American Eagle invites college kids to do their laundry
American Eagle Outfitters is opening a new prototype, AE Studio, in Manhattan’s Union Square, close to New York University (NYU), that provides students with free laundry services.
The teen chain said in a statement, “While they wait, they can hang out with friends or study in the studio bar and seating area and enjoy the view of Union Square.”
The store, a makeover of the chain’s flagship in the city, places a heavy emphasis on jeans. American Eagle claims to be the number two denim retailer in the U.S. A collaboration with Atelier & Repairs will offer customized versions of denim repurposed from previous collections.
Other features of the store:
- On-site social media team: American Eagle’s social media team will have an in-store work space to “create content in real time” and directly engage with customers.
- Concierge iPads in dressing rooms: Customers can personalize their shopping experience and engage the brand “with the tap of their finger.”
- Collaboration space: Featuring capsule collections co-created with new brands, emerging designers and artists.
The overall concept “is meant to inspire community and collaboration.” But getting much of the media attention is the free laundry.
“We want this to be a place where the customer feels comfortable,” Chad Kessler, American Eagle’s president, told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “College kids have to do their dirty laundry, so we provide the service for free with a student ID. We have Wi-Fi and a hangout area. It’s a way to drive customer engagement.”
In an interview CNBC, Neil Saunders, managing director at GlobalData Retail and a RetailWire BrainTrust panelist, said integrating laundry and study spaces “may seem a little wacky,” but should appeal to its core base.
“American Eagle will need to work hard to publicize and communicate this as it is an unusual facility to have and most shoppers would not expect it,” added Mr. Saunders. “The bottom line is that AEO is innovating and testing new things which puts it on the right side of the tracks as far as retail is concerned.”
- American Eagle Outfitters Unveils New Concept Store, AE Studio, in Union Square NYC. First Floor Jeans Gallery Highlights AE’s Leading Collections – American Eagle Outfitters/Business Wire
- American Eagle to open redesigned store where you can ‘curate’ your jeans and do your laundry – CNBC
- American Eagle store lets you buy a new pair of jeans while you do your laundry – Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Will free laundry work as a traffic draw for college students? Will jeans customization, social media components and other aspects of AE Studio be appealing to college-age people?