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Three Ways American Eagle Outfitters (AEO) is Growing Through Its Existing Customers

What’s in this article: 

  • Customer interest in social responsibility is at an all-time high, and brands must practice it 
  • Setting an example, American Eagle is fighting for social justice, helping to save the planet, and putting its focus on customer-centricity 

The fashion retailer, American Eagle Outfitters (AEO), knows that growing through existing customers should be as strategic as acquiring new ones. 

Nowadays, brands who rally around social justice, environmental concerns, gender equality, and other timely societal issues strengthen their connections with customers (as long as they do it in an authentic manner that speaks to their audiences). And AEO is indeed walking along these lines. 

1. Fighting for Social Justice 

AEO launched the Real Change Scholarship for Social Justice, granting a number of its associates $10,000 to help fund their college expenses. Recently, it announced that the 15 recipients who will receive the scholarship had been chosen. 

“We are inspired by the passion, powerful action and real impact our awardees have demonstrated through their efforts to drive anti-racism and equality initiatives in the communities where they live and work. We are extremely proud to have such purpose-driven associates as part of our AEO family and look forward to supporting their educational pursuits,” Jay Schottenstein, AEO Chief Executive Officer and Executive Chairman of the Board. 

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2. Saving the Planet 

Responsible sourcing and corporate sustainability are also on AEO’s bucket list. 

Since 2019, Michelle Tarry, Sr. Director, Responsible Sourcing at AEO, has been leading the brand’s Corporate Sustainability goals which include: 

  • Water reduction 
  • Greenhouse gas reduction 
  • Waste reduction 
  • Increased sustainable raw materials 
  • And more… 

The REAL Good collection that Tarry created the guidelines for, has saved over 3 billion gallons of water to date. By 2030, AEO plans to be carbon neutral in its operations. 

These goals are key in empowering the brand to do its part in helping to save the planet. 

Brands that can effectively communicate the value of sustainability and doing their part to help have an excellent opportunity to grow an audience moving forward. 

3. Customer-Centricity 

Since the start of the pandemic, customers have been looking for more comfortable clothing to wear from home. Now, customers turn away from the skinny jean look and into roomier denim, like flares or boyfriend jeans. 

AEO sees a definite shift into looser women’s denim shapes and therefore answers what customers are calling for. 

“Comfort is at the forefront of everything we do,” said Jennifer Foyle, AEO Chief Creative Officer. 

“Our jeans are the most comfortable jeans. I think it speaks volumes for this time period where everyone assumed that we were only selling sweatpants. We really had a nice run in denim as well.” 

These are but a few ways AEO is currently showing customers that they share mutual interests. The brand also knows that by putting customers before profits, they’ll earn loyalty – which naturally helps your business grow in a healthy, future-proofed way. 



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