Inclusivity and differentiation is at the heart of the brand.
On the very first day, American Eagle presented their brand values, mission, and plan for the future, They introduced campaigns like "Aerie Real", emphasizing that they want to be a brand that is different– both in culture and sales. As a result of seeking differentiation and relevance, they've made a decision to be a future-forward company, wanting to integrate tech into stores, remove cash registers, and redefine the retail brick and mortar experience. Being eager to create the "Store-of-the-Future", they've invested huge amounts of money on new tech processes too quickly (ex:MPOS-Mobile Point of Sale devices, iPads, Bluetooth beacons to be used with their customer app, abolishing the register, etc).
What was going wrong?
AEO took inspiration from Apple Stores and their integration of MPOS (mobile point of sale) devices, hoping they could do the same thing with their stores. Misguided decisions left them confused, and as we found out during research, copying tech of a different retailer, may not fit another context the same way. Employees and customers both were confused by the new tech and processes in stores and sometimes the shopping experience was awkward for both the customer and the associates. Things started to feel disconnected between the different stakeholders and the strategy started to blur between channels (app, in-store, online, social).