Beacons Driving Fitting Room Traffic In American Eagles

October 15, 2014 by Dave Haynes


Photo: Shopkick, via Washington Post

The Washington Post has a piece up about how BLE beacons are influencing shoppers in American Eagle Outfitters stores in the US, with foot traffic into the fitting rooms jumping when beacons were used.

The retailer is working with mobile app co Shopkick in 100 of its stores, using beacons to incent people to head to the back to try something on, in exchange for what amounts to reward points.

For nearly two months, says WaPo, the retailer sent a push notifications to select customers as they entered the 100 of the company’s 929 stores that are outfitted with beacons. The message offered 25 kicks — Shopkick’s rewards currency — if they tried something on in a fitting room. American Eagle found that customers that received the offer were more than twice as likely to try on clothing as those who didn’t.

“That’s incredible. It’s way beyond anything I anticipated,” said Joe Megibow, chief digital officer at American Eagle Outfitters. “This is just the right message at the right time. A little bit of value to encourage them to ‘Hey, try something on today.’ ”

For a store with young customers, findings ways to appeal to them via technology makes a lot of sense.

“We need friendly associates that can help with style and fitting and the transaction, but the idea that [customers] will run up to associates is less likely than it has been in the past,” Megibow said.

He said he’s certain American Eagle Outfitters will install beacons in the majority of its stores, but isn’t sure if they’ll end up in every store just yet.

The report says more than 10,000 customers took part in the trial.

So, in the context of digital signage, why should you care?

Because beacons, done well, are actually shaping shopper behaviours, and because beacons are still so new to many consumers, the big displays of digital signs are the ideal mediums to tell consumers why they should download the necessary app and have it fired up. Research varies, but generally, the usage rates for shopping apps is still low. So steady reminders of their value are important to drive that usage rate up.


  1. Steve Gurley says:

    Dave, I’m glad you brought this to light. As you are probably aware, this trend is extending far beyond Shopkick. Any mobile app that can carry ad-based messages is likely to gravitate towards this model. Just look at the work your Canadian brethren are doing.

    The Hudson Bay Companies (HBC) are working with SnipSnap, a very popular mobile couponing app, to offer Lord & Taylor customers location-specific promotions. In the SnipSnap model, the SnipSnap user need only walk into a Lord & Taylor store and go past the jewelry section in order to be notified of relevant offers.

    Look for the big social media apps to also include this feature in collaboration with their advertisers. Shoot, combine this with something like Facebook’s latest ad network offering — an offering in which Facebook users can pre-define their ad preferences — and you’ve got a powerful passive, location-centric marketing model that the user controls.

    The bottom line, you won’t need digital signage to tell the consumer to download the app. The consumer will likely have the app on their phone. This is the hurdle that the industry is facing.

    I’m glad you are opening the industry’s eyes to what’s happening in mobile-enabled commerce. If they don’t understand and embrace it, then things will become much more challenging for them over the next couple of years.

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