Bots Help American Eagle Outfitters Engage on Facebook Messenger

Posted on by Beth Negus Viveiros

The bots debuted for the 2016 holiday season.

An interactive gift guide is the latest innovation in American Eagle Outfitters’ Facebook Messenger campaign to use bots to engage customers via social media.

American Eagle’s first bots, for the main brand and Aerie, were launched on Facebook Messenger on Black Friday last year. Between November 2016 and June 2017, four million messages were exchanged, and there was a 25 percent clickthrough rate from Messenger to American Eagle Outfitters’ website. Seventy-five percent of people using the bots were new to the brand.

“Messaging, specifically in social, is where our consumer is spending their time, says Kristen D’Arcy, vice president of performance and digital marketing, American Eagle Outfitters. “We’re always looking for the right way, at the right time, to connect with consumers to drive preference and loyalty for our brands. To utilize messaging for connection with a brand feels intimate—it’s a one-on-one conversation in a familiar medium.”

The casual clothing retailer operates more than 1,000 retail stores in North America and Asia, and ships to 81 countries via its website. The Aerie bot was promoted via email and social, as well as paid media on Facebook. Users could opt-in to subscription messaging from the bot.

The retailer worked with bot platform partner Pandorabots to create the bots, first identifying what customers were most interested in, and how they were engaging with the site. The bots for Messenger offered varied content, such as customer service, fit and care, branded content and shopping. American Eagle Outfitters used an API to integrate its product catalog into the bots so that customers could easily browse products within Messenger. Customers can also view product thumbnails and save items they are thinking about buying

“Our goal is to give consumers an experience online as close to personalized as our sales associates do in store everyday by looking at clues that help us recommend which style to explore, which items to buy, and what gifts might be perfect for a recipient,” says D’Arcy. “Our bot quizzes and gift guides help us try and replicate that experience online and personalize our suggestions accordingly.”

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