American Eagle opened a new store unlike anything else in its portfolio, and Business Insider got a tour.
- American Eagle Outfitters has opened a new store in Manhattan.
- It has features that are tailored to its young consumers, like free laundry and a workshop for customizing denim.
- The store is the first of its kind, but American Eagle has plans to expand the model as it chases its core consumer.
American Eagle Outfitters has a cool new spot in New York City.
The retailer has opened a new store, right next to Union Square, that it hopes will become a hangout for local college students. With an upstairs lounge that comes complete with park views and power outlets, plus free laundry machines and plenty of space to shop, the store, called AE Studio, invites customers to stay awhile.
"AE Studio is a perfect example of our evolution, where we invite customers to enjoy a unique brand experience, feel at home, and curate their distinct individual style," Chad Kessler, American Eagle's global brand president, said in a statement.
Take a look around the new store, which is a symbol of the direction the brand is headed in as it caters to its core customer.
AE Studio takes up two stories in a building just off Manhattan's Union Square.
The first thing anyone sees when entering the store is the giant wall of jeans known as the Denim Gallery.
American Eagle is the number-two seller of jeans in the US, and it's what many customers are looking for when they enter the store.
An iPad shows how the pants fit on human bodies with an animated looping image.
The displays in the store are made to look like outfits, with shirts on the top and pants on the bottom.
Toward the back of the store, a "Maker's Shop" can do on-the-spot alterations ...
... sew on custom patches ...
... or change out the leather patch on the back of a pair of jeans.
Across from the workshop are three brand-new commercial washers and dryers. The hope is that students from the surrounding dorm buildings (an NYU dorm sits right next door) will come to hang out and possibly do their laundry.
Between the laundry and the workshop is the first-floor fitting room.
Stylized photos line the staircase to the second floor.
More merchandise lines the top floor, with the same minimal aesthetic.
Some hangers have cloth covers that look similar to what you might find when picking up your dry cleaning.
Underwear is another big seller at American Eagle — it's one of the most popular brands in the men's underwear market.
American Eagle also sells fun items like a pajama onesie and novelty holiday clothing.
The fitting rooms are minimally designed, with plenty of space to mill about or show off try-ons to friends.
An iPad in each dressing room lets shoppers call an attendant or enter in their selections, editing their choices on the fly. Salespeople are all equipped with mobile point-of-sale devices so that customers can check out in the dressing room and walk right out of the store. If a size is not in stock in the store, it's also possible to order items and have them shipped directly to you.
American Eagle's social-media team will work out of the new store to be closer to the customer they're trying to reach. A projector will continuously show new social media posts and inspiration related to American Eagle.
A lounge offers plenty of places to plug in. Views of the park are provided through large windows, and a letter board proudly proclaims, "I make money moves," a reference to Cardi B's song "Bodak Yellow."
The lounge is spacious, with communal tables and bar areas for plenty of seating. American Eagle's Tailgate brand has a display with NYU-branded merchandise.
A dorm-essentials collection, which was previously available only online, also has a display area in the back of the store.