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American Eagle Outfitters addresses on-demand mindset with in-app reservations

Users of American Eagle Outfitters’ application are getting first crack at trying a new service enabling items to be reserved online and then tried on in-store, reflecting the growth in mobile-enabled omnichannel shopping experiences.

With the retailer’s app experiencing triple-digit growth, higher return visits and higher bag size, giving users first look at the new Reserve, Try & Buy service helps keep them excited about coming back. The omnichannel service is currently available at American Eagle Outfitters and Aerie stores in 13 cities and is expected to be in all stores by the end of the year.

“Our core demographic is 15 to 25 year olds which is a very mobile-centric group,” said Jeremy Xavier, senior director of mobile at American Eagle Outfitters. “As we were thinking through the Reserve, Try & Buy program, it made perfect sense to debut it in our app.

“Our app customers are the most loyal customers and giving them a first look at new features like this is a great way to keep the excitement in the app,” he said. “Also, this program shows our commitment to bridging our digital consumer experiences and our stores and we know that most of our customers are brining their phones with them as they enter our stores.”

Online reservations
Reserve, Try & Buy was introduced in the retailer’s iPhone app this week.

On any product page, customers have the option to add to bag or check local inventory. After selecting size and color, the customer can select the Reserve/Find in Store option and the app will show stores nearby where the item is available.

The customer can reserve in a tap without the need for an account or to go through checkout.

Customers are notified via email and text when the product is ready at the store, typically in about an hour, per Mr. Xavier.

The Reserve, Try & Buy program is available now at AEO and Aerie stores throughout Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Denver, Fort Worth, Houston, Nashville, New York, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, San Francisco, Seattle and Washington.

On-demand services
American Eagle Outfitters recognizes that younger consumers are increasingly able to order, reserve and purchase what they want whenever they want from their phones through a variety of services such as Uber, Deliv, Drizly and others. The new Reserve, Try & Buy addresses the need for bricks-and-mortar apparel stores to offer similar services.

American Eagle Outfitters is seeing strong growth on its app and continues to build out the experience for customers.

In April, the chain American Eagle Outfitters updated the in anticipation of the release of the Apple Watch, tailoring features such as a store locator and speedy access to deals to wearable-equipped shoppers (see story).

Integrating native features into the app experience is proving to be a successful strategy for the retailer.

“We’re seeing a big rise in usage for the app with triple digit growth from last year so we’re definitely feeling the big shift in mobile adoption,” Mr. Xavier said. “We’re seeing higher return visits in the app as well as higher bag size – as compared to our Web site – so we know that our loyal customers are more and more moving to our mobile app.

“One of the bigger learnings we had this year is that by using features native to the phone, we’re giving customers a better experience,” he said. “We launched Touch ID for authentication on the iPhone app and saw a 25 percent increase in logged-in purchases.

“By making it easier to log in using the iPhone’s own authentication feature, we saw a big win.”

Final Take
Chantal Tode is senior editor on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York