Gap's Logo Center Fills Hole in Corporate Apparel

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Gap Inc. Business Direct introduced a customization program called the Logo Center for its corporate apparel effort, which skews slightly toward women.

The program adds and customizes logos of companies that buy apparel and accessories from the Gap Inc. Business Direct catalog. The idea is to help customers motivate and reward their own clients or employees with corporate apparel or accessories that are fashionable and well fitting.

"We took very special care for the women's items," said Keith Mercier, senior director of Gap Inc. Business Direct, San Francisco. "We found in the marketplace that companies were buying men's items in very small sizes and giving them to women. What we decided is, 'Let's give women women's clothes and let's add more styling details to give it a feminine look like stretch fabric, a little bit of a slimmer so she can feel good about what she's wearing.'"

The Logo Center offers a couple options. The first, called "The Works," is premium customization with the widest selection of options for corporate logos. Choices include glitter transfers, sueded embroidery and a range of lettering fonts and layouts.

The second option is "The Basics," implying standard customization. All customers have to do is supply their logo and inform Gap Inc. Business Direct where they wish the logo to appear on the apparel or accessory.

In both cases, customers or prospects can call a toll-free number or go online to inquire or place the order. Gap Inc. Business Direct also will offer to send a sample as part of the order process.

Such new logo functionality is touted in Gap Inc. Business Direct's third catalog next month, going to a list of 50,000 in line with its April and July drops last year. The books promote Gap Inc.'s Gap and Old Navy corporate apparel and accessories, with Banana Republic coming on board this spring.

The February catalog has 30-plus Gap and Old Navy items and 10 Banana Republic non-apparel products like cuff links, leather journals and wallets, and jewelry holders that can be customized. Prices range from $14.50 to $59.50.

This initiative targets users of promotional products in the travel, human resources and marketing sectors. Gap Inc. Business Direct is reaching out to a cross-section of its house file via e-mail and catalogs, including some retail customers who were receptive to the idea.

Catalogers L.L. Bean and Lands' End are experts at customizing their retail line of apparel and accessories to appeal to corporations for branding and promotional purposes. But there are other apparel marketers with lesser brands who entice customers more through price than quality and fit.

Mercier is confident the Logo Center program will appeal, especially as the Banana Republic line and more customization features are added.

"What we're trying to do is bring Gap, Old Navy and Banana Republic to a marketplace that doesn't offer a lot of choice and selection or brands, with special attention to women," Mercier said. "The main opportunity is that as a buyer of corporate apparel, you don't have a lot of choices of fashion or style. And typically, the brands that participate are not well known by your customers in the retail market."

Mickey Alam Khan covers Internet marketing campaigns and e-commerce, agency news as well as circulation for DM News and DMNews.com. To keep up with the latest developments in these areas, subscribe to our daily and weekly e-mail newsletters by visiting www.dmnews.com/newsletters

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