Image: Gap

Gap announced earlier this month the creation of its new B2B product program powered by Salesforce Commerce Cloud. In partnership with Capgemini, Gap created a website in less than five weeks that offers large organizations high-quality reusable, non-medical grade cloth face masks to help employees returning to the office.

SEE: Return to work: What the new normal will look like post-pandemic (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

“It started in the context really with the onset of the pandemic back in March. Gap Inc. responded to the call initially by sourcing millions of nonmedical grade masks and other personal protective equipment (PPE) to the healthcare community,” said John Strain, chief digital and technology officer at Gap Inc.

“Shortly thereafter, the company’s family brands saw the opportunity and responded to demand from consumers that they were looking really just for their everyday personal use,” Strain said. “So our brands quickly created a bunch of designs and prototypes and got them into production, with our first mask going on sale for customers within a matter of weeks.”

However, this initiative was furthered when the company realized the demand on the enterprise-side.

“As a result of the success of the consumer masks, we quickly started hearing from companies who wanted to be able to supply their employees with masks as they began to hopefully safely welcome them back to work,” Strain said.

“We leveraged our deep supply chain relationships and agile operations, and quickly came up with a solution that provides companies in both private and public sectors with high-quality, reusable, nonmedical grade cloth face masks,” Strain added.

To date, the B2B product program has sold about 10 million face masks to employers including the City of New York, State of California, and Kaiser Permanente. This execution wouldn’t have been possible, however, without the help of Salesforce Commerce Cloud and Capgemini, Strain noted.

How Salesforce Commerce Cloud and Capgemini helped

“Salesforce Commerce Cloud has a B2B offering that is ideally suited to be able to help provide companies that are going to the B2B space—a set of templates, a starting framework against which they can quickly get to live,” Strain said.

“I saw Rich Lyons of the Lyons Group as part of Capgemini solution they presented last year at a conference that I was at. And he talked a lot about how the speed to market was so critical and how they really worked on a quick-start solution in partnership with Salesforce. So it was natural for us to reach out,” he said.

Since Gap has had a long-standing partnership with Salesforce, the transaction was pretty simple, Strain said.

“Salesforce as an eCommerce engine is one of the premier providers in the space, and it’s everything from being able to pull together just the product catalog so that you can enable people to browse, to captur[ing] the product information, to present[ing] that in a way that makes logical sense, then to really consummate the transaction,” Strain said.

“In our initial deployment, we’re actually setting it up so that we can create the price list and be able to do quoting and generate a purchase order in a really seamless way,” Strain said. “It gives us an opportunity to build a relationship on an ongoing basis to enable companies to come back and reorder in a clean, easy way.”

One of the biggest challenges for Gap was the speed in which they needed to create the program.

“You want to be able to get out there while there’s still a demand. We wanted to be able to get to market in the way that we could help our partners safely welcome back their employees to work. Speed-to-market was absolutely critical, and making sure you do it with quality when you’re moving that quickly was part of the challenge,” Strain said.

“This is where it’s nice to work with professionals–the internal teams, but also Capgemini and Salesforce are really total pros,” he added.

“The site currently helps us manage purchase orders, deliver information about the program, and engage with other business tech partners,” Strain said. “We’re excited to bring the workforce back in a safe manner and love being able to supply our face masks to consumers, our store employees, our headquarters employees, and now other employers for everyday use.”

For more, check out The top face masks business pros can buy online on TechRepublic.

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