Sunday, October 14, 2007
Mind the GAP
Though not visible to customers, just about every corner of the GAP has a title; the après ski lounge, the martini bar...these are just a couple of the names that the GAP visual merchandising headquarters gives to designate the “effects” they want their display teams to achieve in each store. One or twice a season, the merchandising headquarters sends out a lookbook to each store with pictures of how the displays should be arranged. Based in the store layout, merchandisers are allowed to improvise, but the team from headquarters is always patrolling to make sure that the displays correspond with the GAP’s image and maximize advertising.
“We used to just put one thing on a mannequin,” said Eddie Calcano, head of visual merchandising at the GAP Rockefeller Center for the past 9 years. “But now we’ve started to layer things to give a more ‘boutique’ feel. You’ll see scarves, bags, belts, shoes and other accessories arranged together so that we’re showing a complete picture. We’ve found that customers like that.”
Two years ago, the women’s floor at the GAP was on the first floor, but it was discovered that few men ever shopped in the store. They would leave without bothering to go upstairs, believing that the store was exclusively for women.
“As soon as we moved men to the first floor, more men would come in. We didn’t lose the female customers either; you don’t have to worry about women finding their department. If there’s something for them, they’ll find it.”