Gifted brand American Eagle Outfitters — which saw same-store sales rise 7% in Q1 — continues to make digitally advanced moves in line with the latest best practices for retailers. The company has launched a “Try & Buy” program that lets customers reserve up to five items online at select stores for next-day pickup. The program is distinctive in that it’s only available through the mobile app, incentivizing app downloads among a mobile-savvy, on-the-go consumer base.

 

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A “reserve online, pick up in store” function can incentivize in-store visits by consumers who seek convenience and efficiency. As noted in yesterday’s column on fundamentals for driving foot traffic, few apparel retailers have started offering the service.

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Another means of leading consumers down the purchase funnel is through exemplary use of user-generated content. American Eagle integrates UGC with commerce via an #AEOSTYLE gallery on the brand site, which collects fans’ hashtagged Instagram and Twitter photos and provides a link to “shop this look.” This exposure rewards brand fans while increasing browsers’ likelihood of conversion.

 

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Screen Shot 2015-06-25 at 10.06.20 AMIn April, American Eagle introduced an Apple Watch app that features a store locator and access to the loyalty program. The retailer was one of only two in L2’s Specialty Retail Index that supported Apple Pay at launch and plans to accept Android Pay when it debuts later this year. Furthermore, American Eagle collaborates with digital’s creative stars: bloggers or vloggers. Its “Bloggers do it better” collaboration leveraged the influence of nearly 80 bloggers, as featured in L2’s Digital IQ Index: Specialty Retail .

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