American Eagle Outfitters is looking to connect with its customers where they spend the majority of their time: on their cell phones. The junior apparel retailer has launched a mobile commerce program that allows customers to browse and purchase items on the chain’s Web site from their mobile device. Customers can also get assistance in finding a store near them.
“We know that AE customers are using their mobile devices for just about everything, from communication to entertainment,” said Mike Dupuis, VP marketing, digital channels, American Eagle Outfitters, which operates 954 namesake stores, 122 Aerie by American Eagle outlets, and 28 Martin + Osa outlets.
In November 2008, American Eagle Outfitters initiated an opt-in SMS texting program whereby customers sign up to receive targeted messages about special offers, new product introductions and promotions on their mobile phones. The program has been highly successful, according to the retailer. Hundreds of thousands of customers have opted in to date, and the numbers are increasing daily.
By enabling customers to experience the functionality of the Web site, including commerce, American Eagle is looking to take the mobile experience to the next level.
“Mobile commerce is still in its early stages, but as an early adopter of technology and a leading lifestyle brand, it is important to AEO to be among the first to offer it to customers as another way to interact with our brands,” said Dupuis.
With the expanded functionality, customers now can look up the American Eagle store nearest them, and get a map and directions. In addition to purchasing directly from their mobile devices, they can access “Wish Lists” to help with shopping in the store, and they can e-mail their Wish Lists directly to a parent or friend.
“American Eagle Outfitters’ mobile strategy is designed to make our brands accessible to customers anytime, anywhere, as well as bridge the gap between online and stores,” Dupuis said.
The ultimate goal, he continued, is to create “a seamless experience in which each channel—store, mobile and traditional online—work together to the mutual benefit of all three.”
Accessing the AE Web site from a mobile device is easy and requires no downloads or special Web address entries. The technology detects when a customer is accessing the site from a mobile device and serves up the appropriate Web experience that is customized for whatever device they happen to be using.
American Eagle Outfitters is partnering with Usablenet, a New York City-based mobile Web platform, on its mobile commerce solution.