When American Eagle Outfitters recently discussed its mobile strategy, it casually mentioned a very interesting figure: More than 70 percent of all of the e-mails it sends are now opened by mobile devices, according to Mobile Commerce Daily.
"Whether you have mobile in your world or you're doing mobile, if you send e-mails, you're a mobile company," said Joe Megibow, an American Eagle Senior VP.
To be fair, American Eagle had a decidedly younger—and therefore more mobile-passionate—installed base than typical, focusing on the 15-25-year-old demographic.
Megibow also spoke about the mobile Web-versus-app debate, pointing out that the chain uses both SMS and in-app push notifications. He said that American Eagle is seeing four times as many shoppers going to the mobile site versus downloading the app, a figure he said he expects to become more balanced as the company improves the app.
That may or may not happen and it's not even necessarily what American Eagle wants to happen. The fundamental goal—well, the fundamental stated goal—of any merged channel/omnichannel program is to be channel-agnostic, meaning that you'll support all channels and let the shopper choose. As Wi-Fi speeds increase and device bandwidth improves, the speed, functionality and convenience of the mobile Web may rival—and sometimes beat—the downloaded app.
Many shoppers are resisting downloading too many apps. If a shopper can access the information desired more quickly through the site, why discourage that? A chain can certainly incentive (bribe) a shopper into downloading the app, but if they would truly rather interact with your mobile Web site, why fight it? The list of functionalities that only an app can deliver is getting smaller. We love apps here, but when I hear a chain seeing a channel preference of its shoppers and taking steps to talk shoppers out of their stated preference, I get nervous.
- See Mobile Commerce Daily story
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