Gap backwards Matt 01 Dec 2005

21 comments Latest by will

gap image

What’s wrong with this message from According to Power to the People at A List Apart, the emphasis is off.

They’re saying the right things, only they’ve got them backwards. “Latest technologies”, “innovative tools,” and “new features” are pretty much meaningless if the “shopping experience” isn’t better. Now, I don’t want to pick on Gap, but this illustrates (rather well) the point I’m trying to make: Put the people first, then devise simple solutions — the experience is what matters.

21 comments so far (Jump to latest)

Adam Thody 01 Dec 05

They’re kidding right? Open in Safari.

Kyle Posey 01 Dec 05

Are simple solutions really better for everyone though? If I were smarter, I would argue that consumers don’t necessarily migrate towards the simpler solutions. Flashy & obtrusive marketing and complicated sales structures seem to bring in the cash. It’s kinda like “confuse the consumer into buying more”.

Rimantas 01 Dec 05

It becomes more and more difficult to “confuse the consumer into buying more”. And even if you succeed he is not likely to
be fooled by you second time, so you’ve lost a customer.

As for simple vs. complex solutions - people care about benefits, not about number of features.

Beth 01 Dec 05

Does this mean their site works in other browsers now?

Ara Pehlivanian 01 Dec 05

Yeah, but isn’t “listening” when the people “speak” putting them first? I think the emphasis is on the fact that they did what the people wanted. The people wanted the “latest technologies”, “innovative tools” and “new features.” It seems okay to me.

Rimantas 01 Dec 05

Ara, putting people first means providing them with what they indeed want, not what they say they want.
It may be confusing, but it’s very important and far reaching difference :)

Matt 01 Dec 05

Ugh, browser sniffing code a mile long. No wonder Safari “isn’t supported.” This is the best: var isT = true;

Safari users go here:

Ta Da!

Andrew 01 Dec 05

It was worded with “the people” last so that they would be what you remember about their update.

Albanwr 01 Dec 05

I can’t believe that Gap doesn’t have Safari support with Steve Jobs being on the board and all.
Is he still on the board?

kev 01 Dec 05

Yeah, and that browser override query string parameter really only allows you to see some pages.. the important ones (you know, the product pages) show no data.

Richard 01 Dec 05

No Linux/Firefox support on the site :(

Alison 01 Dec 05

They are rejecting Firefox on Linux as well, which makes no sense if they’re supporting Firefox on Windows and Mac.

I had the same problem with Banana Republic’s site two weeks ago. I wrote customer service (I had to use a non-Linux computer to even access the page where they list an e-mail address), and they gave me a workaround which included changing the browser and OS identification in Firefox’s about:config. So if I masqueraded as Windows, I could get into the site. Big mistake, Gap & Co.

Stu 01 Dec 05

What about linking to gap in the article?? Huh??? Put the people first!!!

Ara Pehlivanian 01 Dec 05

Rimantas: Good point. Often, what they think they want is completely the opposite of what they really want or better yet, what they need.

Jase 01 Dec 05

Gap makes it sound like their customers provided feedback like “I wish you would implement Ajax widgets” and “I think you should create fancy mouse-over effects.” More likely, consumers don’t care about what trendy technologies you’re using — they just want a solid buying experience that works.

I think Gap would be better off if their message simply said: “You spoke. We listened. Based on your feedback, we’ve updated our site to bring you an extraordinary shopping experience.” Harping on latest technologies and innovative tools just sounds like they’re trying to justify their extended downtime and browser incompatibilities by blinding consumers with fancy high-tech mumbo jumbo.

I’m not knocking the “improvements” so much; just suggesting they shouldn’t be the focus of the relaunch message. Heh, I guess that was the point of the original post. :-)

Wesley Walser 01 Dec 05

I like the new quicklook feature, and the shopping cart updates. I use the site quite often, and I have found the update to be a welcome addition.

From a web designers POV however it is quite unfortunate that it doesn’t work in safari. The Linux/Firefox thing is also just stupid since they can support firefox on win/mac.

Rahul 01 Dec 05

Those flash dropdown menus are slooooooow. I feel like there’s a gap in my shopping experience. Hahahaha. …

jw 01 Dec 05

What gets me is the “extraordinary shopping experience.” What, is it a theme park now?

I don’t want a “shopping experience.” I go shopping to buy stuff. It’s not entertainment for me. Sure, I’m a minority, but it still bugs.

I’m reminded of the salespeople at the Disney stores a few years ago (since I haven’t been inside a mall since 2000, I cannot say whether or not this is still the case). It used to be that there was always one employee who was stationed near the entrance. As you walked in, they would shout out, “Hi! Welcome to the Disney Store! Can I help you find anything?” It was like having Eddie from the Hitchhiker’s Guide enter meatspace. Bugged the crap outta me, and I stopped going in there, even when my delightful cherbus whined and begged. Not worth discomfort on my part.

Sure, I know what they were trying to do. But they were trying too hard. I’d much have a “shopping experience” which shows that the merchant actually values the customer. Who treats me like I’m doing them a big favor by shopping there, who considers my wants before they consider how they can maximize their share of my wallet.

will ladda 20 Jan 06

This is why there is a User Agent switcher extention for firefox

then you can choose which browser you want to act like.


will 20 Jan 06

This is why there is a User Agent switcher Extension for firefox

then you can choose which browser you want to act like.