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American Eagle Outfitters unzips sales with mobile-optimized denim style guide

American Eagle Outfitters is driving sales conversions among Facebook users by sponsoring ads that expand into a full-screen denim guide, enabling consumers to toggle through several jean styles before visiting the retailer’s mobile site to make a purchase.

The retailer is attempting to stand out in millennials’ Facebook feeds by inviting them to swipe upward to interact with the denim guide advertisement, which features models donning jean styles such skinny, legging and straight leg. Consumers can examine each style before tapping the “shop now” button to visit American Eagle Outfitters’ mobile site, where they can purchase their desired pair of jeans.

“Millennials spend most of their Internet browsing time on their mobile devices,” said Laura Sossong, senior consultant at Boston Retail Partners. “Given the magnitude of consumable information available to potential shoppers, introducing compelling and interactive Web features that are mobile friendly is an effective way for American Eagle to garner customer attention.”

Finding the perfect fit
Consumers may spot American Eagle’s sponsored canvas ads interspersed with other content in their Facebook news feeds. The ad invites users to, “Find your perfect fit using the AEO Jean Guide.”

Individuals can swipe upward to expand the ad into a full-screen experience on their smartphones. Then, they can scroll downward to view images of models showing off the retailer’s various denim styles, such as jegging and straight leg.

Once consumers have identified which style they are most interested in, they can scroll to the bottom of the ad experience and tap the “shop now” button, which will bring them to the denim section of American Eagle’s mobile site.

There, shoppers can browse all of the available denim products, filter by style and select a size before placing the item into their mobile shopping carts for checkout.

This enables consumers to move from inspiration to purchase in less than several minutes.

Interactive ad formats
American Eagle’s decision to leverage a mobile ad unit that prompts user interaction will likely yield more conversions than a stationary banner ad. Social media users – particularly millennials – have been proven to respond more positively to advertisements that feel relevant to their interests.

American Eagle’s ad offers relevance to consumers by enabling them to scroll through a style guide that displays more information on its denim. Additionally, seeing each style on the model may provide consumers with outfit inspiration and styling tips that could push them closer to making an impromptu purchase.

Other millennial-friendly marketers have also recently employed this strategy.

For instance, Maybelline targeted Facebook users likely to be interested in its cosmetics via a series of ads that expanded into a full-screen experience showcasing tutorials for different eyeliner looks after clicking (see story).

American Eagle has been innovating heavily within the mobile space as of late, ensuring that it keeps up with the platforms and technologies frequently used by its core customers.

It was one of the latest retailers to adopt image recognition technology and showcase it prominently in its application’s search bar to better meet the needs of younger shoppers (see story).

However, its jean guide advertisement could be a strong contender when it comes to ROI-driving strategies.

“Style guides introduce a strong element of relatability that personalizes the shopping experience for each individual,” Ms. Sossong said. “Retailers that encourage their target market to actively interact with products are able to fully immerse consumers in the brand experience in a meaningful way that trumps the usual buying process.

“This interactive social media engagement with convenient ‘buy now’ links to the commerce site will aid in the conversion of shoppers to buyers.”