American clothing and accessories retailer Gap opts for “queuelike” system of entry as they open store in India
Gap will give tokens to shoppers near the entrance of the mall, allowing them to enter the store in a “queuelike” system instead of jostling their way in.
When American clothing and accessories retailer Gap opens its first store in India on May 30, it wants to avoid something that had happened at smaller rival Zara’s store opening at the same Delhi venue.
Exactly five years and one day earlier when Zara opened its first India store at the Select CityWalk mall in South Delhi’s Saket area, the crowd was too big to manage and there was utter chaos.
The company, though, recorded sales of half a crore on the opening day. Gap will not allow shoppers to rush into the store. In a first in India’s retail space, it will give tokens to shoppers near the entrance of the mall, allowing them to enter the store in a “queuelike” system instead of jostling their way in. Gap is expecting at least 5,000 walk-ins on its first day.
“We are planning to open pop-up stores at the mall where shoppers can be given coupons to enter the mall as we expect a huge crowd on the first day given its (the brand’s) iconic status,” said J Suresh, managing director of Arvind Lifestyle that has partnered with Gap to open more than 40 stores over the next few years.
Globally, it is common for consumers to queue up well in advance for the official opening of marquee brands and during big sales. Customers have stood in lines hours in advance to get their hands on some of Apple’s gadgets. But in India, this is something unheard of and will help Gap break the clutter. “Brands need to create a buzz around their products in this competitive market.
It is getting increasingly difficult, hence, they are creating and innovating during the launch,” said Anand Ramanathan, associate director at consulting firm KPMG. Arvind has already earmarked Rs 4 crore just for Gap’s outdoor campaign, ‘Hello Delhi’, in line with the global strategy of greeting the city when the brand enters it. San Francisco-based Gap has been looking to expand in emerging economies amid stagnating or slowing sales in the US and Europe.
As the world’s second most populated country, India offers an important platform to bring American casual style to consumers around the world, at a time when Indians are increasingly embracing westernstyle clothing. The Indian apparel market is expected to be worth $60 billion by 2020.
Gap, however, will face intense competition from less-pricier, fast fashion rivals such as Zara as well as Uniqlo and H&M, which plan to launch India stores soon. In India, fast fashion brands including Zara, Mango and Vero Moda have a more upscale image than in their home markets.
Gap plans to price its product slightly lower than the US price points. “Gap’s pricing will be one of the lowest in the world, though we will maintain its premium positioning,” said Suresh. Despite Arvind being a longtime Gap supplier globally, its merchandise in India will be imported, he added. Gap is targeting Rs 500 crore of annual sales in three years.
In the first year, it is expecting Rs 60 crore from the maiden store in Delhi. Zara reported Rs 580 crore sales in its fourth year, which ended on March 31, 2014. While the buzz around consumers is still a few weeks away, Gap has managed to gather support from some of the largest American brands in India.
For instance, when Gap India tweeted earlier this week about its store opening, KFC India welcomed it by tweeting: “You know where to grab a bite if you are missing home”. Budweiser too replied: “Welcome to the hood @GapIndia! From one bud to another.”