After months of experimenting with features that bridge the gap between physical and digital retail — including “buy online, pickup in store” and mobile point of sales for store employees — Old Navy has expanded its efforts nationally.
The integrated retail strategy, which rolled out to all stores earlier this month, allows users to place orders from Old Navy’s desktop or mobile site and then collect them in physical retail locations across the U.S. Shoppers can also now make immediate purchases from employees in store using mobile checkout capabilities. The expansion comes after the brand first experimented with BOPIS in select stores in Chicago and San Francisco earlier this year.
Steve Stickel, evp of global stores and operations, said focusing on digital has been an all-encompassing focus for the company, but particularly for its sales associates and physical retail employees. To better promote services like BOPIS and mobile point of sales, Old Navy began incentivizing employees based on multichannel sales, though Stickel did not clarify what form specifically these incentives have taken.
“It’s a multifaceted approach focused on putting technology at the fingertips of our brand associates,” he said, regarding mobile sales. “We want to be able to deliver a mobile transaction in-store with ease and efficiency when they’re on the floor. Having that device, we can order it for her on the spot and have it shipped for free.”
Stickel said the test markets allowed Old Navy to test a variety of factors and use consumer feedback and sales data to determine how to best replicate it. For example, one such decision was where, specifically in the store, consumers should pick up their online orders, and after trying different locations and monitoring feedback, the team settled on a separate pick-up location adjacent to the cash registers.
A new “buy online, pick up in store” stand in an Old Navy store (Courtesy of Old Navy)
The push builds upon larger initiatives to streamline the e-commerce and in-store experiences by Old Navy’s parent company, Gap Inc. Across the brand portfolio — which includes Gap, Banana Republic and Athleta — the company has prioritized testing new digital platforms, including an app for Gap employees that reports on real-time inventory to help anticipate staffing needs. While BOPIS is nothing particularly new, traditional mass retailers have been slower to take on the tactic, in an effort to conjoin their physical and digital retail businesses.
“If you look at the course of Old Navy and how it’s evolved in the past few years, there’s been a big cultural shift around meeting the needs of our customers using [new tools],” said Blair Dunn, svp and general manager of Old Navy online.
For Old Navy, which has continued to report strong sales as the top-performing brand in the Gap, Inc. portfolio, adding mobile and digital in-store integrations will prove vital as the brand continues to grow. Unlike its sister brands, which are scaling back their physical retail footprint, Old Navy is in the process of opening more than 60 new stores in North America this year. These locations, in addition to the 150 undergoing remodeling, will be important incubators for experimentation with merchandising and marketing, Dunn said.
“It’s not just about transactions; it’s about meeting expectations and equipping [sales associates] with the ability to do that,” Dunn said.