Gap Marketing Strategy

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorUniversity, Master's November 2001

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The Gap is a clothing company that specializes in contemporary, urban clothing with a mid-range pricing scheme. They have stores located all over the globe in countries such as the United States, Canada, France, Germany, Japan and the United Kingdom. Gap was founded in 1969 by a real estate developer who was in search of a well-organized and well-stocked jeans store. The store was named after "the generation gap" and originally sold Levis jeans. In 1974, they developed their own private clothing label and by 1991 began selling only their private label brand. Gap introduced its website in 1997. The following year, in 1998, Gap's stock increased 138.4%. In 2000, though, their stock fell 44 %. ( Clothing is a basic and necessary need, but the companies in Gap's market segment produce items that satisfy more than this basic need. Their customers are looking for style and quality at a reasonable price.

In this specific market segment, major brand forces dominate the retail clothing industry: brand recognition is incredibly important. Some major players in this industry who are specific competitors of the Gap are J Crew, Abercrombie & Fitch, American Eagle Outfitters, Structure, and The Limited. These companies target the same markets as the Gap and produce similar styles. The strengths and weaknesses of each player in this industry are largely indistinguishable. J Crew stands out with a strong catalog channel. However, their bricks and mortar presence is weak, which is a problem when bricks and mortar retail reels in nine out of ten dollars spent by the average consumer as noted at But within their "young urban" microcosm, the Gap stands out with an innovative and changing product line: Abercrombie & Fitch, American Eagle, Structure, and the Limited have very specific styles that remain constant year after...