At Shoptalk 2024, American Eagle Outfitters,, and Kohl’s shared how each is investing in supply chain innovation, customer experience enhancements, and brand partnerships to appeal to younger consumers.

American Eagle Outfitters Seeks Sustainable Growth with Gen Z Shoppers

Understanding and engaging with Gen Z consumers is essential for brands to maintain growth. Craig Brommers, Chief Marketing Officer, American Eagle Outfitters, noted the importance of brand marketing in efforts to prioritize long-term brand building over short-term performance metrics.

  • AEO appeals to shoppers with NYC shoppable installation. – Brommer said measuring KPIs such as incrementality and new customer acquisition ensures that American Eagle Outfitters’ investments result in tangible results. The brand celebrated its 2023 fall season with an innovative shoppable installation in New York City’s High Line, featuring its jeans.
  • Less is more in marketing: Casual content appeals to younger consumers. – American Eagle Outfitters is also leaning into a more authentic content experience by highlighting store associates in casual, everyday settings. This approach resonates more with shoppers compared with highly polished and produced marketing content.

How is Enhancing the Customer Experience, Driving Growth

To stay ahead of changing consumer preferences, Joe Cano, Chief Marketing & Merchandising Officer,, shared how Zappos is using data-driven insights to add to the customer experience.

  • Focused product assortments: Zappos prioritizes top brands and styles according to customers by leveraging data analysis and feedback. Zappos reduced its product SKUs by 40% over two years to ensure it carried what customers prefer.
  • Technology integration: Zappos is using technology like machine learning to optimize pricing strategies, manage inventory effectively and forecast trends accurately. Data from past sales and search trends allows the brand to adjust product offerings and color selections, for example, to ensure it is meeting customer demand.
  • Listen to customers: Cano said that customer feedback is integral to Zappos’ strategy. The brand actively tracks and acts on customer feedback. This includes addressing website improvements for a better experience as well as promptly alerting customers when out-of-stock items are replenished.

Kohl’s Strategy for Sales Growth

At the center of Kohl’s CEO Tom Kingsbury’s message is building up the customer experience and drive growth. The retailer’s in-store partnership with Sephora in 2021 was a strategic move meant to bring new customers to Kohl’s. Kingbury said it’s been a success as 40% of customers who shop for Sephora merchandise at Kohl’s are new customers.

Kohl’s creates a curated in-store shopping experience

The department store is also managing inventory and expenses to maximize profitability, Kingsbury said. Younger consumers are more trend-oriented, he said. The department store is working with its network to reduce lead times on trending products.

Kohl’s is also testing a new dress department concept. The retailer is also expanding the children’s department with Babies R Us shops-in-shops to enrich the shopping experience and cater to its diverse customer needs.