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Art Peck’s Keynote Presentation at Shoptalk

In 1977, Mr. Peck received his degree from Occidental College in Los Angeles, and he earned his MBA from Harvard Business School in 1979. Art Peck is the president and chief executive officer of Gap, Inc. When he started with Gap in 2005, he was the vice president of strategy and operations.

Gap is a well-known brand that was founded 50 years ago and has a loyal customer base. Recently, Mr. Peck gave a keynote presentation at Shoptalk in Las Vegas. During his presentation, he went into detail about four key areas that retailers need to uphold to meet the rising demands of customer expectations.

Four days before his presentation, Mr. Peck announced that Gap Inc. plans to develop two publicly traded companies that are independent. One company would be Old Navy and the other company, which is yet to be named, will feature the Gap brand, Banana Republic, Intermix, Hill City, and Athleta. Mr. Peck believes that the Gap splitting from the Old Navy will create strong and independent brands.

What Were the Main Factors of Mr. Peck’s Keynote Speech?

Mr. Peck explained that retailers have fallen into the habit of having customers think channel as opposed to brand experience. To give Gap an upper edge, Mr. Peck stated that the company has started using numerous solutions. For instance, real-time inventory updates can be easily shared between stores and distribution centers. Art Peck stated that he wants to allow Gap shoppers to frictionlessly and seamlessly shop for an enhanced customer experience.

Art Peck also stated access is another factor that can’t be sacrificed. Gap recently closed 230 stores. However, Mr. Peck stated that these stores didn’t close because Gap has too many locations, but these stores were closed because they were in the wrong places. Mr. Peck believes that traditional shopping malls are not the best route for retailers. In fact, he noted that a Gap store in California, which is strategically located near Trader Joe’s, is doing two- to three-times better than Gap stores in shopping malls.

According to Peck, service is a must. While about 88 percent of clothing purchases are made in-store, online shopping continues to rise in popularity. Peck wants to improve the customer experience so that shoppers will want to visit a store instead of making a purchase online. He said retailers need to take a longitudinal view of the target customer for a more personalized in-store experience. He said there are many issues to address when it comes to customer service, which include long checkout lines, out-of-stock items, sizing issues, unpleasant customer service associates, and more.

Lastly, Mr. Peck states that the apparel and textile industry are the two leading industries that cause pollution. He said Gap is trying to make a difference. For instance, one of its brands, Athleta, shortened its supply chain to 10 weeks, which is much better than the previous supply chain that took nearly one year to complete. Mr. Peck stated that retail organizations mush change or they will fail.

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