New Loyalty Program at American Eagle Outfitters Targets Millennial Audience

On the heels of a solid, better than expected second quarter, fiscally speaking, officials at American Eagle Outfitters are optimistic about the future.

“In the second quarter, we achieved sales and earnings above our expectations in a challenging retail environment,” American Eagle Outfitters CEO Jay Schottenstein said last month. “Sales trends improved and I’m proud of the continued growth in jeans, bottoms, women’s apparel and Aerie, with encouraging signs in men’s tops beginning to emerge. Our brands are strong and we have significant opportunity for further growth. I’m optimistic as we enter the second half of the year, and we remain focused on delivering product innovation, strengthening customer engagement and improving profit flow-through.”

What’s more, on Tuesday American Eagle Outfitters launched AEO Connected, a new, highly-digitized loyalty program that will serve all American Eagle and Aerie customers. More than 16 million current rewards members were immediately converted to AEO Connected, where they enjoy greater convenience, more rewards, and an enhanced customer experience.

“Staying connected to our customers is at the core of everything we do, so we are excited to offer a unique program to attract new members and build on the strength of our brands while highlighting our leading product categories, AE jeans, and Aerie bras,” said American Eagle Outfitters CMO Kyle Andrew. “The new platform provides flexibility to evolve with the changing needs of our customers and supports upgraded features such as greater personalization, enabling us to provide a truly special customer experience.”

The new loyalty program includes:

Full integration with AE and Aerie’s branded credit cards

Special perks for purchasing key items, jeans, and bras

Exclusive member access to concerts, festivals and special events

Joining AEO Connected is free and can be done in stores, on the AEO mobile app or online. Customers are instantly awarded 500 points upon signing up and begin earning rewards immediately. AEO Connected also offers enhanced perks for AE and aerie branded credit card customers, including free standard shipping and faster rewards.

Kaitlyn Mitchell, director of loyalty at HelloWorld, told Loyalty360 that the new loyalty program structure at American Eagle Outfitters should work well for its existing customer base.

“The mobile app is a smart channel here, as members can purchase via the app for automatic point earning, house their digital rewards card, and access their rewards easily,” Mitchell explained. “Consumers may sign up for this program just for the inherent perks, but it also may be because they’re already shopping there and it makes sense to feel like they’re getting even more for their purchases. This model is followed by many retailers (Old Navy, TJX) who reward members for what they would be doing anyway, so it will be interesting to watch and see how AEO benefits from this strategy.”

What’s more, Mitchell cited a couple of areas where American Eagle Outfitters stands out: Exclusive member access to concerts, festivals, and special events; and free IOS sticker pack for joining.

“These are definitely targeting the millennial audience,” she added. “The special perks for jeans and bras are also an interesting addition to a more traditional approach. It’s signaling members that AEO wants to be a destination for these items and is anchoring its program around them.”

Evan Magliocca, brand marketing manager for Baseman Insights & Marketing, told Loyalty360 that American Eagle’s new loyalty program is more in-line with its competition.
“They have similar funding rates as both Abercrombie & Fitch and Hollister Co.,” he explained. “Each company will need to rely on soft benefits and the customer experience to differentiate themselves as the loyalty competition tightens.”

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