Due in part to the brand's creative pre-launch campaign, Gap's official entry into India launched a franchise record-breaking turnout, with more than 2,500 people lined up to be among the first to shop the new Delhi store. Bollywood star Kangana Ranaut greeted shoppers and signed T-shirts in store and four lucky customers, who were waiting to be among the first to shop, won a surprise styling session and outfit. Gap logo items and women's denim were among the first items to fly off store shelves.
In the days leading up to the opening, the brand built excitement through a unique onsite pop-up experience where people could take a photo and share it on social media for a chance to get a 'Jump The Queue' token for opening day. More than 5,000 people participated in a span of just five days, and #GapIndia appeared more than 7 million times on Twitter and Instagram.
Gap was also able to pull off a particularly cool pre-launch feat that involved taking over the entire façade of the Select City Walk mall in the nights leading up to the opening, which marks the brand's entrance into its 45th country.
"Working closely with our franchise partner and the mall management, we were able have them bend all the rules and we turned the No. 1 mall in Delhi Gap blue for the launch week," said Ben Wittman, Senior Director of Franchise Marketing. "It is the first time such a powerful brand domination was achieved in India, and we were all very proud to be a part of it. We felt so welcome in Delhi and had such a positive reaction to Gap's arrival."
Other activities included press previews in Mumbai and Delhi, cross-channel "Hello" campaign branding citywide, a press conference and a VIP launch party that resulted in countless press coverage across fashion and business media outlets.
Opening the first Gap store in India was a long time in the works, and required a lot of dedication and hard work from the entire Franchise team.
Last August, we announced that Gap would enter a Franchise agreement with Arvind to bring the brand to India. There was much to do in nine months to make the 10,000-square-foot store come to life.
In order to support the Franchise partners, teams from Visual Merchandising, Learning & Development, Store Design, Regional Operations, PR and Marketing were on site to support the launch. VM and L&D teams helped the franchise team learn and execute Gap standards for product presentation, sales staff training and operational excellence. The L&D team conducted a two-day training session on Gap's heritage, brand values and service model for 50 Arvind employees, while the VM and Regional Operations teams organized for the entire store to be set up in just five days.
Countless hours of training and coaching — and nearly 2,000 hours of manpower — went into the store's opening. There was even special time set aside before the official opening for a traditional Indian blessing for prosperity, called a Puja.
Gap is committed to expanding in India with a few more spaces lined up in Delhi for this year, and then Mumbai early next year.