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American Eagle (AE) was founded in 1977 and now has over 1,000 stores in the US, Canada, Asia and the Middle East. As more and more customers are moving online, AE has been adopted a strategy of bringing offline to online and vice versa. 

When you have a store front, it's much easier to get your offline message out to the customers who love your product. They are already coming in to buy so you have a chance to integrate that experience with an online one or just make them aware you have one!

Foursquare is one of the in-store approaches AE has adopted as well as prominent signage and receipts. You can also earn "kicks," points for AE's rewards system, by just scanning a dressing room poster - another great way of taking an offline experience online and mobile.

Online, Pinterest has become a great addition to their online portfolio. The average site visit is 15.5 minutes and it shows AE's style and personality in addition to product. In the short time of its existence, Pinterest is now one of the top 10 traffic referrers to ae.com.

Your team can be your biggest asset 

For AE, they recognize that sales associates are some of its best ambassadors as they will have more touch points with customers than any of their marketing teams. In one of its latest campaigns, AE opened up the accompanying "bestshot" contest to their employees for the first time. This allowed everyone to be involved and share their story online.


Customers equal content

How did the bestshot contest do? The numbers speak volumes: 

  • 79,141 photos submitted
  • 160,054 downloads of the app created for the contest
  • 504,560 participants (through both votes and uploaded photos)
  • 6,141,120 visits
  • 16,471,652 pageviews 
  • 1,349,520 votes

If you add all the time spent viewing photos, it would equal 40.2 years. With 6.5 million Facebook fans, the contest content included 90,710 items shared with an average of 72 likes/ comments per post.

Bring social into your website

It's not only important to celebrate and help customers in social channels but it's important to bring social into your website itself. AE incorporates personalization, like/tweet/pin it buttons and ratings and reviews. They've also created new sections to its site based on social activity such as "Where has your AE been?" which is now its own portal. 

But the only way this all works is to integrate your marketing campaign across all of your social, online and offline channels. You need to keep them unique (suited to the space they are in) yet consistent but don't think of them as separate silos. 

Always ask yourself how and where your customers want to connect. Make it easy. The more integrated the experience, the more you can hook your customer into your message.

Heather Taylor

Published 24 July, 2012 by Heather Taylor

Heather Taylor is the Editorial Director for Econsultancy US. You can follow her on Twitter, Google+ or Pinterest.

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