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American Eagle Outfitters Sees Winning Strategy in SMS

The holiday season is a critical time of year in retail. No matter what you’ve done during the previous 11 months, you must get customers in the door in December.

The big question, of course, is how.

When there’s more choice than ever before and your competitors are slashing prices, what can you do to draw attention to your brand? Clothing retailer American Eagle Outfitters may have found the answer: Leverage the power of SMS and give customers the chance to win $10,000.

Attracting Customers Using Multiple Channels

American Eagle Outfitters named its outreach effort “Legendary Gifts” (a reference to one of its popular collections) and launched the campaign on Dec. 3. The two-week campaign offered giveaways and discounts every day for 12 days and culminated with a $10,000 grand prize. Potential customers learned about the sweepstakes through a cross-channel marketing campaign that involved American Eagle Outfitters’ website, social platforms, direct mail and in-store signage. The company also sent notifications via SMS and email to any customer who was already in the store’s database.

To sign up for the sweepstakes, people could visit American Eagle Outfitters’ website and fill out a form or they could text LEGENDARY to 32453 (“Eagle”). Once they enrolled, they received daily emails or text messages (or both, depending on their preferences) that provided links to a personalized URL where they could “click to unwrap the daily gift.” From there, whether they won a prize or were offered a discount on merchandise was entirely up to chance.

SMS Key to Success

Erica Dudash, American Eagle Outfitters’ director of marketing, explained that SMS was key to the campaign’s success. Among the company’s mobile subscribers, nearly 60 percent were “engaging with the prize pages just minutes after receiving their text messages,” Dudash said in case study created by Experian Marketing Services, which helped the company implement its program.

Thanks in large part to SMS, the campaign led to “exceptionally high engagement, with millions of participants on a daily basis.”

A few major highlights:

  • The campaign helped American Eagle Outfitters reach more than 8 million email and SMS subscribers in less than two weeks.
  • SMS outreach led to a 60% click-through rate overall.
  • Daily SMS alerts achieved 50-60% click-through rates.
  • Interestingly, the company’s email alerts weren’t as effective as SMS—the email click-through rate was just 4.3%.
  • The campaign prioritized cross-channel promotion: Consumers contacted via SMS could “share” what they’d won on Facebook, Twitter or email.
  • American Eagle Outfitters plans to leverage its growing list of SMS subscribers to drive online and in-store sales in the future.
  • The program led to AEO’s nomination for the 2016 “Mobile Best-In-Class” award from eTail.

American Eagle Outfitters shows how SMS and multi-channel marketing can drive deeper engagement from customers. Its campaign not only had a high response rate, but also gave the company a repository of data it can leverage to optimize future marketing campaigns.

Are you interested in learning more about how text messaging can build buzz around your brand? Check out our latest e-book, a step-by-step guide to successful SMS campaigns.

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