Gap rediscovers e-commerce playbook, a little late

 Image courtesy: Connor Radnovich

Image courtesy: Connor Radnovich

People like to say later is better than never. For Gap Inc.'s sake, let's hope that's true.

The San Francisco apparel retailer, which also runs Banana Republic, Old Navy and Athleta, has struggled to increase sales over the past few years, forcing it to close stores and rethink its position in a fast-changing industry. I previously wrote that Gap was heading toward bankrupcy if it didn't make some big changes to its business model and culture.

I'm happy to say that we're starting to see some of those changes, at least on the cultural side. Consider how a group of tech startups recently visited Gap headquarters to demonstrate innovations in merchandising, supply chain management and mobile apps. The startup founders, who built their companies in the new XRC Labs incubator in New York, spoke to top executives and employees throughout the company.

"By nature, our bias is to do things by ourselves," Sebastian DiGrande, Gap's executive vice president of strategy and chief customer officer, recently told me. "It was very awkward or odd for us to think about collaboration on the customer-facing side."

The XRC Labs event "is a very unsubtle attempt to start shifting culture," DiGrande said. "For sure, my mission is to bring a different mind-set, a different sense of speed, a different sense of what it means to test and learn and to be willing to not necessarily fail but to learn from things that don't work.

Read the full article here.

Nancy Geduldxrc