Will an enhanced rewards program turn Gap’s customers into ‘lifelong loyalists’?
Gap Inc. announced yesterday that it has integrated the rewards issued under its various banners — Athleta, Banana Republic, Gap, Old Navy — into a single program, making it easier and faster for its multi-brand loyalists to earn points and reap benefits.
Members earn brand exclusive benefits, bonuses and other special perks when they join the program. They earn points no matter what chain they shop that can be used there or any of the other three under the Gap Inc. umbrella.
The new program will award members who use a Gap credit card with five points for every dollar they spend at one of the retailer’s properties. Those members using other forms of payment will earn a point for every dollar spent.
Gap, which began a relaunch of its program in the fall of last year, said it has signed up 19 million new members since then. That brings total membership for its credit card and rewards program to 37 million.
John Strain, chief customer, digital and technology officer at Gap Inc., said that the company’s goal for its new program was to convert “customers into lifelong loyalists.”
The retailer is seeking to recruit new members by rewarding them more quickly than it did with its previous program. Members are now able to use their points in increments of 100 rather than 500 as previously done.
Those who sign up for the free program are grouped into three categories — Core, Enthusiast and Icon — depending on purchases. Each move up the ladder results in greater perks.
Gap’s program also allows members who are less motivated by personal rewards to use their purchases to support worthy causes. They may use points to make contributions to one of five funds: Athleta Power of She Fund, Banana Republic BR x World Wildlife Fund, Gap DoSomething.org, Gap Inc. Equal Justice Initiative and Old Navy Imagine Mission Fund.
“We heard loud and clear from our most loyal customers that they value brands that are a force for good in the world,” said Chris Samway, head of rewards, loyalty & payments at Gap Inc. “With this in mind, we set out to design a program that gives our members opportunities to help make our communities stronger through programs that empower and support women, youth and the underserved, and bolsters our commitment to driving social change.”
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DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Will Gap’s new rewards program complement other actions the retailer is taking to solidify its operations and boost its various brand profiles? Do you think that the various elements of the rewards will help Gap in converting customers into lifelong loyalists as it hopes to do?