A Perspective on Gap’s Recent Announcement to Sell on Amazon’s Marketplace

Spieckerman Retail, President, Carol Spieckerman provides her perspective on Gap’s recent announcement to sell on Amazon’s marketplace. What is the impact of this on the strategy for big brand eCommerce launches of proprietary marketplaces? Amazon’s marketplace has become so popular that even big brands are turning to it instead of building their own.

Carol’s Thoughts:

“Can something be smart and desperate at the same time? I think that might be the question here. But either way, gap partnering with Amazon isn’t necessarily a bad thing. One of my top retail trajectories is that brand ubiquity is the new exclusivity. In other words, brands have all kinds of options these days, and the smart ones are pursuing more than one at a time.

Gap’s store fleet, and physical presence, have been greatly reduced since the days when they had hundreds of stores and there was one around every corner. So if they’re gonna partner with an online marketplace to fill that hole, why not go big or go home? Not to mention the fact that Amazon drives search and reviews and brand awareness that’s critical to driving traffic to gap’s own e-commerce platform and its stores.

And speaking of going big, when Gap decided to branch out into new, a new category of home goods, who do they partner with? Walmart. So this isn’t exactly unprecedented. But make no mistake, it’s not a replacement strategy. The Amazon partnership isn’t meant to replace any of Gap’s other channels. It really is an augmentation and expansion strategy.

And on the brand Integrity front, some folks have been saying that Gap is losing control of its brand by partnering with Amazon. Keep in mind that third-party sellers are already selling GAP products on Amazon’s platform. So it’s not like this is a big coming-out party on Amazon for Gap. You could even say that it has Gap taking more control of its brand on that platform by making it official and being more intentional about its presence there.

So I wouldn’t necessarily call this a death spiral for Gap, but it might be a last gas.”

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