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American Eagle Outfitters steps up mobile sales with in-app offers

American Eagle Outfitters is continuing its mobile-minded year by attempting to ramp up mcommerce sales with a new “offers” section within its mobile application, proving that consumers are gravitating to mobile for exclusive offers.

Users of the AEO | Aerie app are now able to click the “Current offers” button on the side bar to view up-to-date promotions and details on how to redeem them. Consumers will still be able to scan products, shop the retailer’s inventory and purchase gift cards within the app as well.

“Today, more than 75 percent of U.S. consumers own a smart phone and mobile Internet usage has now surpassed desktops,” said Ken Morris, principal at Boston Retail Partners, Boston, MA. “With more consumers shopping on their phones, it imperative for retailers like American Eagle to become more intimate with their customers and keep them engaged.

“American Eagle’s offer section on its mobile app is a great way to persuade its customers to frequently open its app and inspire incremental purchases.”

Detailed promotions
The new feature could be an optimal way for the teen-friendly brand to entice more mobile device owners to download the app. After clicking the tab in the side bar, the user is brought to a page showcasing all of the current promotions and displaying which are available in-store, online or both.

Interested shoppers can click on the “details” tab in the bottom right corner of each offer to find out more. They are then brought to the terms and conditions, above which the brand offers a “Shop Women” or “Shop Men” banner to streamline the experience and drive in-app browsing.

As users scroll down, new arrivals of products are also shown.

“It will likely help [American Eagle Outfitters] compete with fast fashion chains as long as the offers are interesting and they solve the site’s apparent design issues,” said Paula Rosenblum, managing partner at Retail Systems Research, Miami, FL.

Real-time offers
The brand’s focus on real-time promotions may also help drive impulse purchases, especially among teenagers or shoppers in the millennial demographic that prefer to browse for clothing via their mobile devices.

“Real-time offers are promotions driven by business rules on ecommerce sites and mobile apps,” Mr. Morris said. “They are the new promotion/mark-down vehicle that will supplement and/or replace traditional circulars and in-store events.

“Consumers have shorter attention spans and instant offers/promotions that are exclusive to consumers that are digitally connected will keep them engaged with the brand and become more active shoppers.”

American Eagle has been gearing up for a strong push in mobile in the past year, especially considering its core target audience.

An American Eagle executive at Mobile Marketer’s Mobile FirstLook: Strategy 2015 conference said that the retailer places high importance on mobile feedback via chat and reviews, which has translated to sales-building engagements (see story).

However, the retailer must also keep in mind that mobile deals cannot be the only draw for consumers to download the app. American Eagle also offers an in-app camera for scanning items as well as push notifications for opted-in users, rewards card integration into Passbook and Touch ID login functions for iPhone 6 and 6 Plus owners.

“Generally promotions are a good traffic driver, but they should never be the be-all and end-all of the offering,” Retail Systems Research’s Ms. Rosenblum said. “It really is a question of what you want your brand to stand for.

“We live in a hyper-promotional world.  No retailer can afford to ignore that fact, and our data tells us that channel-specific promotions are generally a good thing.”

Final Take
Alex Samuely is an editorial assistant on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York