pricing technique. Throughout Gap History, its pricing strategy has been to provide an affordable clothing line for its target audience. As a result, Gap created a balance in its market strategy. Therefore, it offered products easily accessible to budget-conscious consumers and delivered products to the upper class.

Final Thoughts 

Gap history reflects that the company is one of the most notable brands in the retail industry. The company is famous for its business practice and influence in the fashion industry. Gap also implemented several solutions in its stores to make shopping easy for consumers. As a result, you can easily walk into any Gap store to get affordable and quality clothing. As a result, the company successfully satisfies its customers’ needs while providing excellent customer service. Despite the challenges Gap has faced over the years, it stands tall and continually delivers top-quality products at affordable prices to its customers.

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