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American Eagle drives retail sales with mobile triple play

Apparel retailer American Eagle Outfitters Inc. is taking advantage of various channels within the mobile medium to enhance its multichannel consumer engagement efforts, ultimately leading to increased sales.

The retailer, which has bricks-and-mortar stores at malls nationwide, uses a number of mobile initiatives to engage its target demographic of consumers ages 15-25, with a bull’s eye at 20. Its mobile tactics include an SMS mobile marketing program, its own mobile commerce site and a partnership with the shopkick mobile retail application.

“For us, our customers use the mobile channel for everything from entertainment to peer-to-peer communication to shopping, and a leading lifestyle brand like American Eagle is in a constant pursuit of relevance to our customers,” said Mike Dupuis, vice president of marketing and operations at American Eagle Outfitters Direct, Pittsburgh, PA.

“That led us to decide that we needed to take and maintain a leadership position in the mobile channel, where consumers are looking to access our brand,” he said. “We have been very happy with the traffic to our mobile site and also conversion and sales within the mobile channel—we’re very pleased.”

American Eagle Outfitters is a clothing and accessories retailer targeting teens and young adults.

Shopkick, a startup funded by Kleiner Perkins’s iFund, Greylock Partners and LinkedIn founder Reid Hoffman, is bringing the mobile Internet to the retail experience via its new iPhone application.

In addition to American Eagle Outfitters, shopkick’s launch partners include Macy’s, Simon Property Group Inc., The Sports Authority and Best Buy.

Shopkick till you drop
The new location-based shopkick shopping application for Apple’s iPhone rewards shoppers for visiting stores. It is available in the App Store.

Upon entering an American Eagle store, the shopkick application will greet consumers with the following message: “Welcome – You just collected kickbucks.”

Consumers will then receive special offers directly through the application, and if they so choose, they can even leave their Facebook picture on a virtual store Wall of Fans.

“The mobile medium is unique in its ability to blur the lines between the various channels,” Mr. Dupuis said. “Mobile is this great connector between the Web and the store, which one of the very exciting components about shopkick, using mobile to drive traffic and create in-store engagement.”

American Eagle is offering a variety of incentives from store-based promotions, such as 15 percent off a consumer’s entire purchase, as well as major lease-line messaging such as buy-one-get-one-free.

The retailer is also supporting promotions to encourage use of the application to engage with American Eagle products in the store environment.

Consumers can earn kickbucks for walking in and for trying on apparel, with incentives ranging from shopkick exclusive offers to extensions of in-store promotions.

“The important thing for us, we believe shopkick is a customer-focused mobile application that really focuses more on giving customers the ability to pull information toward them versus pushing messages at customers,” Mr. Dupuis said.

“It gives customers the opportunity to engage for rewards,” he said. “We want to provide our customers with value for conducting the tasks we want them to do and engage further for further rewards.”

Here is an image of a consumer using shopkick in an American Eagle store:

Mobile rewards inspire loyalty
Rewards and offers are live now in all partner store locations in New York, San Francisco and Los Angeles, and will kick-off in Chicago and other cities in the coming weeks.

Rewards will be delivered simply for walking into participating stores with the shopkick application open.

Within the next four weeks, more than 600 individual stores and 100 of the country’s largest malls will participate and will have fully deployed shopkick’s technology, in time for the holidays.

In addition, at thousands of other stores nationwide, smaller rewards will be offered for “checking in” and for scanning products.

The application detects a “shopkick signal” coming from the shopkick device located in each participating store, and because the detection occurs on the user’s iPhone, the privacy of presence information is completely under the user’s control.

Once a shopkick signal is detected, the application delivers reward points called “kickbucks” to users as they walk through the door.

Kickbucks can be collected across all partner stores.

Here is an example of how shopkick is being integrated into American Eagle’s in-store environment:

The shopkick application also let users:

• Collect kickbucks for trying on clothes and scanning a barcode in the American Eagle Outfitters dressing room

• Receive special offers, such as a discount on specific products at Macy’s, or in a particular Macy’s department

• Get more kickbucks for scanning and learning about products and services at Best Buy

• Receive special offers for trying featured products at Sports Authority, and get extra kickbucks again

• Earn kickbucks from every retailer and redeem them at any partner retailer

Kickbucks can be redeemed with one touch for Facebook Credits to play games online, song downloads, in-store gift card rewards at shopkick partner stores, magazine subscriptions, iPods, and even donations to 30 different causes and charities.

Mobile solves retail challenges
The No. 1 challenge for every physical retailer is driving foot traffic—getting people in the door is the No. 1 purpose of most marketing campaigns.

“If that is the case, then why does nobody every reward anyone for visiting a store?” said Cyriac Roeding cofounder/CEO of shopkick, Palo Alto, CA.

“That’s what shopkick does for the first time—it requires the verification that you are actually at the store, otherwise you are rewarding consumers for being in the parking lot or next door at another store,” he said.

That is where the shopkick signal comes into play.

In addition, Mr. Roeding claims that shopkick lets retailers personalize offers and experiences to optimize relevance for consumers on a mass scale, with the goal of closing the sales loop all the way to the point of sale.

“And of course, in terms of rewarding customers, shopkick is the first program that gives customers rewards and offers just for walking into stores,” Mr. Roeding said.

Final Take