American Eagle optimizes for mobile

American Eagle Outfitters (NYSE:AEO) is amping up its mobile presence with a new optimized website, updated apps and more mobile devices in stores.

True, mobile means a lot to all retailers, both as a vehicle to research and locate items as well as a growing portal to make purchases. But it means a good deal more to teen and youth-oriented retailers such as American Eagle. Being mobile first is the best way to grow sales and loyalty among this group.

American Eagle's success will hinge on mobile, said Michael Rempell, American Eagle's COO, at the Oppenheimer Global Consumer Conference in Boston last month. Sales on the retailer's mobile app have doubled in the past year.

That growth is thanks to more robust apps with added functions, including a new function that lets shoppers reserve and hold items at a store for in-store pickup within 24 hours.

The service—Reserve, Try, Buy—is being piloted at select stores, but is expected to roll out later this year, according to TribLive.

"I'm optimistic that it's going to be a big deal for the company," Rempell said.

There's also an option that streamlines the checkout process, which allows a credit card to be added by taking a photo of it and includes the retailer's rewards card in Apple's Passbook.

American Eagle also released an Apple Watch app.

Mobile will be playing a larger role inside stores, too, as American Eagle begins outfitting associates with tablets for quicker access to inventory and delivery options.

Teen retailers have been struggling and American Eagle is no exception. Last year, the chain closed approximately 150 stores.

For more:
-See this TribLive story
-See this Integrated Solutions for Retailers article

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