Gap Goes Rogue With Social Media & Mobile

Gap Groupon

Gap’s khaki- and basics-focused clothing may not be cutting edge, but its approach to technology is.  The retailer, not exactly known for being hip these days, has embraced social and mobile media in an effort to stay relevant among the millennial generation of consumers (shoppers between 25 and 35 years old).

Along with their Facebook-based royal wedding promotion, Gap has partnered with companies like Visa (to test out mobile payments and discounting) and Foursquare (offering a discount in exchange for a check-in) to increase foot traffic to physical stores.  And of course, they’ve tested the waters with Groupon, offering a pay-$25-for-$50-worth-of-merch group-buying deal.

As they look forward, however, the retailer is mostly focusing on Facebook, and Gap is not afraid to experiment.  A promotion giving away free jeans through the social network met with some criticism –  though Gap viewed it as a success, since the 10,000-item limit on the giveaway was reached the morning the promotion launched.

Of course, the question now is whether people checking in on Facebook Places in exchange for new denim turned into repeat (or even first-time) customers, or were they just lucky folks who copped free jeans?  An initial study indicates it’s the latter, but it’s difficult to draw any conclusions about how a social media blitz gets inside shoppers’ heads.  At any rate, some of those jeans will eventually wear out, and the freebie-receivers will need new pairs — and then the question morphs into how the Gap will go about measuring whether they came back as repeat buyers.