Aéropostale is joining a number of other retailers, including 1-800-FLOWERS and JCPenney, in an effort to increase business with a Facebook storefront. As an increasing number of shoppers continue to flock to social networks to receive brand information and share opinions on items, more retailers are beginning to take note of the channel’s potential. With the recent launch of its Facebook storefront, Aéropostale, a mall-based, specialty retailer of casual apparel and accessories, is offering its entire inventory through the social channel.
“In bringing our storefront to Facebook, we are giving our fans another option to how they want to shop us,” said Scott Birnbaum, SVP of Marketing and e-Commerce for Aéropostale. “The idea is to create the environment that they feel most comfortable in and then give them all opportunities to engage with us, how they choose, and when they choose to.”
The F-commerce platform was developed in partnership with Usablenet, a provider of mobile and multi-channel engagement technology. Usablenet has worked with retailers such as American Eagle, Kenneth Cole, Victoria’s Secret and Macy’s to develop strategies to extend brand presence via mobile web and applications, tablets, and in-store kiosks.
“Social media is part of this generation’s daily life,” Tina Chilip, Marketing Communications Manager for Usablenet, told Retail TouchPoints. “People are going on Facebook already on a daily basis. It allows consumers to have a very personal interaction with a brand in a community for people who have a common interest…People can speak up, give feedback, get special promotions and be a part of communities with like-minded people.”
Currently garnering almost 5 million Facebook followers, Aéropostale will fuel its social media and e-Commerce strategies by encouraging brand fans to share, “Like” and comment on items, and make purchases. The new storefront is designed to combine the online shopping experience with social media interaction, and extend full e-Commerce functionalities to the retailer’s fan base.
To date, Aéropostale’s Facebook approach has consistently allowed fans to engage with the brand and learn more about products, Birnbaum said. “Our Facebook presence has been a huge success for both our brand image and our interaction with our fans,” he explained. “It is allowing us to talk directly to them daily and be able to hear what they are thinking. We have seen tremendous growth not only in our fan base, but in our engagement metrics, as ‘Likes,’ comments and impressions on individual posts have surged.”
With the new storefront, the retailer will continue to track overall fan acquisition, impressions, “Likes,” and comments via Facebook. However, Birnbaum noted that the Aéropostale team will more intently focus on encouraging communication. “Our main realization is that fans want to be engaged, asked questions on styles, culture, general preferences,” he said. “Our aim is to allow a space for our fans to be themselves — to be teens.”
In other news, Aéropostale recently launched a mobile application for Android and will be releasing a version for iPhone. The retailer also recently rolled out a new HTML5 version of its mobile site, which is powered through Usablenet’s Mobile 2.0 platform.