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American Apparel streamlines checkout via Apple Pay, PIN-enabled email capture

American Apparel is making a play for millennials’ loyalty by integrating with a cloud-based infrastructure that enables the retailer to offer Apple Pay payment options as well as one-time signups for rewards programs.

The apparel marketer is joining forces with retail software company Index’s payments infrastructure as it ramps up to cater to its millennial fan base via enhanced security, more personalized online and offline checkout experiences and Apple Pay functionality. The ubiquity of mobile devices has made Apple Pay a much-desired payments solution for retailers seeking to target digitally-savvy shoppers.

“Apple Pay provides customers with a fast, easy and secure way to pay in-store,” said Marc Freed-Finnegan, co-founder and CEO of Index. “American Apparel’s millennial customers expect the latest technology wherever they shop and this launch provides the chance to richly engage customers at checkout with secure payments and integrated loyalty.

“American Apparel is already known for its broad appeal of fashion-basic apparel and this launch further enhances its in-store experience.”

Future-proofing payments
American Apparel hopes the collaboration with Index will fuel efficiencies and cost savings. Improved security is also at the forefront of the brand’s goals, as consumers making purchases with their smartphones must feel comfortable in letting their devices carry credit card details.

American Apparel shoppers will now be able to check out in-store and on mobile using Apple Pay. After the initial registration is complete, Apple Pay saves users’ personal details and credit card information for future transactions, eliminating the need for consumers to manually type in those same details during each unique checkout experience.

Shoppers can carry their mobile devices in lieu of physical wallets when browsing in a mall or bricks-and-mortar location. When they are ready to make their purchase, they must hold their device up to the NFC-enabled terminal, located by the cashier. The terminal will be able to read the credit card information from the smartphone and complete the wireless transaction.

This capability will likely resonate well with mobile-savvy millennials, who make up a significant portion of American Apparel’s target audience.

“Millennials are some of the most digitally-savvy consumers — for them mobile is more than a tool, it’s a way of life,” Mr. Freed-Finnegan said. “As mobile continues to grow in demand and adoption, millennials will continue to be an influential force. This is particularly important for American Apparel, which markets to younger consumers.

“We’ve partnered with [American Apparel] to leverage mobile to provide customers with a more contextual, personalized experience, and this includes the ability to shop and pay the way that they want. Paired with iBeacon and Apple passes, Apple Pay enables retailers to engage customers from the moment they arrive to the moment they check out.”

American Apparel is leveraging Index’s turnkey solution for NFC, EMV and point-to-point encryption.

Strapping in loyalty
American Apparel is taking advantage of Index’s email capture solution on PIN pads, which offers seamless, one-time sign-ups for loyalty programs and ereceipts. Brands using this platform can also adjust font sizes, colors and seasonal branding to ensure that customer engagement stays high.

The retailer believes this functionality will elevate the in-store shopping experience and potentially garner a slew of new loyalty members.

“Apple Pay offers a contemporary, streamlined user experience for payment,” said Roberta Oglakhchyan, director of public relations at American Apparel. “We are exploring this in the context of Apple Wallet for our forthcoming revised loyalty program.”

Apple Pay’s loyalty integration options are a tactic that more retailers, as well as food and beverage chains, may employ this year.

A Panera Bread executive at the NRF 105th Annual Convention & Expo revealed how the quick service restaurant marketer is planning to integrate its popular loyalty program with Apple Pay, following success with early adoption of the payment service (see story).


Additionally, although many PIN pads remain underused by plenty of bricks-and-mortar retailers, American Apparel is planning to use these devices to personalize each individual’s checkout experience and secure digital payments.

“Index brings personalization and measurement to the offline world and integrates across all online and offline channels,” Index’s Mr. Freed-Finnegan said. “This enables retailers like American Apparel to create unique, seamless experiences for customers wherever they interact.”