January 12, 2017
I’ve read many articles over the past year criticizing the retail and fashion industry for its lack of trends—according to many sources there doesn’t seem to be one thing driving the industry or customers to shop. I disagree. The major trend that I see is disruption.
Retail is changing and customers are driving that change through their behavior, in more than choosing a particular style. The industry is in a state of profound transformation which is driving consumers’ expectations. Shoppers expect a lot from retailers today, and they should! With technological advances that allow us to have exactly what we want, when we want it, it’s no surprise that our industry is being turned upside down.
In my position at Gap Inc., I’m responsible for creating experiences that make shopping, checkout and payment easy and secure. To share some of the changes we’ve been making and to speak about the state of retail, yesterday Gap Inc.’s Chief Customer Officer, Sebastian DiGrande, spoke at the FinTech Ideas Festival to share how we, as one of the world’s largest retailers, are approaching innovation and what customers can expect from our brands moving forward.
(left to right) Ryan McInerney, Margaret Keane and Sebastian DiGrande discuss partnerships, innovation and customer experience at the FinTech Ideas Festival
One of the things discussed was the way we approach tests, pilots and partnerships. Our first step is to always ask—will our customers value this? If the answer is yes, our next step is to listen. Then the customer will decide if we are delivering through personalized experiences. And the cycle continues, a never-ending feedback mechanism of listening and evolving.
Over the past year we have focused on becoming more fast-paced and agile. We are adopting a test-and-learn culture so we can listen and pivot to meet changing customer demands. Only when we get this right will we be given opportunity to be with the customer at every step of the shopping journey—from inspiration to purchase to lifelong brand engagement and loyalty…across all channels.
Rest assured, retail stores are not going away, but they will transform and play an evolved role in how we shop in the future. This is one of our tremendous assets—we can test and learn across e-commerce and a large fleet of stores in a family of brands to gauge what resonates with different customer segments. It is an enviable position.
We’re excited to continue this journey and to bring our customers products and experiences they value and that make them want to keep coming back for more. So, tell us what you want to see. We’re listening.
To see what Sebastian DiGrande and leaders at Visa and Synchrony Financial had to say about business partnerships and disruption, watch the discussion here.