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Gap Inc.


Project Overview

Gap brands (except Old Navy) were underperforming in terms of customer gift spending during December. 
Project Goal
To help customers feel confident in purchasing meaningful gifts for a person they care about.

Using e-gift cards as a solution to win gifting.

Short-, mid-, and long-term strategies centered on discoverability, incentives, personalization features, and highly visual gifting experience.


My Contributions
Planned, conducted, and synthesized all of the research.

I helped formulate a business strategy based on research insights. Then, I engaged and attracted internal partners interested in the following steps.

Made prototypes and a survey to test cross-brand customers on personalizing e-gift cards.

Art directed the UX/UI of the e-gift card/donation site.

Provided assets to Banana Republic to amend the main website to promote an experiment.

Team Collaborations

Just Me (Sr UX Designer) at first.

Me + Dir Product Mgmt

Me + Dir Product Mgmt + Sr Strategy Analyst

Me + Dir Product Mgmt + Dir Store Ops + Manager Payment Operations

Me + Dir Product Mgmt + Dir Store Ops + Manager Payment Operations + VP GM Online

Me + Dir Product Mgmt + Dir Store Ops + Manager Payment Operations + VP GM Online + Dir Web Production + Dev team. External: + Sr Dir Strategic Partnerships + UX Designer

Strategy Process

The Problem
The innovation team had done some earlier research, and one provocation that came from it was, "How do we give confidence around gift-giving?" My task was to answer this ambiguous question with very little to go on.

Framing the Design Challenge
How might we help customers, who don’t know what gifts to buy, feel confident in purchasing a gift for a person they care about?

Ultimate Impact
Increase personalization.


Qualitative interviews aimed at understanding the behavior and psychology behind gift giving and receiving. Uncovering the go-to’s, the rituals, the values, the needs, the friction, and the hacks.


Ages 24 - 72






Right out of college

Stay at home moms

Full time employees


Secondary Research

Digging deeper into stories, solutions, studies, business, technologies, disruptions, and innovations that drive gifting.

The Atlantic | Fashion Blogs | Gap Inc. Internal Reports (Strategy, Marketing, Case Studies) | Social Psychology | YouTube


Gifting is highly emotionally charged. It is an extension of the relationship bolstered by self-gratification. Budget has little meaning when buying the right gift.

Gift Giving
Gifting begins with a reason (trigger).

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Not a close relationship.

Being told what to get.

You have to get something.

Timing is tight.


Incredibly personal.

Truly knowing the recipient.

An exclusive feeling.

Highly desired.


"Well, when you know someone well enough, you just see it and go, 'perfect'."

-Anette M.

“I’ll just run into the mall and go somewhere really quick. But then I feel bad because its not putting in as much time thinking about it.”

-Sophia C.









The strength of a relationship (close or distant) correlates with the amount of personalization and sentiment in the gift.



How will we win December through gifting? It starts with workshopping, brainstorming, creating insight statements, asking our HMW’s, and other questions.

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How might we make a gift card more personal and strengthen a relationship?

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Personalized videos or pictures show up on social media feeds.

How might we help more people “get it right” when choosing apparel?

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The New Gift Guide displays trending items for a given profile. Match with Bright Members and True Fit measurements.

Market Research

My director and I looked at internal reports and the Deloitte 2018 Holiday Report, US Census.

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Holiday gifting is a 

$82B opportunity

in December

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Gift Cards


Other Gifts




Anticipated average spending during the holiday season:

$1,536 per person average

2018 Holiday Season

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Top types of planned gifts to GIVE

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Top types of desired gifts to RECEIVE

We then utilized our internal Customer Insights team and the customer research they did to establish how Gap brands fell in with the idea of "Gifting."

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% of December purchases identified as a "gift"

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What Customer's are Saying

"There was nothing unique about the styles"
-About Banana Republic

"Nothing stood out to me that I needed or wanted"
-About Gap

The Product Challenge

Customers are not imspired by out brands style or quality.

The Experience Challenge

Shoppers don't think of Gap brands for gifts.
Not finding the right size.
Items are out of stock.
Stores are too crowded.

The Assortment Challenge

Lack of a range or prices. Not many stocking stuffer items.

Gift Card Research

Looking at the Gifting research and Marketing data, e-gift cards emerged as a way to empower personalization and feasibly attain an incremental lift in sales. Below are the most relevant elements that proved that the needle could be moved.

Spending More Money with E-Gift Cards

75% of shoppers spend more than the value on the card.


Of that 59% of customers have a $59 AVG overspend.

Giving and Receiving E-Gift Cards

55% are interested in giving and 67% are interested in receiving a digital gift card.


Receiving: especially 69% of millennials 18-34


Giving: especially 67% of millennials 18-34

E-Gift Cards via Social Platforms

18- to 34-year-olds would be interested I, 60% receiving and 54% giving, through a social platform like Facebook.

Thinking of the Recipient

30% purchased an e-gift specifically with the recipient in mind because they knew the recipient would like it. Speed and ease of delivery were the most important factors influencing their purchase.

Personalization Incentives

50% of respondents agree that holiday-specific gift cards and personalized messaging would get them to purchase more gift cards.

Mother’s Day in the Billions

Consumers plan to spend $2.5 billion on gift cards (45% surveyed) and $2.1 billion on clothing (37% surveyed).


“My thoughts are is that [gift cards are] lazy. Even if it is something that I’ll definitely used. I’m one of those people that appreciates when someone does put some thought into it.”

-Anette M.

“Gift cards are a last resort for me… They feel kind of impersonal, even though I myself love gift cards.”

-Maggie W.


“I love receiving gift cards because I can get what I want. I just don’t like giving them because it doesn’t feel that creative.”

-Courtney W.

“A gift card: it’s not as personal item per se. But it is an item that gives them freedom to choose what they like. You don’t have to worry about them wanting to return something.”

-James M.

Competative Research

Top Gift Card Companies
Ranked by CashStar criteria.

Top E-Gift Card Evaluation

Impactful Personalization
Innovative designs for e-gift cards that excited our user testers.


Gif Animation with Audio

Victoria's Secret

Gif Animation with Audio


Video Animation with Audio

Personalization - Gap Brands vs. Amazon
Conducted a qual survey with six participants around the best e-gift card touchpoints.

Amazon Personalization


After distilling the research and creating our partnerships, it was time to get tangible and learn from making. I iterated keeping in mind the needs of the customer around personalization, generally considering the technology that can build it, and balancing what we identified as metrics that would move the needle.

Sketching it Out

Quick Instagram Prototype
I wanted to test some assumptions around personalization and video. I reached out into my community of friends and family for a lo-fi prototype. They thought it was real!

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Forging Partnerships

Part of the challenge was finding brand partners interested in leveraging this research and making something happen. Our work eventually led us to a division within Banana Republic and the Stores Engagement Team—both internal teams within Gap Inc.

Prototypes & Testing

To learn more, I created assumptions to test and validate. I wanted to move forward at low risk, time, and money but with meaningful learnings. Testing to see if they were ideas that provided value to the stakeholders.


Survey & Prototypes

I created the questions and worked with a research partner to conduct a survey of 2200 cross-brand customers centered on e-gift cards. We also tested personalization touchpoints with mid-fi prototypes I made using Sketch, with some plugin modifications, and InVision.

Message + Theme

83% Liked

70% of total like

votes “liked a lot”

Message + Animation

78% Liked

62% of total like

votes “liked a lot”

Audio Recording

77% Liked

63% of total like

votes “liked a lot”

Video Recording

73% Liked

60% of total like

votes “liked a lot”


Different methods of personalization and the e-gift card resonated within our test to move forward.

A Company Divided - The Capability Challenge

Building out the personlaization features, even to test, would take more tech and financial resources than Banana Republic had or were willing to spend.

Gap Inc. was in process of dividing its company so these resources for all brands and departments were not available.

Partnership Potential

Facebook and Instagram are social platforms with a strong built-in audience. Their product's contain built in features that Gap Inc. could utilize to deliver more personalized e-gift cards.

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Birthday Personalization Features

I created features of personalization for e-gift cards in February 2019.

 Facebook launched its birthday personalization features in May 2019.

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Built-in Donation Feature

Both Facebook and Instagram have the ability to add a donation widget to any message. I wanted to use an e-gift card widget and do the same thing.

New Direction

Direction Change
All personalization feature tests had nothing to do with donations. However, leadership saw what Instagram was doing with donations and thought this would be a good approach to increasing gift card purchases.

Thier Plan
When a gift card is purchased, the customer is notified that Banana Republic will donate 10% of the total card amount to CARE, on behalf of the customer. CARE is a non-profit dedicated to “save lives, defeat poverty, and achieve social justice.” This plan would start on Giving Tuesday and run for two weeks.

Desired Results
The number of e-gift cards bought, and the dollar amount spent on them would significantly increase.

Our external e-gift card partner will cover the donation percentage (10%) and fulfillment costs. Banana Republic feels it will increase card purchases and revenue by 5% on Giving Tuesday.

The Challenge - Mitigating Risk

Running this plan would cost money, time, and resources that the company was already stretched with. I suggested conducting a survey to mitigate risk and see if this donation aspect would incentivize buying e-gift cards. That way, we'd be informed of the public's general reaction, and we could set up KPIs to judge this endeavor.

Leadership ignored the suggestion and moved forward with the plan.

Effort to Impact Chart

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Designing the Site

I delivered visual assets to promote and link customers to the e-gift card experiment. These assets were planned for the main navigation menu and the gift card landing page.

Art Directing

Partnering with our external vendor’s UX team, I art directed the e-gift card purchasing site.

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New Direction Results

"There is nothing conclusive that this program drove sales." -Gift Card Management Team.
Despite my effort to instate one, without an A/B test or any other gauge, there was no way to get accurate metrics about whether this experiment worked or not.
Instead, the success was assembling the backend effort so that there is an infrastructure to try again with an A/B test "next time."

My Suggested Next Steps

Short-term: Can do Now

Make gift cards easier to find on the website

Utilize promotions, discounts and loyalty incentives

More faceplate designs

Additional suggested messages


Seen in Ideation 2.0

Mid-term: With Vendor Support

Use “story telling” (Amazon-esque) animations as another visual for e-gift cards in addition to a personalized messaging.


Seen in Ideation 2.0

Long-term: 2020

Audio recording and uploading of audio files in addition to a personalized messaging.


Video recording via Facebook and Instagram. Utilize all of the features provided such as occasion themed templates, adding music, filters, stickers, gifs, and text.


Creating a “Thank you” capability on the recipient’s end.


Full screen experience across platforms. Increasing the visual experience would add more to the level of feeling and personalization.


Seen in Ideation 2.0

Seen in Ideation 2.0

Great Minds Think Alike

In June 2019, Facebook launched its own version of the same idea to personalize birthday celebrations by allowing users to add and send gift cards.

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