To assure strong sales in its stores as well as on the web, American Eagle Outfitters considers the needs of both channels early on in planning merchandising and marketing images, Dave Brumback, director of operations for AE Direct, said during a panel on multi-channel integration strategies at the eTail show this week.
“Our home page on AE.com looks like the windows of our stores, with the same look and feel,” Brumback said.
But each channel has its own needs for displaying images, a situation that once left AE.com with images that might be less than suitable for displaying online, Brumback said in an interview following the panel discussion. “Stores sell from lifestyle images, but the web site has to sell from product images,” he said, noting that stores can rely on lifestyle images without highlighting product details because in-store shoppers can see and feel the actual products on display.
In the past, American Eagle, like many retailers, would design its merchandising and marketing images for in-store displays and printed advertising without direct input from its online team. But that could leave the web site with images that were difficult to fit within a 17-inch computer screen to effectively promote products, Brumback said.
Now, Brumback and his online team get involved early on in the planning of merchandising and marketing images to assure that they can work online, and that there are enough images of the specific products that the web site plans to sell.
In turn, he added, more effective online displays of products help promote in-store sales of customers who shop both channels at American Eagle, No. 112 in the Internet Retailer Top 400 Guide to Retail Web Sites. “We have a seat at the planning table to have input on how images will appear on the web, but that also supports multi-channel sales,” he said.