May 28, 2008, 12:00 AM

Gap fills in the gaps between shopping its multiple web sites

A new feature allows shoppers at Gap.com, OldNavy.com, BananaRepublic.com and PiperLime.com to click between the various web stores, select merchandise and then use one shopping cart to complete a purchase.

Gap Inc., which does almost all of its e-commerce technology development internally, is further consolidating all four of its e-commerce brands onto a single platform.

A new navigation feature allows shoppers at Gap.com, OldNavy.com, BananaRepublic.com and PiperLime.com to click between the various web stores, select merchandise and then use one shopping cart to complete a purchase. Previously shoppers had to make a separate selection and purchase on each of the retailer’s various web sites.

In conjunction with easier navigation and checkout, Gap, No. 24 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide, also is introducing a flat $7 shipping fee and packaging orders made on its different sites into a single box. Orders from PiperLime, an online shoe store Gap launched in 2006, will ship separately, but continue to include free shipping and returns.

“We’re offering our customers the ease and convenience of shopping our four brands online with only one check-out,” says Gap Inc. Direct president Toby Lenk. “Universality allows us to leverage the strength of our brands and still maintain each brand’s identity.”

The updated web site features and flat-rate shipping is expected to help build customer loyalty for Gap’s e-commerce sites, which represent the retailer’s fastest growing channel. In the first quarter ended May 3, Gap grew its online sales by 21.3% to $236 million from $195 million in the prior year. In comparison, comparable sales dropped by 11% while total revenue declined by 4.8% to $3.38 billion from $3.55 billion in the first quarter of 2007. The web accounted for 7% of first quarter sales.

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