When Gap.com re-launched with a new site design a year ago, it left out a site search function-a key tool of most apparel sites-until it develops one that supports the experience Gap offers in shopping for outfits, Gap.com general manager Will Hunsinger tells Internet Retailer.
“We don’t want to put up something on our site just to have it,” says Hunsinger, who is also a vice president of Gap Inc., No. 24 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide to Retail Web Sites. “A lot of times we see interesting shopping features that come out into the marketplace, and retailers put them on their site whether or not they fit within the experience they’re trying to craft on their site.”
When Gap relaunched Gap.com, as well as its sister sites BananaRepublic.com and OldNavy.com, industry experts noted that it set new standards for how online retailers can leverage broadband-supported rich media. Mousing over product displays, for example, activates a “QuickLook” feature that can be clicked to pop up a checkout window, where mousing over images shows real-time availability of the feature product’s sizes and colors.
And shoppers can continue to shop for additional products without leaving the checkout page, supporting Gap’s strategy of encouraging customers to shop for outfits.
“Customers trust us for our fashion point of view and for help in putting together an entire look,” Hunsinger says. “We want to make sure our online shopping features are an extension of our store shopping experience.”
But, for now, site search doesn’t support that strategy, Hunsinger says, adding that Gap doesn’t want to support “spearfishing” for individual products through a search function.
For a preview of what type of site search might eventually appear on Gap.com, Hunsinger says, shoppers can visit Gap Inc.’s new footwear retail site, Piperlime.com, which offers a pull-down menu within the search window to search by product category.
“When we launch site search on Gap.com, it will be similar to the site search on Piperlime,” Hunsinger says. “We want it to go along with the overall customer experience.”